No. 3 – Findaway World

Mitch Kroll

Mitch Kroll

Findaway – World Mitch Kroll, CEO

Q: Give us an example of a business challenge your organization faced, as well as how you overcame it.

During our start-up in 2005, we were focused exclusively on the retail market for our flagship product, Playaway. While enthusiasm for Playaway and sell-in was very high, our sell-through to consumers was well below expectations. After one-and-a-half years in the marketplace, we made the bold decision to abandon all retail sales and shift our entire business model to selling our product to institutions – public libraries, K through 12 schools and the U.S. military. This ability to adapt our entire business strategy, economic model and infrastructure to support this shift propelled our growth to the high levels still experienced today.

In what ways are you an innovative leader, and how does your organization employ innovation to be on the leading edge?

Our 130 associates are collectively referred to as FIndawayers. Our ability to successful integrate deep cultural meaning into our organization is the key behind all of our success.

Q: What is the greatest lesson you’ve learned and how have you applied it?

At start-up, prior to development of any business strategy, the founding partners of Findaway World developed a set of core values that identify our company and our vision. To this day, these core values live every day inside our organization and have become the compass for all decisions large and small that fuel our growth. We have always maintained that we are defined by who we are not by what we do.

Q: How does your organization make a significant impact on the community and regional economy?

In addition to the 130 Findawayer jobs created for our local economy, we are strong supporters of regional charities and civic activities through our Findaway Gives Back programs. Additionally, we believe strongly in our responsibility to create the next generation of entrepreneurs for Northeast Ohio and are dedicated to providing the tools and resources to our team to assist in establishing a culture for learning and professional growth for the future.

For more from Findaway World, see their January cover story in Smart Business Cleveland.

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