Quickly Changing Technology? No Factor For This Successful Entrepreneur

This semester, a significant part of students’ grades is writing a blog post on an assigned guest speaker presentation. The 20 students in the class have been  randomly assigned to our practicing entrepreneur guest speakers. Today’s blog entry marks the first of these student-authored efforts. It has been written by Rhett Kuhnen.

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John “Beefy” Huston is a man of his words. An old-fashioned lifestyle is the way he chooses to live on a daily basis. He takes a lot of pride in what he does. Whether it is the little things in his business or the big picture. Having at least one computer in a household is typical for the average American today. However, Beefy Huston is not a typical businessman in the world today. He does everything by the book or as some would call it, “The Old-Fashioned” way.

Mr. Huston does all the little things right which makes his business such a success. He always arrives to the job site on time, and if there is a chance he could be even five minutes late he will call the customer to let them know. Beefy Huston does not do any advertising, he relies on his customers talking to their friends and family around the area about the work that he has done at the job location. This would be called “Word of Mouth” communication. After he hears that someone has recommended him, he gladly sends that person a handwritten “thank you” note. When Beefy was speaking to our class about doing the little things right, he said, “Try to achieve these even when you are sick of it everyday.” This quote is something a successful entrepreneur has showed in his business that has led him to be one of the most prestige landscaping businesses in the area.

One of the keys to having such a successful business in a small town is to see and be seen. Mr. Huston is very active in the community. He grew up just outside of Roseville and his father is still a Veterinarian in Roseville today. He served 14 years on the Warren County Fair Board, 4 years on the Roseville Community Board, and he is also a Knights of Columbus member. He participates in the community any way that he can. He is a substitute teacher any time after Thanksgiving until March. Also, he drives the bus for the Varsity Boys Basketball team. Charity events, pancake suppers, and auctions are a few other ways he likes to be seen in the community. “What goes around comes around” is a quote Beefy mentioned in class, whether it is a quick return or 4-5 years down the road. If you do something good for someone else, most times they will return the favor at a later point.

Another main point that Beefy addressed in class was the freedom that comes with being an entrepreneur – you are your own boss. He sets his own schedule with a remembrance that the customer always comes first. Whether he spends all seven days of the week working from sun up to sun down he makes sure the job is completed within a timely matter. When Beefy is asked about why he does not make his business into a larger company, he responds he likes the minimum level of stress he has with his small business. Also, he does not want to be overwhelmed with adding new employees. His employees are always college or high school kids that are willing to work hard. Mr. Huston keeps his employees determined to work hard even through the hot conditions of the summer by working along side them; he is not a boss who sits in the air condition all day and gives his employees orders. This has helped keep him in business since he receives numerous calls on people wanting jobs to be completed by him.

Rhett Kuhnen (30 January 2014)

 

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About Terrance Gabel

Terrance G. Gabel is currently an Associate Professor in the Department of Political Economy and Commerce at Monmouth College. Originally from Keokuk, Iowa, Dr. Gabel earned his BBA (Marketing) from the University of Iowa, his Master of Science degree (Marketing) from Texas A&M University, and his Ph.D. (Marketing) from the University of Memphis. He possesses three years of business-to-business sales experience, one year of executive-level marketing management experience for a heavy industrial international trade services firm, and one year of product management experience for a large banking organization. He was also a freelance business writer and consultant for approximately three years.

5 thoughts on “Quickly Changing Technology? No Factor For This Successful Entrepreneur

  1. Excellent work Rhett! You have done a great job of capturing the essence of Beefy’s ongoing entrepreneurial success story!!

  2. I think it is great that all of these entrepreneurs almost depend on word of mouth and view it as essential for their businesses. This is something that we talk about in almost any business class that has proven to be very important. It is interesting to see what we learn in the class room to be such an importance to business owners.

    • Great comment Alex, especially the point that “these entrepreneurs almost depend on word of mouth and view it as essential for their businesses.” Most people realize that word-of-mouth (WOM) communication is important to businesses but many fail to recognize that WOM is a controllable marketing phenomenon that, if managed well, nearly eliminates the need to spend big money on advertising (especially for companies with smaller geographic customer bases). You will see many of our entrepreneurs this semester talking about how consistent customer satisfaction is the key to generating positive WOM. However, pay close attention to exactly how they achieve/deliver satisfaction; it will differ some from business to business.

  3. I think that it makes sense that Beefy didn’t want to expand his business. Minimal stress is very important when you are an entrepreneur. When expanding your business not only do you have to look at the financial aspects (i.e. hiring more employees, new buildings/equipment, more insurance etc.) but the amount of time and effort it would take to expand a company. Plus, I’m pretty sure Beefy has found himself a niche in landscaping around the Monmouth-Roseville area. Overall great blog post Rhett!

  4. Good point Tyler! Quantity of work is not quality of work; the two are typically inversely related after some point. Beefy realizes this and wants to maintain personal–and expert–control of the services provided. “Growth” in his context must be the growth of quality service; not just more work/billings!!

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