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Tony Caputo

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Tony Caputo

Tony Caputo

Tony Caputo established Tony Caputo’s Market Deli in 1997. Caputo Deli’s first location was in the heart of Salt Lake City’s historic Italian and Greek neighborhood and has since then opened four additional locations including an online presence. Caputo’s Deli has grown not only to be Salt Lake City’s leading purveyor of distinctive regional Italian and southern European foods, but also the second largest retailer of fresh truffle products to the United States. Tony’s commitment to quality over the past decade was won Caputo’s a myriad of awards that include Best Deli by Salt Lake Magazine, Best Bang for Your Buck Zagat Survey, and numerous others.

What was your history before establishing Caputo’s Deli?

Well I started out with a private jet and I now qualify for food stamps. My father’s side of the family came from Italy and moved to Carbon County, Utah in 1913 to get a job in the mines. I attended college at Westminster College, and developed a passion for doing some type of work in a food industry. Before establishing Caputo’s Deli I held various jobs in restaurants and worked at Granados for a lot of years. Upon loosing my job I decided to establish my own business in the food industry. I had the experience and contacts from previous employers. From there I opened the first location for Tony Caputo’s Deli in the heart of Salt Lake City. Given my location I received a ton of free advertising and publicity that really helped get our name out to the community. Caputo’s Deli sells most of its volume online, with chocolates and olive oils being the biggest components of our business, than what we sell in state to the Utah community. We correspond with vendors in Italy and all over the world to import the finest chocolate in the world.

How did you survive during the 2008 recession?

We were hit like everyone else, but luckily we didn’t have any debt. In the food industry in which we operate then our profit margins aren’t enough to pay a lot toward interest rates. Especially at the time we went into business it was very important that we started with no debt. I went into business with a partner and we didn’t borrow any capital. We focused on purchasing used equipment and finding ways we could save money.

Another thing was that my son, Matthew, had grown up in this business with me and wanted to join me at Caputo’s Deli. Our goal at Caputo’s Deli is to grow with the buying consciousness of the public. Our main crux is that we buy the very best thing we can for our customers, taking price out of the equation. We then sell only the highest quality products and never have to apologize for the product we are selling. This model has worked very well. We are the second largest retailer of fresh truffle products in the United States and one of the largest retailer, importer, wholesaler and distributors of premium chocolate in the United States.

What are the top 3 most important lessons you’ve learned as a business owner?

First, is to mind your own business. Second, never think that you’re going to be able to handle something in the future that you cannot handle today. Third, the CEO must always be on site actively managing the day-to-day operations of the company. The CEO needs to be visible for its employees to see and interact with. Employees want to see the owner and know that the owner cares for the employees well being.

Going forward what is on your horizon?

For me I’m 65 years old now and so I’m getting ready to turn Caputo’s Deli over to my other business partners. I want to travel and do a lot of things while my wife and I are still able.

I’ve been married for 43 years now and we get along well and are the best of friends.

What is the vision that Matthew (your son) has for the Caputo’s Deli?

My son’s got a wholesale business that is independent of Caputo’s that he runs out of our facility. All of Caputo’s products are sold through his wholesale business, which he in turn pays Caputo’s a 3 to 4% on everything he sells wholesale. This gives Matt an incentive to make more money than me, in which he does and I hope he continues to do so. He is a very smart young man and he works very hard. He also has an online chocolate business that is independent of Caputo’s that is currently run out of our facility.

Steve Evans

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Steve Evans

Steve Evans

CEO AspenPress & Packaging LLC

Steve Evans is the Chief Financial Officer of AspenPress & Packaging LLC, a company based in Sandy, Utah, that provides full color printing, signage and packaging for individuals and businesses worldwide. He brings an entrepreneurial spirit, a background in accounting and marketing, and experience in various industries to this venture. He also brings a passion for customer service and a commitment to making excellent products.

