SBJ: What has been key to your recent growth?
Brett Roubal: In my opinion, it was the foundation laid by [founder] Rochette Dahler and her husband Matt long ago. The fundamentals of this company are extremely strong, from not only the philosophy about how we care for children, but the philosophy of how we care for our employees and co-workers and staff. Frankly, it’s that environment and atmosphere that allows us to grow, to repeat that process in new and developing schools, and enable each of those schools to have success from day one.
SBJ: What are your top issues when it comes to managing growth?
Roubal: Making sure we have the proper support in place to make sure we can handle additional schools we develop over time. We want to make sure that we have proper home office and back-office support for all administrative and operational functions, and making sure that we are able to hire at the pace required for the additional school growth is key.
SBJ: What has the company’s growth enabled you to do?
Roubal: It has enabled us to bring more areas of our company in-house. For instance, we’ve started developing in-house.
The second thing is it’s enabled us to give more opportunities to more deserving people within our organization. We always have an eye out for talent, and we want to make sure that the people who want to grow with our company have opportunities to grow, so opening new schools always enables us to promote deserving people within Little Sunshine’s, which is one of the biggest goals and objectives I personally have.
SBJ: Is there such a thing as growing too fast?
Roubal: Definitely. If the pace of growth outpaces your ability to properly support what you have in place, that is simply growing too fast. We never want to get to a point where we feel that.
We’ve taken a path of growth that enables us to not only grow at a fast pace but be able to support all of our schools, all of our leaders, all of our staff appropriately, and that is something we are not willing to compromise on.
SBJ: Where is the tipping point?
Roubal: I don’t know that there’s an objective, mathematical equation to a tipping point. But we always want to be ahead of that tipping point, and we won’t take on additional projects when we see and feel that we’re not able to properly support them.
We haven’t seen it yet, but the tipping point is when we feel in any way, shape or form that we cannot properly do what we need to do to enable our existing schools to have the type of success we’ve historically had.
SBJ: What is the best/worst business advice you’ve received?
Roubal: I believe in collaborative leadership and bringing in viewpoints of different stakeholders and different experts we have in the different reaches of our company. I love getting the points of view of people with different backgrounds and different expertise to help guide the decision-making process, and I believe that’s been a really big success for us. That’s probably the best business advice we’ve received.
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