YOUR BUSINESS AUTHORITY
SBJ: What has been key to your growth?
Tyler Bussell: Probably the key has just been the shortage of new-construction homes in the area. We were in a position this last year where we had a big lot inventory, so we had the ability and the capability to provide a large number of new homes for the demand. We have transitioned to developing the bulk of our own lots, rather than buying at retail. This reduces our lot costs and gives us complete control over the design and construction of the subdivision.
SBJ: What are your top issues when it comes to managing growth?
Bussell: Right now, I’m sure everybody’s heard; it’s just the labor shortage in the construction industry. It hasn’t held us back any. All it’s done is presented a few small challenges when you’re trying to schedule stuff. Sometimes, you get a guy you’ve got down for three starts in a week, and he’s bogged down because his help has taken off or he’s having trouble finding help. It hasn’t caused us to miss any closings or hindered us in any way. But it’s been a bit of a challenge.
SBJ: What has the company’s growth enabled you to do?
Bussell: It’s enabled us to buy a lot of raw ground and develop our own communities. And it’s let us offer a lot of standard features in homes that may be upgrades with other builders. It helps us keep our price competitive.
SBJ: Can you grow too fast?
Bussell: Absolutely, especially in this industry. What can happen is you can bite off a bit more than you can chew. A lot of this happened during the recession. You go out and try to develop land or get a lot of houses going. And if you don’t have the working capital to sustain that – if you’re building houses, selling houses to pay for your land development costs or your holding costs on other properties – once you hit a little hiccup or bump in the road, it’s not going to work out. Whenever a market correction does come, you’re forced to liquidate, and you don’t have any way to hold on.
SBJ: Have your business goals changed?
Bussell: Originally, we just wanted to build one home a year with a goal of building five or 10, and then after that, it was 20 or 30. Now, we’re at about 150 or so. At this point, our goal is to expand into other markets in surrounding states, surrounding areas, and just kind of keep growing the business and offer as many high-quality homes as we can.
SBJ: What is the worst business advice you’ve received?
Bussell: There is a point when a company gets big enough to where people think, “good enough is good enough.” If you delegate something out, and someone says they’ve done it, you just don’t have time to double check it. Especially in this industry – when you’re providing a product for the public – if you get complacent ... that’s when you start getting into trouble. You just have to keep the same quality at all times. If you get bigger, you just have to figure out a way to keep that quality there
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