Springfield Business Journal: What has been key to your recent growth?
Darrel Wilson: I think the key to our growth and any company’s growth is people. It’s having the right people, trained people, the folks that make it all happen for you. If you don’t have the right people, you’re certainly not going to have success with growth.
SBJ: What are your top issues when it comes to managing growth?
Wilson: To really manage your growth, it’s about managing our people and our processes. Once we have our people in line, trained in their job and processes in place, it really comes down to managing transactions. When you have the right size group in there, it makes it easy to manage.
SBJ: What has the company’s growth enabled you to do?
Wilson: It’s enabled us to provide a lot of opportunities for our folks. It’s let us hire some really good people and train people internally to take on really specific jobs that we used to share. It’s helped us invest in our people and back into our company.
SBJ: Is your fast growth sustainable?
Wilson: Yes. We had about two to three years of what we would call pretty high growth, in the 30-40% range. Last year, we had a 25% growth rate. This year, we’re going to be right in the 20-25% growth range, and we certainly think it’s sustainable. We’re an acquisition company, which helps that. We figure we should have a 6-8% yearly organic growth without any acquisitions. That’s not a really high number and certainly sustainable. We don’t have any strong rules for growth, but, we know that if the timing is not right and the economy is not right, we’ll keep right in here and manage things tight and keep that organic growth in shape.
SBJ: Is there such thing as growing too fast?
Wilson: Sure, there is. I think when you outgrow your people’s ability to get the work done and to manage their jobs, and they have too much on their plate at once, then the growth is too fast.
SBJ: Where is the tipping point?
Wilson: We don’t know, and we sure don’t want to find out. But certainly, that’s something we watch. A good indicator that you’re probably getting close is if you see results and performance start to slip.
SBJ: Have your goals changed as business has taken off?
Wilson: They really haven’t. As opportunities present themselves, things change somewhat, but the overall goal hasn’t. This was really the plan we put in place during the recession, which was tough on a lot of industries. Ours wasn’t any different. We saw a lot of folks go out of business, and we’re in a really fragmented industry. There are lots of trucking companies out there. We felt like it was time a lot of consolidation would be going on and that’s what we’re seeing right now. There’s just a lot of opportunity out there, and we’re just going forward with it.
SBJ: What is the worst business advice you’ve received?
Wilson: I’ve really been lucky. I’ve had really good mentors and truckers with lots of experience. I can’t think of anything that was big enough to be considered the worst advice I’ve ever gotten. Any mistake I’ve made, I’ve figured out on my own, I think.
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