An Indirect Route to Printing
Although Steve always knew he’d be an entrepreneur, he never imagined it would be in the printing industry. In fact, his route to the printing industry has been anything but straight. After earning undergraduate and graduate degrees in accounting from the University of Utah, Steve got his start working in accounting firms, doing audits on various businesses. But it didn’t take long for him to realize that type of regiment wasn’t for him. He was recruited to the skiing and snowboarding industry as a marketer and comptroller, and after spending time in that industry went to work for a printer, who wanted Steve to help get the business ready to sell. When it came time to sell, however, the printer changed his mind and asked Steve to help him run the business, which he did for several years. In 2002, Steve went out on his own to form AspenPress.

Turning Mistakes into Success
Some of Steve’s best learning moments have been mistakes he’s made along his road to success. He’s learned to turn those lessons from mistakes into secrets for success. One such lesson is to not underestimate the need for cash flow when you start a business. He cautions to be careful not to spend more than you’re bringing in or to borrow from the next payroll to fund the current one.
Another nugget of wisdom Steve gained was to not assume. “It’s good to trust in business,” he says, “But you also need to be thorough and protect your business.” He cautions to get things in writing as well as asking for specifics and thorough explanations. “Ask yourself, ‘If this doesn’t work out, how will it affect my business?'” he advises.
Having a mentor is something Steve recommends for all business owners, whether they are just starting out of have been in business for decades. To avoid reinventing the wheel, it’s important to look down the road 6 months or a year and have a guide to offer counsel and keep you focused. “After 13 years in business, I still have a mentor I look to,” Steve says.

Success Measurements
For Steve, defining and measuring success is about several factors. “Profits are important,” he says, “But it’s not all about the money. You’ve got to have a passion for what you’re doing.”
Aside from a passion for your work, other measures of success are having happy employees and good products. AspenPress prides itself on having happy, productive, hard working employees who feel valued. And Steve feels that being proud of your products and recognizing the impact of your work is a strong measure of success as well.

Spencer Ferguson

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Spencer Ferguson

Spencer Ferguson

As a 22 year old entrepreneur, Spencer Ferguson had no idea that the part-time endeavor he began would one day lead to him becoming the Chief Executive Officer and President of the number one I.T. service provider in Utah. Fourteen years later, Wasatch I.T., based in Murray, Utah, is a multi-million dollar company that’s received numerous awards, including the Utah 100 award and being listed on Inc. magazine’s annual “Inc 5000” list for four consecutive years in a row (2009-2012). Born and raised in Utah, Spencer held a variety of jobs prior to his venture into entrepreneurship, and this self-made man has earned several industry sales and technical certifications from Symantec, Microsoft and more. Additionally, Spencer has been named a top young executive in Utah Business magazine’s “40 Under Forty” list. He serves on TechSelect’s Advisory Council and Microsoft’s Partner Research Panel, as well as serving on the board of directors for three non-profit organizations.

Manage by Numbers

When starting your business, it can be easy to make business decisions by your emotions or even the loyalty you feel towards family or friends. But growth in business depends on you managing by the data that governs growth: the numbers associated with the business. You don’t have to be a financial expert to do this, but understanding the financial aspects of your company is essential to guiding it to success.
“Learn to manage by the numbers,” Spencer advises.”Know your costs, know your metrics and know your margins.” Then make decisions based on them to ensure you’re keeping your company on track for success.

Cultivate Culture

A supportive company culture is important to the success of both your employees’ and your business’ progress, so cultivating one is key. “The culture is typically representative of the CEO or the owner,” Spencer says. So start your business off right by setting the tone: make sure you hire not just qualified people, but people who share your values and the values of a high-performing team. “Never discount the importance of the culture,” Spencer notes. “Make sure your people fit your culture and continually work on building your culture as a brand within your organization.” With a strong, productive culture, you’ll have a strong, productive company.

Learn to Step Back

When you start a company, you wear many hats and fill every role to get it up and running. When Spencer began Wasatch I.T., he “was the janitor, the accountant, the marketing person–everything,” he says. But as a company grows, it’s important to hire qualified people and learn to trust them to do their part. Wasatch I.T. has 30 employees now, and Spencer has brought on people with expertise he doesn’t have to handle different aspects of the growing business. Trusting them to do their part is the key to being a good leader.

