The Ed Eppley Experience
The Ed Eppley Experience

Episode 6 · 1 year ago

Running Through the Window of Opportunity - A Tale of 2nd Generation Success

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

Most 2nd generation business owners struggle to maintain the success of the founder. In this episode Ed speaks with Matt Hullander, CEO of Hullco Home Remodelers. Matt bought the business from his dad in 2007 and has grown and scaled it to become the largest home remodeling company in east Tennessee. Learn how he improved results by narrowing the focus of the business.

Welcome to the edetle experience twentyminutes that simplifies the complex job of managing and meeting people andInspires you to take action on what you probably already know to fel andsustain a smart and healthy business. Here's your host head effor tointroduce this week's guest and business leader. Welcome to the Adepli experience thepodcast designd, to simplify the complex job of managing and leadingpeople. The goal of this podcast and everyone that we have is to share withyou at least one proven practical business concept. It will help you runa more sustainable, profitable and purpose dripven company today's guesthe's become a friend and I mean a sincere friend in a relatively shortperiod of time. I guess you're kind of a client but but you're more of afriend than you are a client and his name is Matt Hollander Matcacitio ofHolko there, the essentially the largest home remodeler in the easternpart of Tennessee some comments or words. I wrote down about Matt he's onehe's rare, there's, not many people like him. I in a positive way, greathusband, Father, Successful Second Generation Entrepreneur, and I want totalk a little bit about that, because most successful entrepeneurs ar firstgeneration hes second generation what I love about Matt Audiencees, healways leaves others, no matter the circumstancis better. For having beenaround him, he is constantly relentlessly looking to get better atwhatever he does, and I tell you what I don't know how he gets as much done inhis days as he does, but there's it's always fun to foll him around be withhim, because there is very little time wasted when you're around that. So MattWelcome to the Adeptli experience and thank you so much for having me invalue your friendship as well, and I'm glad to be with you today. Well thanks,I'm excited to get a chance to have the audience learne a little bit more aboutyou. I've thought a little bit about your industry and you know when we sayhome remodeling that that's a big broad topic and it's a highly fragmented industry.If you think about, I don't know who the largest national player is. Youmight even share with us, but how have you guys enjoyed such success in anarea that where there are so many Gypsies, so many fly by nightindividuals in the organizations that do this work and not only beensuccessful but thrived literally in a pretty competitive marketplace? Well,it is very fragmented. There are franchises. There are just individualsthat may have a helper or somebody that I mean there's a lot of like firemen.Do this on the side, and then you get into the next phase, where we're atwhere you have. You know full blown company that does marketing andproduction S as a sales team of the big players. To answer your question: Thereare a few in the country that do what I do in the three to five hundred milliondollar range, but yeah multiple locations. You know, I know one companythat has thirty locations and then I think that for what we're doing we're in twomarkets and cover Chadnoga Knox, woin all the way up into the tri cities, andthen we have north Georgia a little bit of western North Carolina. Basically, atwo O three out radius from us. Okay, to answer you question: Have we beensuccessful? I took the business over from father and just really tried to startlearning from others. I got involved in a couple of peer groups that vendorshad put together and then I got into some more formal piere settings and Ifigured out a we can be original at some things, but we don't have to be.We just try to learn from others copy what they're doing they like to help me.I like to help them, and so you know...

