Owner to Owners Final Report

Page 1

Final Report An analysis of campaign performance and business data

Contents Project Background Strategy and Infrastructure Goals Outcomes Learnings and Questions

Our Approach Leverage city partnership to achieve unprecedented reach for employee ownership as a solution for business continuity and community wealth building. Build community relationships capable of establishing long-term business referral pipelines. Customized micro-campaigns and events speaking directly to the interests and concerns of distinct business communities.* Amplify reach through online and offline platforms (email, organic social media posts, paid social media, and traditional media advertising) Collect and analyze data for learning and consideration for future expansion/replication *The strategy's branding, outreach, and engagement tactics were developed by Shared Value Media and informed by ICA Group's Keep The Doors Open Campaign and NYC's Equitable Industrial Development Initiative involving the Business Outreach Center Network and The Working World.


Purpose of This Analysis Insights for program strategy and implementation Understanding of businesses exploring employee ownership Development of "warning" indicators showing risk of closure Critical business needs that can be met through other business programs Other insights that inform systems-change, providing a baseline understanding of the NYC business landscape and opportunities to increase employee ownership


Goals and Vision Reach 20,000 businesses through Owner to Owners promotion Educate community-based organizations Amplify the message that employee ownership is a competitive business model Embed knowledge and support within existing SMB infrastructure


Campaign Timeline 2020-21 Pilots and Initiatives*

WCBDI Partner Planning and Infrastructure Development

Audience and ecosystem research

Insights & Strategy Development

Content and Brand

Pilot: Message and Ad Tests

CBO Engagement

Full Campaign Launch, Engaging and Empowering Network of Partners and Generating Leads

April 21 First of 12 webinars Dec 2 Mayor's Announcement Sprint Campaign supporting press release March 29 Full Campaign Launch

June 29 Last public webinar

*Include ICA Group's Keep the Doors Open campaign and the Equitable Industrial Initiative involving The Working World and BOC Net


Communications Strategy and Execution

Strategy The campaign was designed to reach and engage New York City businesses by leveraging existing networks and trusted community voices as messengers. This decentralized approach aimed to:


Educate and equip community partners with distinct business communities to act as Employee Ownership NYC ambassadors


Drive referrals to the Owner to Owners hotline


Support narrative change around the business case for employee ownership


Establish sustainable referral processes that will exist beyond the scope of the campaign


Micro-Campaign Snapshot The full campaign strategy consisted of online and offline outreach led by Core Partners and CBO partners including paid and organic social posts, emails, and flyers driving to the Owner to Owners website as well as event registration pages. The campaign also Included traditional media with radio spots and digital placements driving to the Owner to Owners website.





Central Brooklyn Workforce Dev Social Impact Bronx Core Partners Small Biz Advisors Traditional Media Additional Partners

= public event


Campaign Outcomes Conversions

Metrics date range: Dec. 1, 2020 - June 30, 2021

28,000 business owners actively sought out more information about employee ownership 336 phone calls

119 survey submissions 27 active businesses in the pipeline

Engage, Educate, Empower

100+ CBOs engaged throughout the campaign

Lead Development

More than 5 million business owner impressions

50+ private CBO meetings on employee ownership and its benefits

725 event registrations (277 business owners) to 12 webinars

71 CBOs and partners sharing O2O information to their networks

Estimated 15,000 unique business visits to the O2O website

Paid media campaigns with 28 partners in addition to 224 organic posts


Campaign Outcomes Tracking toward 20k Businesses Reached Engagement


Business engagements consisting of unique Owner to Owners website users and Eventbrite page visits, including event registrants self-identifying as business owners.



Unique phone calls made to the Owner to Owners hotline (Dec - June)


Unique survey submissions


Total Businesses Reached


*In our engagement figure we estimate that 38% of total users are business owners. This estimate is based on the event registration metrics where 277 of the 725 event registrants self-identified as business owners. Our conversions figure also includes business owners who heard about the hotline through local news coverage and the Mayor's December 2020 announcement.


Conversions & Website Visits Conversions* by Month Total Website Submissions

Total Phone Calls

In December, the Mayor's Announcement and the accompanying sprint campaign led to a large intake of conversions. These can be attributed to businesses interested in employee ownership and other city-funded resources. After this influx, the number of conversions decreased as the 'sprint campaign' came to an end and as our ad sets reached saturation.