“Get out of the weeds and know you don’t have to have your finger in every part of the business,” Spencer says. “Build the people who work for you to deliver rather than diving into every situation and handling it yourself.” This not only helps empower your employees, it helps them be invested in the company’s success. And it frees your time to supervise and keep your eye on the goals to keep your company growing.

Shift and Pivot

Being flexible as a business leader is the way to lead your company through ever-changing market conditions. Unexpected obstacles and changes happen, and positioning your company to go with them is the best way to keep it successful. Spencer has had to shift and expand the focus of Wasatch I.T. over the years, and it’s meant the difference between closing up shop and growing. “There’s always going to be something that happens to make you shift your business – keep moving to keep growing,” advises Spencer.

Sean Morris

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Sean Morris

Sean Morris

Sean Morris is the Chief Executive Officer and President of Blomquist Hale Employee Systems, a company based in Murray, Utah, that provides employee assistance and corporate wellness programs for organizations.

Like many successful business leaders, Sean’s path took unexpected turns. An active person who loves sports, Sean started out in college at Weber State University planning to be an athletic trainer. But after supporting many people emotionally and spiritually during his two-year volunteer service as a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Sean switched academic gears. He earned a Bachelor of Science degree in family development and then went on to earn a Master of Science in Marriage and Family Therapy from the University of Southern Mississippi. He has worked with and counseled people of various ages, and he brings experience in a variety of fields–crisis management, marital and family therapy and training–to his current position. The principles he learned in his emotional health training translate well to being a leader in business, helping to keep people motivated and growing. A motivated and personable leader, Sean oversees all aspects of Blomquist Hale, and he prides himself on working for an organization that provides an exceptional product and service that meets both individual and organizational needs.

In addition to his business leadership position, Sean serves on the board of Lawyers Helping Lawyers and in leadership positions in his church.

Have a Vision

Ideas are great starting places for businesses, but having a vision of where that business is going is a key to success. “I want to be remembered as someone who had a vision and helped the company move towards it,” Sean says. Think about where you want your company to be positioned in the marketplace in one year, five years or more. Set goals to help move your company towards your vision to ensure success.

Take Care of Employees

The people you work with and who work for you are your greatest asset in business, and taking care of them is tantamount to success for Sean. “There are lots of studies that indicate that when employees have life challenges, it adversely affects their productivity,” Sean notes. Planning to take care of employees to keep them motivated and offering them resources to help with challenges at work and at home is investing in your business and, ultimately, your success.

Keep Getting Better

For Sean, success comes from not just providing an outstanding product or service but continuing to improve on it. While it’s important to keep doing what’s working, it’s also important to keep improving your business model as well as the product or service you offer.
Globalization has meant great growth for organizations but it also has brought pressure for doubling profits and keeping up with ever-shifting business models. As mentalities and technologies shift, your company needs to shift too. This helps clients feel confident in your business and keeps your business successful. “The real value we bring to an organization can be helpful if we keep doing it well,” Sean notes.

Roland Scherbel

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Roland Scherbel

Roland Scherbel

Roland Scherbel is the President of Accent Interiors who essentially makes sure the company runs smoothly. Accent is a provider of cabinets, flooring, lighting, countertops, and general contract services. Like all companies during the 2008 recession, Accent was hit hard financially from to the economic downturn. Nevertheless, through Roland’s guidance the company has rebounded its operations and is constantly looking for new growth opportunities to the Wasatch Front. Roland is a firm believer that you are either growing as a company or dying. You are never stagnant. It’s all about growing in the sense of getting better, not necessarily getting bigger.

What is your history, businesswise, for how you got to where you are today?