...when I first started it was the peergroups reading and then you know, subscribing theindustry, newsletters and and just sharing in fo with others. You know oneof the things I've watched in the time that we've known each other and heardmaybe more about because it happened before you and I met you've gone frombeing, I think, broader, in what you've done for your clients in homeremodelingand kind of started to narrow that down to not doing quite as many things am Iright on that you're correct. We have introduced new products and we've takensome away, but over the last several years, we've realized we're moresuccessful. If we say nod, has many new opportunities and focus on what we'regood at e Nobergan. How hard has that been for you and Bobby Your GeneralManagor to be able to limit the offering o? I'm sure that was I'm surethere've been debates about that, especially with the sales organization.Oh definitely in the sales team. They always want something new and shiny tosell, but if it doesn't fit our business model, we've just became verydisciplined really in the last couple years about f reducing the number ofofferings we have. We really only have five or six core offerings that we domostly related to the exterior of the home and it's what we know we canproduce profitably and we have a system for it and we can just grow the volumefrom thayer versus trying to bring on something new. That typically causesproblems, or you have different tres that get involved or Yeh. The job takestoo long. So we're very big proponents of stayng focused. Now you serve onsome boards for other businesses. Do you find that they have troublefocusing and being disciplined and not doing? You know trying to do too manythings for too many kinds of customers or or do you feel like they've got thatsame discipline? I think the ones I'm involved in are fairly disciplinedbecause they are more. They have a single product there selling we're inour industry. It's easy to take on new stuff, I mean for homery modeling. Youcould start coding, garage floors and selling gutter protection. You could dointerior blinds, there's so many things you could throw in there. I've got somepeers that sell water purification systems, but we've decided just to tosingle our focus on the things we've done, the last thirty to forty yearsand it served us well all right. You know your father started the business and,as I said in my introduction about you that you're a successful secondgeneration entrepreneur, I'm curious- and I know one- You Love Your Dad andyour dad was running a successful business when you bought it from him.Do you feel, like you're? More of an entrepreneur than your dad was, I wouldn't say, I'm more of anentrepreneur. I think we go about it a different way: Io Ani. Sometimes thatwas a struggle growing up and you know I ogt want to go one way and him goanother and ultimately we got to the destination at the same time, and Ithink that's true with a lot of father and sons, but I mean I grew up in thebusiness. My Dad was a hard worker. He always provided for us, but he wore alot of hats when he founded our company in Nineteen,a seventy seven. He was also driving a school bus and he had a business thatlaid carpet in the evenings and in the middle of the night it places like BowAndallys that had to be open in the daytime e. He did a little bit of allof it and then, as a whole, Co grew. He sold his busroute, he sold his half of the carpet business and we started manufacturingstorm windows, around N, thusand, nine hundred nd eighty and that evolved intomanufacturing replacement windows and then that led into all the otherproducts we sell. Today, I started working at our window factorywhen I was a teenager and I rolled window screens for a dollar apiece, andthen he had me go get my own installationcrew and I installed for a while and...

...then I sold for a long time and then Istarted managing so maybe back in the early two sands. Heand I I remember, were riding back from visiting a vender in Atlanta and westarted talking about one day me taking on a bit of role and he had an interestin politics and at the time was a county commissioner and he loves givenback to the community and and so in two thousand and five. I found a box ofbusiness cards on my desk. That said President. So I started that is a great story andthen in two thousand and seven I purchased the bises from him and todayhe's still in politics, he's our county trusty and to seventy four last week.God lovy, that's wonderful, but that's o g did you know he was going to dothat that Boxon business cards ID't not that do anyway. I love the subtlety of that. That's a great story, all right! Well,you and I met at the course for presidents at Aleron, and I remember hes sitting there in the middle of the room back tableand your head noded a lot. I'm just going to say it that way. You seemed alot of what we were talking about seeme to resonate, I'm curious about what wasit about the course for president what you heard that made you at least giveme the impression that you liked what you were hearing well, the fee jury go,the facilitator had a lot to do with it. So that's why I ask you mean an the rest owners that al YoNeeo et the re. Now you got now go ahead. IAVEIVE attended similarevents to Aleron and honestly. A lot of the content is not brand new, but it's definitely a lot of greatreminders and it puts it into a system where you can not only follow it butfollow up on it, and it was great. We met Clayvan Hill when we were there andwe learned you know not only how to leave more professionally as owners,but they also have a similar course for managers, and I actually have three ofmy managers going up next month, for that course, so it was great. Do you think that, since you've been toa number of programs, is the the issue not so much the content? But how do youtake that and be able to actually use it, as so is having a system or amechanism by which the concepts and ideas are easily applied? Is that morethe issue for most business owners? Do you think well from just my experience? A lot of it istaking all the information and actually executing it. My employees hear me sayyou get her done a lot and when you come back from these events, you'rejust bombarded with all this great information, and you take twenty pagesof notes and typically for a lot of people that goes in a desk dro anddoesn't get looked at right. Sometimes ever so, I always try to pick. You know my topthree normally on the plane road home from the event and then make sure toexecute on that. But in my opinion, that's why a lot of things don't getdone after you learn new content or even get reminded of content. You knewyou know things you should be doing so. In my opinion, it's executing on it you're listening to the ED ephliexperience, email and now, with your questions for today's guest to podcastat the Epli Groupcom in his book. Let's be clear: six disciplines of focusedmanagement prose author at ethlet breaks down key practices ofprofessional management, how to implement them and why it matterspurchase your copy on Amazoncom today...

