Robert Chandler

Greenville, SC

INDUSTRY: MANUFACTURING AND PRINTING
BUSINESS: IG GLOBAL SOURCING
YEAR FOUNDED: 2003
PROGRAM: 2017 MINORITY BUSINESS ACCELERATOR
"We use the term “customer” or “client” loosely because they really are a partner to us. Our success depends on our partner’s success."
BUSINESS OVERVIEW
The Initiative Group was created in 2001 by Robert Chandler and three partners to provide low-cost labor for small businesses, increasing their competitive edge in a globalized marketplace. IG Global Sourcing was started in 2003 to provide machining and fabrication for metal and plastic parts. IG Global Sourcing evolved into IG Manufacturing Services and IG Custom Printing. The manufacturing division provides low-cost labor and part sourcing; the printing division provides high quality commercial and industrial printing. IG Global’ s clients include corporations, small businesses, and nonprofits. While still a small 3-person team out of Greenville, the company is able to manage operations both domestically and internationally.

MANAGING GROWTH
In 2016, the Greenville Chamber of Commerce launched its Minority Business Accelerator, a seven-month, hands-on program for small business owners to build the business strategies and management capacity necessary to pursue three-year growth plans. Robert made sure he was in the inaugural class: “Being a small business, where you only have two or three employees, sometimes you lack the diversity or you lack the feedback from having a larger management team. As part of the program, you benefit from having different ideas and having different feedback.”

One important lesson Robert took away from the program: Knowing your ideal customer. The program helped him analyze existing clients and determine lifetime customer value. He was able to make the necessary tough decisions to cut products and services that were costing his business. As a result, IG Global has been able to raise prices without losing revenue, increasing margins 15-20 percent.

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