My career started in 2000 as a purchasing manager for a small startup, hot tub manufacturer called Bull Frog Spas, at Bull Frog I worked my way up to the Director of Manufacturing. In 2000 Bull Frog had only 19 employees and when I left we had 123 employees. We were the fastest growing company in Utah for 4 years in a row. I received so many opportunities with Bull Frog because I was in the right place, the right time, and was ready for the opportunities. Bull Frog was a startup company and when I joined and I had opportunities presented to me that allowed me to really grow with the company, I was able to get work experience at 25 years old that I couldn’t have gotten anywhere else.

After graduating with a degree in Business Management from Brigham Young University I moved over to a company called Fetzer Architectural Woodwork and started in manufacture operations as a consultant. After a couple years I served in positions of Production Manager and Engineering Manager. I sort of moved around from department to department depending on what Fetzers needed. When Fetzers purchased this business (Accent Interiors) they sent me over to run the business. Accent Interiors was supposed to be a complimentary company to Fetzers current product offering. Today our operations at Accent include selling cabinets, flooring, lighting, countertops, and general contract services.

What is the vision going forward for Accent Interiors?

The bottom line is that plenty of people can build countertops so we’ve realized it is more profitable to focus on producing locally rather than shipping around the country. Thus our target market is really the state of Utah and then cities like Elko, Green River, Wyoming or Evanston.

In order to be successful in any business moving forward you really have to know what is going on around you in the market and your competitors. I don’t necessarily focus on what our competitors are doing, rather I focus on leading from the front. I don’t want to react and do things like my competitors are doing, so that is part of our strategy. It is to be innovative and come up with new ideas that other people can’t do for one reason or another.

Most of our competitors are former tradesman. So without a lot of business training or anything outside of what they are currently doing as an installer they generally start up a little business. They go out, steal accounts they know really well and they think everything is great. They buy a machine and have no idea what depreciation is and they buy their next machine but have no cash so they go out of business. These companies generally last only 18 months to 5 years. We have the opportunity to out strategize those businesses because we have more facility space to differentiate ourselves through producing profitable volume.

What are the top lessons you’ve learned in business?

The first is that cash is very important for a business to stay a float. I can name a few things that I would say are more important than cash, but at the end of the day if you don’t have cash then you can’t grow or maintain your current business. In our line of business, we generally receive cash two days after the completion of our job and that is key. Other customers that are costlier to maintain then we require they put 50% down and that allows us to cover some of our upfront costs that we generally wouldn’t recoup until the completion of a project.

The second most important lesson is staying focused as a business. It is very easy to get distracted by shinny objects, in our case it might be a big commercial job. If we allowed ourselves to get distracted by these jobs, then we would have already been out of business. We are taught from an early age that the customer is always right and that if the customer is willing to spend money then you want to be the one to collect that money. I honestly believe that is a terrible philosophy. If you loose sight of who you are really trying to be, you just end up being someone else and loose the ability to control your own destiny. It may work out by happen stance, but it also may not. There is no reason to take that risk especially when you are a young company that is just trying to make it.

The last lesson is to not have all of your eggs in one basket. As a company we really don’t want to be heavily reliant on the big box stores or the builders. If either of those markets go away, then we are essentially out of business. So we’ve made a big push to invest in things that will help us from a retail standpoint, for example the show room we just remodeled. Those are things that will help us from a retail standpoint. Then we have a team of salespeople that go after retail jobs with a lot of different methods. We have a lot of different methods for reaching out to these retailers: direct mailers, we knock doors, home shows, we drive around and look for new construction that is being built. We contact general contractors. We’ve invested into those sales people to go out and develop relationships with our prospective clients. That is were a lot of our money goes.

What are your top worries within your business?

I worry a lot about people. In our industry we depend on skilled labor. So when an employee leaves or I want to grow then I must have someone skilled enough to handle that growth. Otherwise it ends up taking a very long time to start growing.