...develop your competitive edge for thefuture, while building a susteemmal and swriving tesnes. So, in your case, when you try toexecute what gets in the way, you got a new idea concept. So what's the numberone thing that, but probably despite your good intentions, would cause youto struggle with the execution. Is it? Is it something that you fight? That'syou know itsself imposed by you or is it the business makes it difficult toactually do it. I think a lot of times it's getting everybody aligned, you know tha, maybe if I go to anindustry of Ein or like when I came to Aleron Bobby, was with me. If we goback and try to explain it to other employees, you know a lot of times whenI go out of town. I think I get back and letter like Ol, heck, matit's beent another meeting, so it's getting their bying and everybody moving in thesame direction, which is why I think it's great that Aleron has the coursefor managers now that Bobby and I've done the course for presidents will allbe in better alignment and then it's the accountability F for a lot ofpeople. You know, Aleron has follow up phone calls with an advisor, and youknow after Aleron bobby and I reroad or vision mission of values, and we hadsomebody walking that journey with this, and that helps a lot because theaccountability, otherwise everybody gets busy and it doesn't get done. I I don't want to make this call sollyabout Aleron, because obviously you were running successful business beforeyou ever ever. Were there I noticed and immediately as I got tounderstand Your Business, that you've always had a a desire to pay forward.Do Y? U You've always wanted to give back to the community or toorganizations that that you know do good work in the community. Some peopletalk about a double bottom line where there's a financial result, but there'sa change in the communities in which you operate, where tthey're somehowleft better for your business's Presente did that come from your dadand your mom is that something that was modeled for you? Where did you? Wheredid you you develop that belief that that was the right thing to do? Oh myday was definitely a good role model and like to help people a lot, but thenI just I think I was born with it too, and you know I think we do it for tworeasons or I do it for two reasons. Personally, the first reason: I've justalways found personal happiness from helping others. I think it's humannature to feel that way, but you know they say what goes around comes aroundand I really believe that and then I'm a Christian- and you know the Bible-tells us a fice in loot to who much is given muters, ook required and another verse says, do not forget to dogood for others, and that you know goes back to what goes around comes aroundfor me now for Yep for my company. We not only do it for all those reasons,but it's good for culture. Our mission statement, which we rewrote afterattending Ameron, is to make it better for our customers or co workers in ourcommunity and our employees enjoy being part of something you know itdefinitely helps our culture. It also shows the community that Holco likes tohelp others and give back, and you know they like doing business withcompanies like that. So first we like to help people and that's the realreason we do it, but if we get extra business because it will take it. So those are the two main reasons andthen seven years ago my wife and I started our own foundation, the wholeco Heritage Foundation and we have functions throughout the year. We do agolf tournament. We have a wine dinner, we have a concert and we help raisemoney that way so we're raising the money, we're not just pulling it outour pocket. We do a lot of that inside...