The full campaign, starting with a February pilot and expanding in April, served to create awareness of Owner to Owners and widen the potential audience pool. By engaging a wide variety of businesses, the campaign was able to expand the interested market, attracting businesses that did not respond to the initial announcement to learn more about employee ownership opportunities. This led to a second wave of conversions and significantly expanded website traffic.





Dec 2020

Jan 2021

Mayor's Announcement & Sprint Campaign

Feb 2021

Mar 2021

Pilot Campaign

Apr 2021

May 2021

June 2021

*Conversions are the number of unique phone calls to the Owner to Owners hotline and unique first-step survey submissions on the Owner to Owners website between Dec. 1, 2020 and June 30, 2021.

Full Campaign


Conversions & Website Visits Monthly Website Visits* Estimated Business Owner Visits to O2O Website (38%)

O2O Website


Website Traffic is consistent with campaign efforts. Slight increase in traffic in December 2020 with the Mayor's Announcement campaign February Pilot on messaging helped craft key creative that led to increased website traffic Updated creative content and cluster outreach campaigns starting late March - early April led to a high spike in website traffic May focus was on driving event registrations consistent with the spike in Eventbrite page views and the slight drop in Owner to Owners page views June campaigns drove traffic primarily to the Owner to Owners site and were responsible for another pronounced spike in traffic.





*Website Visits are defined as unique website users to the Owner to Owners website as tracked on Squarespace and unique visitors to the Eventbrite event registration pages.



Dec 2020

Jan 2021

Mayor's Announcement & Sprint Campaign

Feb 2021

Mar 2021

Pilot Campaign

Apr 2021

May 2021

Jun 2021

38% business owner estimate is based on the number of event registrants that have self-identified as business owners.

Full Campaign


Conversions & Website Visits: Events

Throughout the campaign, there were increases in conversions on the day of the event or on subsequent days. Each event highlighted Owner to Owners, featured business transition experts, and included a post-event email sent 1-3 days after.

Least Successful

Most Successful Event


# of Conversions*



# of Conversions*


June 29



April 28


Earth Day

April 29



May 24


*The number of conversions considers those on days of events plus three days.


Engage, Educate & Empower Engage

Educate Identify cluster lead and introduce them to Owner to Owners and employee ownership Identify steering committee members

Steering committee is introduced to Owner to Owners and employee ownership Endorsements of employee ownership are solicited while marketing and event creation occurs in collaboration with steering committee members.


Engage, Educate & Empower Empower Steering committee members

Further engagement

receive custom marketing toolkits

opportunities and long-term

with materials for event promotion

referral processes are discussed

and employee ownership education

All organizations have access to a

Steering committee members

referral toolkit

conduct 1:1 outreach, post on social media, send emails


Engage, Educate, & Empower Group 1 - High Engagement Bronx Business Community BCDI, Cluster Co-Lead BronXchange, Cluster Co-Lead BOC Women's Business Center WHEDco SoBro Workforce Development Rebecca Lurie, Cooperative Solutions Working Group, Cluster Lead Brooklyn Navy Yard Consortium for Worker Education Grant Associates The Hope Program Hot Bread Kitchen Lower East Side Employment Network New York City Employment and Training Coalition Opportunities for a Better Tomorrow

Social Impact Amalgamated Bank, Cluster Lead B Corp Be Social Change Transform Finance Start Small, Think Big Business Advisors ABNY, Cluster Lead Capalino HR&A Brown Hatchett Williams Stewardship Masters International

Group 2 - Mid-Level Engagement Central Brooklyn Brooklyn Communities Collaborative, Lead Bed-Stuy Gateway BID Bed-Stuy Restoration Corporation Fulton Business Alliance IMPACCT Brooklyn

Select Group 3 Orgs - Light Engagement Jamaica Center BID North Flatbush Avenue BID Long Island City Partnership WIBO WCBDI partners


Engage, Educate, & Empower Additional partners were brought in to participate as speakers, panelists, and moderators in the events and promote Owner to Owners. Events Included the 10 cluster-led events as well as two standalone events. The Bronx Business event was also available in Spanish.