It is my belief that if I continually treat my employees right and give them a voice in the company then we will succeed. I try very hard to provide excellence in our management team so that we keep our key employees. As a manager its important that you have a degree of humility that you are willing to hire employees that are smarter than you. Our goal is to double in size within the next five years. We can only do this if we have the systems in place, the processes in place, and the people in place. Our systems and processes are pretty scalable and so that is not really a worry for us. Our people aren’t scalable for growth. I must be able to find the people and skill sets required to support our future growth.

What legacy do you want your customers, clients, employees, and community to remember you by?

At the end of the day I hope that people think of me as somebody that put them first over money, even the business. That I care more about individual people and treated them that way. That I treated them as equals and part of the team rather than someone that just cleans the toilets. That is what is important to me. I really don’t care if I’m a millionaire or make $10,000 a year. As long as I can support my family and they’re doing fine then nothing else really matters. These people are important to me.

Roger Knecht

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Roger Knecht

Roger Knecht

As president of Salt Lake City-based Universal Accounting, Roger Knecht oversees the operations of a fast-growing company that provides training materials for those in tax preparation, bookkeeping and accounting. A native of Utah, Mr. Knecht received his undergraduate degree in communications from Brigham Young University and brings extensive experience in marketing and business management to his current position, having brought growth to a variety of organizations throughout his career. Under his leadership, Universal Accounting has been named one of the top 500 fastest growing companies five years in a row (2006-2010). In addition to his company duties, Roger is an accomplished presenter and writer, has earned multiple certifications and is a member of or leads several organization’s chapters and boards. He served as vice president of education for the Utah chapter of the Institute of Management Accounts and has received an award of excellence for his work helping convicted felons learn and develop workforce skills.

Pass On Your Passion

When your business is your idea or has your name attached to it, it can be easy to think no one can be as passionate about it as you are. But in order for your company to thrive, roger advises, you must hire people who are committed to the success of your company and passionate about their parts of the business. “Passion isn’t in the policies,” Roger says. “But it’s essential to nurture a culture of workers that go the extra mile.” Their individual passion can translate to passion for a successful company, keeping your passion alive.

Passing on your passion doesn’t mean hiring people to be subservient; rather, it means hiring those who are excellent at their jobs. “When you’re looking for people to champion your business, don’t be afraid to hire people better than you,” Roger says. “You want people to put in the time, to share their insights and to bring things to the table they uniquely bring,” This fuels a dedicated, passionate workforce to help your business thrive.

Manage Growth Wisely

When you first launch a company, long-term planning can often get eclipsed by simply trying to get your idea off the ground. But long-term planning is essential to a company, including reading the market trends, seeing new technological advances and more. Roger advises to watch your margins (because the numbers don’t lie) and to plan smartly for expansion, not just for your business’ products or presence, but for employee growth opportunities. Hire amazing people who can champion their part of the business and give them opportunities for growth. Incredibly talented employees will take jobs at other companies when there’s no opportunities for upward mobility in yours. “You need to create opportunities for growth so people won’t leave,” Roger notes. He suggests not only making that part of your long-term planning but also utilize your workforce to create or envision these opportunities as well. “If they can create something the company can duplicate, you can often create new positions from that,” Roger says. Keeping internal and external growth on your radar will keep your company strong.

Change with the Times

Being successful in your business means making needed changes so your company can keep up with changing technology and market trends. Many new businesses fail because they get stuck in a certain niche or model but don’t grow as changes occur. Roger’s company has adjusted successfully to the changes in the education industry it serves. When independent study became popular, for example, he led Universal Accounting to move from their established brick-and-mortar campuses to developing independent study tools (first send-out packets, then VHS tapes, then DVDs, etc.). “The education world has been dramatically changed by and is in flux because of online training,” Roger says. “Rather than fight the inevitable, we’re adapting to the new paradigm, putting our energies into other areas and complementing training with additional services that make us stand out among the competition.” Plan to adapt your company as needed in order to keep it relevant and successful within changing times.

