“While the economy was shrinking, we decided to invest in a $100,000 marketing campaign to open up new opportunities. Our revenues for 2009 are up 13 percent while most in our industry are reporting flat or negative growth. We are very happy with the results and have grown our workforce by seven employees over that period. Profitability and AR collections have remained flat, but we may have been laying off if we hadn’t decided to expand.”
What’s new at your company?
“We have moved to a new location on the corner of Highway 164 and Capitol Drive. The new location will give us better visibility and give us additional space to expand. At our home office in Madison we have expanded our payroll processing service and wealth management services.”
Do you plan to hire any additional staff or make any significant capital investments in your company in the next year?
“We continue to forecast and plan for double-digit growth. One of our core values is to ‘encourage intelligent growth.’ A growth rate of 10 percent per year is very manageable. Our capital investments are largely in human capital and we continue to invest in education and training at higher rates than industry standards.”
What will be your company’s main challenges in the next year?
“Accounts receivable collections are the most significant challenge in most service organizations in a down economy and we are no exception. We have many long term relationships with clients, some as many as 30 years- so we work hard at finding acceptable solutions to the cash flow problems of our customers.”
What’s the hottest trend in your industry?
“The continued use of technology and competencies to increase efficiencies in delivering service. This will help as the market demands lower prices.”
Do you have a business mantra?
“Our staff live by a set of core values that guides its daily actions. These are: Doing the Right Thing, Putting People First, Encouraging Intelligent Growth, and Providing Relationship Driven Service.”
From a business standpoint, who do you look up to?
“One book that has influenced much of our thinking is “True Professionalism” by David Maister. At one point, he quotes John Maxwell in saying, ‘People don’t care how much you know until you show how much you care.’ I guess I admire most the people in my profession who honestly care about the people they are serving.”
What was the best advice you ever received?
“When I took over as managing partner seven years ago, I asked the former managing partner of another firm what was the best advice he could give me and he said, ‘Don’t worry about things too much, they always have a way of working out.’ Sounds like maybe he had been to church on Sunday, but really, having some trust and faith goes a long way in making this job less stressful.”
What’s the funniest thing that ever happened to you in your career?
“Perhaps not the funniest thing but last year as I was auditing the Racine Zoo and one of the live animals decided to wander into the conference room I was working in. Turns out that one of my staff on the job is deathly afraid of such animals. It created quite a commotion until the zoo keeper could escort it out. Know what the animal was? A peacock!”
What do you like to do in your free time?
“I enjoy working- so I probably work too much. But when I do take off it’s all about family time with the kids whether it’s taking a family vacation or just watching a kid’s sports event.”