Event Theme


Additional Partners Engaged


What We Learned

About Communications

Continued awareness of employee ownership is important and may require multiple touchpoints Retirement language is less successful than future-oriented/restructuring language Business owners are overwhelmed with information, day-to-day operations, and pandemic-related stressors. They lack the bandwidth to consider many long-term solutions. Partners that can easily integrate EO education into their current services, publish e-newsletters with high readership, and have a ground game are the best partners. To become ambassadors, CBOs required more education on employee ownership than anticipated


Stories that work Brooklyn Stone & Tile, transition led by TWW

Green Mountain Graphics, transition led by ICA Group

Story-driven content significantly outperformed data-driven content (25,000 clicks vs. 4,000 clicks) Video content outperformed static content.


Stories that work During a June A/B test, new employee owner caption achieved higher clicks than retiring owner captions


Intake Data

Infrastructure We designed an intake process that allowed business owners to quickly learn about employee ownership, helped TA providers speak to businesses possessing baseline qualifications, and connected businesses with support to take the next step.

Business owners enter the intake process by filling out a web form on our website or calling the Owner to Owners team.

Business data is colleted via the web form and answering team. It is then analyzed to determine if the business is a good fit for an initial consultation with Owner to Owners TA providers or would be a better fit for alternative City-provided services.

TA partners review weekly data reports, meet weekly to coordinate and share lessons. Each individually provides services to businesses that are the right size and are interested in learning more about employee ownership.


Inquiries (December 2020 - June 2021) Hotline: Total calls received: 357 Total hotline intakes: 65 Webform Unique visitors to website: 27,862 Website pageviews: 37,188 Webform email list inquiries: 75 Complete webform intakes: 76 Total intakes (hotline + webform): 141


Pipeline How many businesses move on to the next stage after calling the hotline or completing the webform?

357 hotline calls

141 intakes 151 partial or full webform completions

93 referred to partner

ICA Group: 21 TWW: 26 BOCNet: 46

35 referred elsewhere 13 invalid inquiries


Pipeline Of the 93 businesses referred to technical assistance providers, the following represents their movement through the intake and engagement process as of May 30, 3021. 18 entered the Explore Stage

2 entered the Assess Stage

56 engaged 82 successfully referred to partner

Key stakeholders study the Idea of employee ownership transition and decide if they want to pursue

The Owner to Owners partner affirms that financial, legal, and organizational transition is feasible

4 pending referrals 7 unable to be reached

Intake is completed by the Owner to Owner partner accepting the referral


Disengagement Detail Why might a business drop off after completing an intake and a referral has been made? We asked partners to share reasons that businesses may have dropped out of the pipeline at each stage.

Before a partner is able to engage the business (22 businesses): 50% unresponsive 19% seeking traditional financing 9% not enough workers 9% seeking other services 9% decide not to pursue EO

After initial engagement but before deeper engagement (27 businesses): 44% unresponsive 15% seeking other services 7% seeking traditional financing 7% buyout not financially feasible

After exploring employee ownership (10 businesses): 40% unresponsive 20% not enough workers

After assessing feasibility of transition to EO (1 business): Seeking traditional financing (100%)


Understanding Pipeline Progress & Yield Businesses were less likely to move forward if they... are a bar, cafe, restaurant, or deli have opened over the last 5 years are Queens-based didn't know about employee ownership before calling heard about the hotline through the Mayor's announcement completed an Intake through the hotline, not the webform are minority- or women-owned but not certified* have mostly new employees

Businesses were more likely to move forward if they... opened more than 20 years ago have 10 or more workers were familiar with employee ownership before calling or completing the webform Used the webform Instead of calling the hotline

*as compared to being either MWBE certified or not minority- or women-owned


What We Learned

About Businesses

Are you familiar with Employee Ownership? Workers to Owners

Owner 2 Owners

High 1%

Yes 27.4%

Moderate 24%

Minimal 50%

No 72.6%

No prior knowledge 25%


What We Learned

About Businesses

Most calls aren't from legacy businesses. 15


Most businesses that called opened in the last five years.