Don’t Let Your Business Define You

Being an entrepreneur can be a time-consuming thing, but it’s important to find balance and not let your business be all you are or do. “We live in a world where one of the first questions people ask is ‘What do you do for a living?’, which often becomes our status,” Roger notes. But there’s more to life than status, and status isn’t all happiness is made up of. Make sure you have something to regularly disconnect from work that feeds your personal life, whether it’s a hobby, spiritual practice, family time, vacations or a combination thereof. “Well roundedness complements your work,” Roger notes. “If your personal or physical or spiritual needs wane, it will affect your work adversely.” So keeping your business pursuits in balance with the other aspects of your life will not only help your overall happiness but help your work thrive as well.

Robert Hopkins

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robert hopkins

Robert Hopkins

I would like to introduce Robert Hopkins aka ‘Hop’

In joining with our company Robert brings to the table an immense diversified talents our operational expertise of 25 years plus. His expansive repertoire of skill sets include, opening and operating 13 different hospitality operations, owning 3 different companies including a wine retail store, consulting company and importation/distribution Company for Washington, Californian and First time in America French wines. He ties up his talents with the chef expertise in cooking, nutritionist in clinical operations and ultimately being an amazing mentor teacher to anyone who he crosses path with. We are looking forward to allowing his passion to touch your lives.

Regan Sutalo

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Regan Sutalo

Regan Sutalo

You could say I was born into fashion. My earliest memories as a toddler include helping my beautiful mother in either of her two chic, yet classically in vogue dress shops which she owned. My mother passed this passion on to me causing me to study and graduate with a college degree in fashion. My early work experience in a high-end clothing retailer gave my imagination the opportunity to run free. At nineteen I began selling men’s suits with all that comes with it. The position and training I received gave me a true understanding of how to “style” a man. Within my first year I was out selling the top sales person with 20 + years’ experience. After a couple of years, I was given that same opportunity with women’s fashion which I sold and consulted for several years. To round out my professional experience I worked and trained with the best in cosmetics “Lancôme Paris” who provided extensive training in skin care and makeup application.

Many of us spend thousands on an education, yet when that is applied to the “real world” we do not understand why that does not take us where we want to go with our careers. It takes seven seconds for your manager/clients to decide how qualified you are, how well you manage, how hard you work etc.…. it isn’t by your education or your resume. The first thing you WILL be judged on is how you are dressed and groomed. This includes how they perceive your confidence through your body stature and baring. I truly believe that we are all handsome/beautiful human beings, there is no formal education in how to define YOU that is where I come in. Your image is VERY PERSONAL, I am here to help you “define it” and make it work for you instead of against you. I want to help you and your organization make that first impression count.

I am so blessed to be married to a gorgeous “Image Defined” man that rocks my world every day. I have three beautiful children and two of the cutest grandsons there could ever be.

Pete Schenk

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Pete Schenk

Pete Schenk

CEO of LifeSpan Fitness

Pete Schenk is the founder, president and CEO of LifeSpan Fitness, a Salt Lake City-based company that supplies fitness products to help you be healthy in your home, office or gym. An alumnus of the University of Utah, Pete earned his undergraduate degree in marketing and then his MBA. He then gained valuable business and leadership experience working for IBM and American Stores, getting hands on experience in how technology gets applied in the business world. He started LifeSpan Fitness in 2000 and began a brand that has since been featured in multiple news outlets and television shows as well as grown to being in demand in multiple countries. The company continues to have record-breaking revenue years, expanding from individual fitness to that of whole institutions such as corporations, universities and more.

Make Your Business a Business

While many entrepreneurs treat their business as a hobby or possibility, Pete believes that his success has come from treating his business like a business. “This was never my company–it was always a corporation,” Pete says. “Even when almost all of it was owned by me (which it isn’t any more), I always separated out the stockholder side from the business side.” Keeping personal and business separate isn’t easy at times, especially when you may start out enlisting the help of family and friends to get your company off the ground. But for your company to thrive, every decision has to make business sense.

For Pete, this entailed thinking of his responsibility to investors and stockholders, leaving ego at the door and hiring people because they were qualified rather than because they were related to him. It also entailed planning ahead to keep long and short-term goals, involving the right people and paying attention to what is and isn’t working–and changing accordingly. Seeing his strategies work is personally rewarding for Pete, further inspiring him to continue the policy to keep the business a business.

