SBJ: Next Level Solutions has experienced substantial growth in the last few years. What do you credit that to?
Michael Smith: The way we treat our existing employees helps with our overall recruiting strategy. That word-of-mouth philosophy where if you like what you’re doing as a career, you’re more enticed to invite other people to come and join you. As far as revenue structure, we made it a point to really focus on delivering quality and building client relationships instead of just focusing on what’s the newest or greatest thing. We focus a lot of our attention on ensuring we continue to provide high value to the clients that we have so they continue to want to work with us.
SBJ: Seeing such growth prior to now, what’s your projection for the rest of the year?
Smith: I think we’ve still got some growth left in the year. What we’ve seen over the first quarter is significant to keep up with the demand. We’ve still got a few more dollars and resources to hit our projected goals, so we do definitely see continued growth. As far as trajectory, we’ve seen this far it might taper down a little bit, but there is nothing on the horizon that shows a tremendous slowdown for NLS.
SBJ: Employee knowledge and training is important to you and the foundation of your business. What do you expect of your employees?
Smith: When we go through a recruiting process, one of the key things we look for is that out-of-the-box thinker, visionary and thought leadership-type resource. When you find those types of personalities, you find people that are innovative and striving to find more efficient ways of doing things. We invite our current staff to almost push the envelope to help the entire company learn and grow.
SBJ: Giving back to the community has been a big part of your mission. In what ways do you give back to the community and why are you so passionate about it?
Smith: As far as the passion, both I and people within our organization have seen some heartache. We’ve done things for our employees from financial assistance to meals and additional time off. It’s the employees looking out for one another. I think as a leader in the organization, it almost makes you want to do as much as you can to follow in that. The organizations that we have picked have been things that we’ve seen impact us the most. I joined the American Cancer Society board, and we do the Men Wear Pink campaign every year. We’ve done a little bit with Big Brothers Big Sisters where we’re doing some outreach to give back to the community.
SBJ: What’s next for NLS?
Smith: We’re excited about what we’ve seen over the last five years. We started looking into opportunities that maybe we couldn’t do because we’ve been solely focused on this capability or this solution. Taking all the goodness that we were able to create and foster that into maybe another technology or a sibling industry – we haven’t necessarily nailed that down yet. We’ve restructured our organization this past year to allow for that kind of growth. It’s going to provide new opportunities for existing employees to learn a new skill set and to allow us to open additional jobs. It’s going to diversify our overall portfolio to allow us to work with different clients and different partners. We are starting to see our vision branch out and not be so specific.
Adrianna Norris became a first-time business owner with the opening of Finley River Chiropractic; PaPPo’s Pizzeria & Pub launched its newest location; and Huey Magoo’s opened its second store in the Ozarks.