1942 1963 1971 1977 1983 1985 1987 1991 1993 1996 1998 2000 2002 2004 2007 2009 2011 2013 2015 2017 2019

year opened


What We Learned

About Businesses

Already there 14.4%

Other 20.1%

Businesses show better-than-expected resilience and uncertainty

Hard to predict 28.1%

1 year 30.2%

How many years do you anticipate it will take to get to pre-COVID profitability?

3 years 7.2%


What We Learned 67% majority BIPOC

Layoffs are widespread and more than one-third of businesses said almost all workers had been there five years or more.

Most businesses engaged had majority BIPOC workforces. We also learned businesses with 10+ employees were less likely to have a majority BIPOC workforce

50% reduced staff

About Businesses

64% pre-Covid profitability

Based on 2019 performance, callers reported: Income range of $0 - 19 million $149,618 Mean EBITDA $4 million mean business value estimate


What We Learned

About Businesses

Are inundated with information

Are focused on immediate relief

Require multiple touchpoints

Can be encouraged by incentives


Story: Successful event partnership captures qualified lead BOC Network, DAWI, The New York City Network of Worker Cooperatives, and The Working World each presented during the New York Fashion Workforce Development Coalition (NYFWDC) Q4 2020 End of Year Event that resulted with a qualified inquiry to the Owner2owners Hotline. The New York Fashion Workforce Development Coalition (NYFWDC) is a multi-stakeholder working group bringing together individuals from the fashion industry, community, academia, non-profit sectors and government to find solutions to strengthen and grow New York’s fashion future via social justice, women's economic advancement and empowerment. Following the presentation, T Studios, a women-owned theatrical costume design and fabrication studio, contacted the Owner2owners Hotline. BOC Network accepted this lead and continued the intake process. The prospect reported $600,000 revenue and $10,700 net income in 2019. The business maintains six full-time employees, but during busy periods staff increases to 12 full-time seamstresses. Both the owner and staff are motivated to convert to worker ownership and are already implementing some democratic workplace policies. Although the owner is planning retirement in 2-5 years, she may be willing to transition into a worker-owned organization much sooner. Conversations with this business are on-going as of this writing. The invitation to this event came from the efforts of our larger network of industrial advocates and service providers in early December. The gathering was a virtual event with fashion professionals with strong connections to NYC and the garment district.


Additional Learnings, Conclusions, and Interventions

What We Learned CBOs believe in employee ownership

CBOs are interested in folding this into ongoing relief and outreach programs, including existing business canvassing efforts, training programs, and events.

Community organizations are comfortable speaking about employee ownership after taking the time to educate.

More partners are needed

About Community Partners

At a bare minimum, we need broader ecosystem support partners to meet the needs of business owners, particularly for financing and location support (real estate, relocation, rent abatement). Callers to the hotline are not as focused on EO and have a broader array of needs. The hotline can build a pipeline for other support partners, too.

Incentives are helpful

Incentives for cluster partners are needed for buy in: raise profile, recognition, gifts, something fun and energizing


What We Learned COVID crisis messaging was a short-term strategy that did not generate qualified leads.

EO awareness is a long-term strategy

About Strategy

Stronger event follow-ups

Proactive individual outreach to business owners following events and content engagement can support increased pipeline growth and improved understanding of employee ownership as a viable business option.

Our cluster awareness strategy is works best as a long-term approach to building familiarity with the concept of employee ownership.

Too intakefocused

Business owners need to be connected to experts more quickly. More resources need to be committed to provide early, expert-level guidance for business owners immediately after they become aware of employee ownership.


Shifts in Strategy Current Investment

Suggested Investment Intake









What We Heard from CBO Partners "

Businesses are in emergency mode and are primarily interested In accessing loans, financing resources, and other resources for shortterm survival.



It's difficult to communicate resources and services that can help long-term when business owners are trying to get through the week.


Changing ownership is a sensitive and emotional topic for business owners. They are not likely to jump immediately at the opportunity and need to sit with the Idea before taking the first step.




Incrementalism may help business owners become more open to the idea of offering ownership to a few key employees as an incentive to retain workers rather than a sale of all business shares.



For more information Visit www.Owner2Owners.nyc Email jmckinley@institute.coop

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