...the business as well, but this wassomething separate that allowed us to raise money that we just turn aroundand give back to the local community, and we give it to other localnonprofits, where we know where the money's going the're, not top heavyyeah. I I was going to say you've for your size business and I'm notgoing to reveal numbers to the audience, but Youo're, not you're, not a hundredmillion dollars. Yet so, let's just make it clear: that's not how big yourcompany is. It's it's not that size, there's an amazing amount of thoughtand I would even say discipline. You've brought to the way you try to to doyour charitable, giving y your paying forward. If you will to the communityand those who've been good to you, you know that you'v tend to try to modelthat. So what have you learned about that? You know in the seven plus yearsyou've been doing this. My guess is you're not doing it exactly the sameway today as you did it when you started, I guess the well. The the one thing Ilearn is once you start giving back. You get a lot of phone calls. Anda lot of hands are out, so it'ssometimes difficult to say, Kno and I'm you know the type personality that Iwant to say yes to everybody, so it's difficult, but we set a budget. Sowithin the company we have a budget that will be for community events, oryou know we sponsor a lot of events, but then our foundation, we just splitit up equally amongst every year five different local nonprofits, some ofthem stay on some rotate off the ones were more passionate about we continueto give to. But you know it's not an exact science either, so we just do as much as we can, but atsome point you know you got to put the breaks on and it's easier toexplain to someone hey. You know appreciate what you're doing, but weset a yearly budget for this and you've called me middle of the year, so getwith me at the end of the year and we'll look at something next year, butwe try not to just let folk pring things on us that as the year goesalong and you know overspend on on our community out reach. So is it prettymuch up to you and Jenny about how that gets done, or is your foundation have aboard that that makes those decisions about where the money goes out? How doyou decide you know who gets what it's a combination of three my wife and Idefinitely have some input and then our foundation does have a board, and someof my employees are on the board and then we just recently had luck. We hadour two thousand and twenty kickoff for the company. We had a all employeemeeting and I stressed to them. I wanted their input on what wasimportant to them, so we let the employees are bored, and then my wifeand I make the decisions on where we split it up and how- and you know a lotof it for us- is we have a young daughter and most of the charities wehelp or revolve round children. One were real active with the JasonFoundation. They raise awareness for teenage suicide and having a teenagerand realizing how rampant that is now and side from car accidents. It's thenumber one cause a death for teenagers, so we help them a lot and they're basedin Tennessee. I think they're in all they're in forty eight states now, butthey're based locally. So we we help them a lot. We help the hunter worly foundation. They helpfamilies that lose a child with Breetement, counseling and funeralexpenses, and I could go on, but most of them are related to children allright. Well, yeah. I think when one thing I've noticed about all the ownersof businesses who support charies of one sort of another e, there's a themeyou know based upon, what's Near and dear to them that they tend to move inthat direction and for good reason. I want to come back to your relationshipwith your dad in the transition o the business. You and I've never talkedmuch about it, but I always got the impression it was pretty smooth. It waspretty simple and so I'm curious about...

