Springfield, MO

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From left: Chris Langston, partner/chief information officer; Josh Burch, partner/CEO; and Drake Hughes, partner/president
Tawnie Wilson | SBJ
From left: Chris Langston, partner/chief information officer; Josh Burch, partner/CEO; and Drake Hughes, partner/president

2024 Dynamic Dozen No. 1: Keep Supply

Posted online

SBJ: What factors have led to your growth?
Josh Burch: First and foremost, our team and the way that we really put a lot of focus on the customer experience and really try to do a lot of value-added things for our customers in terms of how they’re treated, our response times, our hustle. A lot of our new customers find us on the web. But in terms of what keeps us growing, that’s probably the reputation that we’re building within industry based on our team doing such an incredible job and providing such a high level of service.

SBJ: You’ve talked in years’ past about how your website has been a kind of game-changer for growth. What are the practical ways that you build trust in an online business?
Burch: Because a lot of our new customers are finding us on the web, we’ve kind of structured ourselves so that very first experience that the customers have with us can be a very positive one. And then beyond that, we also have another team that puts focus on specific groups of customers. We’ve kind of enhanced that model a little bit going into last year, which give us the ability just to scale. It goes back into making sure that the customers’ very first experiences and all the experiences beyond that are just so differentiated compared to our competitors. That fuels our brand reputation.

SBJ: Keep Supply expanded into a new facility and then grew again in that facility just a few months later. You also have shared the plans to double your sales team this year. What are the challenges when it comes to managing rapid growth?
Burch: Cash is always going to be one of those challenges, but fortunately, we’re in a good place now. The other component of it is obviously finding great people to add to the team, which we’ve been very fortunate to do. And then also making sure that as people come on, that we have a good team member onboarding process. We’re able to get them plugged into the systems and the tools that we use and plugged into the culture or make sure that they have a great experience. We focus just as much on team experience as we do customer experience because I think it’s the combination of those two things happening at the same time that makes for such a big differentiation in the space. Obviously, there’s the financial side of it, making sure that you’ve got the capital that you need so that you can continue to grow and grow strategically in the areas that are most significant for the customer.

SBJ: In the last year, you’ve expanded your geographical market by distributing to 68 countries, a 20% increase over the year before. Where do you see more opportunities moving forward? Or do you want more growth?
Burch: The reason that we’ve sold to more countries is because, again, it’s attributed to our website. I think the problem that we’re aimed at solving – making parts easier to find, easier to buy – is something that’s kind of a global problem. People find us because they’re out trying to look for solutions. A lot of our strategies are really focused on North America in terms of where the market is going, where those opportunities are. There are definitely opportunities for us to put more focus on our international business. We want to do that very incrementally, in a smart way. Just because there is an opportunity doesn’t mean that you should act on it immediately.

SBJ: How do you evaluate when you’re taking on too much?
Burch: We’re fortunate enough that we practice The Great Game of Business. It puts a lot of the right objectives and (key performance indicators) and measurements that surround the business out in front of us. We try to pay really close attention to the aspects of the business that are really important for the business’s health. We have a pulse survey that we’ve started where we’re kind of keeping track of our culture and how things are going internally. We’re doing customer experience-based surveys. And we’re forecasting, so we’re trying to look ahead not necessarily just look behind. So, hopefully we’ve got our eyes on the right things so that if anything starts to deteriorate, so to speak, from the rapid growth, we’ll see it coming.

SBJ: What’s the best business advice you’ve ever received?
Burch: We’ve been fortunate enough to get some mentorship from Jack Stack with SRC [Holdings Corp.] from time to time. He said this to me and probably my business partners a few different times, and it’s meant different things at different points along the way in terms of business experience, but he said, “Figure out what you want to be when you grow up.” He’s talking about in the business. Depending on when you hear it, it can mean different things. It’s really important to understand what that vision is, to be able to share it with the team, to be able to use that as a filter at the highest level for your decisioning. And be careful what you wish for because you might just get there.


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