Based just outside of Victoria, British Columbia, Aquasafe offers state-of-the-art reverse-osmosis water-filtration systems, and is one of the first companies to offer point-of-use reverse-osmosis filtration to the residential market. However, in 2009, the company’s founder was diagnosed with a terminal illness and left the company to be with his family. Entrepreneur Ryan Anthony, 24 at the time, was called in by the new owners to pick up the pieces and complete an analysis of the business. “One thing led to another,” he says, “and I ended up owning the business.”
When Anthony took control of Aquasafe, he was left with a company in disarray—nowhere near its commercial potential. Three years later, Aquasafe is back on track, achieving annual-sales growth of 300 percent compounded and an estimated seven percent of Western Canada’s point-of-use water-filtration market.
1. Take control
When Ryan Anthony came to Aquasafe, the previous owners were happy to have him invest in acquiring the company. The move empowered Anthony to begin fulfilling his ambition of providing every household with a water-purification system at the most economical price point possible, a reflection of his faith that the key to future generations is education, green power, and clean, affordable drinking water.
2. Know what you’re getting into
After an extensive market analysis of the water-filtration market and its growth potential, Anthony realized Aquasafe was the perfect vehicle to fulfill his vision. “The books were an absolute mess, and the company’s momentum dwindled during its transitional downtime,” he says. The company was cleaned up and moved to a smaller location to reduce overhead. Appropriate staff members were hired for key positions, with incentives to meet goals and deadlines.
3. Restore the company’s online sales
Anthony had the website redesigned, making it intuitive for users to be fully informed, empowering them to make simple decisions suiting their individual requirements. This easy-to-use website concept was then effectively coupled with various marketing strategies, and an affiliate program was also launched. In addition to Aquasafe’s online presence, a new storefront is now open, allowing for any local residents to simply walk in and get the advice and equipment they desire.
4. Rebuild customer confidence
Due to the unfortunate passing of the previous owner, customer service became unfocused, creating frustration for all involved. “An unhappy customer is unacceptable to us,” Anthony says.
Anthony implemented what he describes as an “unparalleled” customer-service strategy, with an in-house contact centre for fast response times. The change empowered agents to provide not only technical assistance but also discretionary warranty replacements, all designed to make the customer happy.
5. Go the extra mile
Furthering its stellar customer service, Aquasafe has invested a lot of effort into its online Water Education Center, posting up-to-date research and videos designed to provide customers with the information needed to make informed decisions. A professional SEO firm was hired as well, allowing anyone to now easily find Aquasafe through Google or Yahoo. In addition, Anthony reports that the company’s partnership with Canada Post is helping the company get back on track, especially now that it has gone global by offering shipping to literally anywhere in the world.
6. Continue growth through expansion
During the next five years, Aquasafe is planning to expand its product lines and offer the residential market all methods of water-filtration available. Aquasafe will also move into the commercial and industrial sectors of water filtration, putting emphasis on reverse osmosis. Additionally, Aquasafe is planning on expanding its product line that caters to aquarium hobbyists. Today, after 19 years in business, Aquasafe is finally becoming a household name synonymous with water filtration.