...what you've learned from thattransition. When you becoming the owner versus your dad and and what advice youmight have for others who our family owned businesses and have yet tonecessarily go down this road. Well, I think it depends on the time andgeneration and age of you know, t the father and the son or the parent, theChild, but for my dad, nd Niand we wouldn't be whewere at without him. I mean he worked, Super Hard, definitely an entrepreneurand he got us where we're at, but he never had exposure to an Aleron or peergroups or even read. You know at that time. Industry magazines and I just gotdeep into all of that as much as I could to learn from others, and I thinkyou know that's why we grew quite a bit after a purchase the business from him.It was fairly smooth. I mean there were some bumps in the road we actually metwith we're an as corporation now we were asea at the time and we met with several people to CPAS and attorneys to figureout the best way to limit the tax liability there on how to do it. So Ithink advice I would give folks out thereis just to plan ahead unlessyou're really lucky, it typically doesn't happen in a few months. I thinkit needs to be planned sometimes for years Yep. The mistake I see is youknow when it happens too quickly. You know was the value there was the wherer.The taxes thought through. You know ar UC and need to be an scor or vise verse.There's a guy in I'm, not plugging here, and I don't. I don't Tat's right sharewhat you want to share. That's fur there's a guy in Pittsburg. His name isMichael. I think it's Maloi his company's called legacy HP and I don'tknow how I got on his email list, but I get newsletters from him and he'sreally an expert in preparing, for he doesn't do the transaction. He justhelps. Companies prepare for whatever their goal is. Is it to sell to privateequity? Is it yep to sell to your children? Is it to give to yourchildren? Is it to sell to the employees? You know esops and he'sreally been helpful. I don't I've never met the man, but I read his newslettersand it's real helpfun. You know I'll be honest at some point I would imaginether'll be another transaction. That happens with my company, so iust wantto stay on top of it and plan for it. Well, I appreciate you're sharing thatand I just always you hear so many of these transactionsthat end up with animosity between family members or it ends up being muchmore frustrating and challenging t than anybody wanted, and so anytime you canfind ways to minimize that or even avoid it. At's. Certainly, I think, isin everybody's best interest and I can see where siblings are involved. That'sa big problem not being aligned. You and I have some friends down Cincinnatiwhere three brothers are involved in a business and had they not had theconsulting help to make sure they knew who was incharge. They still, you know, and I mine was most luckly more smoothly,because I have one sister and she lives on the West Coast and I'm the only onein the business so that made it easier. Yeah, yeah, yeah, everyone's unique andsome are probably simpler to get done than others. I want to go back to the structure youhave. You know one of the things that I'm a big believer in and I know thatyou heard from your time an Aneron was boards of advisors and you serve onsome boards, but I don't believe you have one. Do You Matt? Well, I'm notI'm not sure. If you're asking this question for your listeners or for me, you might ti you think I have anulterior motive. THAT'S INGOYAHEAD! You know, there's no good excuse! I cangive you we've really been in growth mode. We opened in a new marketrecently and we've been hiring we're changing our organizational chart as wespeak, and but I am at the point where I should start. I have talked to andidentified the members that would be on the board. I just need to execute itand I do plan to take the the course...

...that Aeron, for you know how to startand OPERATI board this year, all right. Well, I didn't ask for that reason, butI'm glad to hear that you're considering it is there one principl or idea. I always like tomake sure that that anybody who takes the time to listen to our podcast cango away if they haven't already one good idea that would help them run amore successful sustainable business. So if there's, if there's one thing tat that, you would say you've learned it's kind of like. If you don't do this.This is the most important thing and I know it's hard to say that. But if youcould say one thing that you think is disproportionally important to runningthat successful business. What is it from your point of view? Mat a you know,there's Mani ways to ancwer that the first thing that comes to mine is oneof our core values, which is changed. An adapt things happen so quickly now, and you know, have the management on board with change. Have Youremployees on board with change? I think you have to really stress that you haveto change to win. You must adapt to you, know the economy or the businessenvironment. You're in technology will force you to change. It is in ourindustry- and I imagine in most industries I would do it often andalways tweek things to you know, make them better they'll, keep yousubstainable and it'll help you scale. I mean I'm always preaching that in ourIndustri Soa there's something somebody's doing better every day. Soyou know, there's a reason: There's no circuit city or ECAR drugs right now,so here ight, that's! The one thing I would say is be open to Changein anadept and do it often thank you mat. I really appreciate it. He's Mad Helandor,the CEO of Hulko, good friend and a leader in all respects and somebodywho's doing the right way. So I'm glad he's got a chance to share with you allthe day. If you want more information about professional management,organizational health and ways to operate a more sustainable, profitalebusiness, you can come to my website the EPLI Groupcom. Also you can get mybook. Let's be clear. There we have a free assessment. That's just beenupdated, built around the six disciplines of professional management.If you want to take that, you'll have a better sense of where your strength andweatnesses. Why and there's other information where we do drill downs ondifferent topics in our flogs and post there that you're more than welcome todownload with that I'm going to say thank you for Listening Matt, thanksfor being our guest and we look forward to hopefully having you on again realson, my pleasurei. Thank you thanks. Everyone. Thank you for listening to the Edeppliexperience for more information on building a more sustainable, smarterand healthier business visit www the EPLI groupcom for resources tips andadds latest blacks. That's Te. EPLE Eppley Groupcom plus take a freeassessment at the EPI GROUPCOM assessment to find out how you measureup as a highly skill and accomplished manager and were to focus on improvingyour skills.

In-Stream Audio Search

NEW

Search across all episodes within this podcast

Episodes (114)