Grow Smartly

Another key to success for Pete is being strategic and smart about company growth. Long-term success can sometimes be sacrificed by being short-sighted or too eager. “I understand that if you’re not focused on today, you can’t pay your bills tomorrow,” Pete notes. But tackling all avenues of growth at the same time–a common mistake of new entrepreneurs–can lead to spreading yourself too thin and growing more slowly than you’d like. “Don’t try to do too much at once,” Pete cautions. “If you’re doing too many things at once, you may not be doing any of them well.” For example, he advises to choose one channel that gives you the best chance of getting your product or service out there, rather than tackling several at once.

Another part of growing smartly is to think long-term. Build processes that can be repeated and make sure employees clearly know their roles and responsibilities to maximize efficiency and make growth easier. Watch the way markets go and be flexible to change with the times. “Companies like Blackberry are gone because they couldn’t change their paradigm,” Pete notes. Long-term success depends on being able to change quickly, which happens best with efficiency.

Engage, Inspire & Leverage Customers

Since happy customers are paramount to business success, Pete advises keeping them foremost in your mind and business priorities. “Don’t leave it up to the customer to decide how to use your product,” Pete advises. Inspire and inform them, showing and telling them all the possibilities and benefits to what your company offers. “Creating little ‘ah-ha moments’ for customers is the best way for them to know how the product will better their lives,” Pete says.

Also essential to making happy customers is making quality customer service one of your highest priorities. “You must train people internally to provide good customer service to make sure customers have a good experience,” Pete notes. Listening to your customers will help them not only have a positive experience with your company, it will help you know how to improve your product or service. You may even want to reward customers by letting them beta test new developments and give you feedback ahead of time. Your customers are your bread and butter, so make sure they are happy for your company’s success.

Pete Jones

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Pete Jones

Pete Jones

Pete Jones is the owner and president of Electrical Marketing Solutions (EMS), a Salt Lake City-based company that markets electrical products to companies worldwide. A Texas native who grew up in Lubbock, Pete is a graduate of Texas A&M University, earning his undergraduate degree in engineering. Before joining EMS in 2000, he began his career with the electrical product manufacturer Thomas & Betts, and he brings decades of experience to his current position, leading his company to new growth each year.

Take a Chance

If you believe in your idea, go for it! Pete became the owner of EMS at 26 years old, when the previous owner took him under his wing. He took a big financial chance on buying a company, but he saw the potential for growth and took some advice from a friend to take a chance on EMS. That advice? “You can’t make a bad business decision under the age of 30. You can always recover from it.” And taking that chance has paid off. Fifteen years later, EMS has more than six times its original number of employees and continues its financial growth year to year. Taking a chance on your dream is worth it.

Bring In the Experts

Trying to do everything yourself in business can bog you down and slow your progress. Pete’s advice is to lean on and hire experts in their fields to cover your bases. “I believe strongly in bringing in experts to help build your business,” Pete says. “Get legal counsel, bring in consultants. It’s worth it,” Pete says. He sees many entrepreneurs that have passion for their ideas but don’t realize the intricacies that come with owning a business. You may make a terrific product or offer an amazing service, but you’ll need help creating a website or crafting a story to market it, implementing OSHA compliant policies, creating contracts and more. Bring in or outsource to experts to help you with the areas your knowledge is weaker to keep your business strong.

Measure with Rigor and Regularity

For Pete, growth in your company is going to come from you paying attention to what’s working and what’s not working so you can quickly shift gears if needed. He advises measuring overall company goals, employee efforts and more to keep your finger on the pulse and take action as needed. “One of my favorite quotes is, ‘anything you measure with rigor and regularity improves’,” Pete says. So he regularly conducts surveys for customer satisfaction, holds one-on-ones with employees and more in order to keep a close eye on how things are going–and keep things improving.