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.
The Bark Yard dog park and bar concept launched; Charity Fent Cake Design LLC moved; and a pair of business owners collaborated on opening The Hidden Hut LLC.
This poll is not a scientific sampling. It offers a snapshot of what readers are thinking.
Heather Kite, owner of startup business Rooted Deep Farms, talks about tough times during the winter of 2020-2021. She says determination was a necessary component that kept her going.
Jeramey and Julia Henson, co-owners of HM Dentworks Academy, discuss the importance of family in work-life balance. They say you can’t make up for the major life events. HM Dentworks Academy is also co-owned by Chris McWhirter.
Rachel Barks, owner of Artistry Pottery, talks about her struggle with PXE, or Pseudoxanthoma elasticum, a disease that affects the eyes. She says that despite her struggle, she is ultimately thankful.
Jessica Burkland, a Missouri State University business instructor in the Department of Management, talks about small business start-up trends in a post-pandemic year. Burkland, who owns Activate Consulting & Training and volunteers as a small business mentor for SCORE of Southwest Missouri, says startups that offer new services and products to help people work from home or that enhance mental health could find greater success.
Jim and Debbie Meinsen, co-owners of TCI Graphics, say the past year has been one of the toughest they have faced. Now in the company's 50th year, the couple says they learned a few things in 2020.
Charlie Rosenbury, president of Self-Interactive, calls on his experience in programming to illustrate lessons he has learned running a business and life in general. Springfield Business Journal's 90 Ideas is presented by Great Southern Bank.
Darline Mabins talks with SBJ’s Christine Temple about growing up after a tragic accident took the lives of her mother and older brother. Mabins is now the regional branch sales manager for Arvest Bank. No Ceiling is an SBJ podcast, going in depth with local women, sharing their journey to the top of their professions.
Caleb Scott, owner, coach and player for Queen City Insane Asylum semi-professional football team, talks about the ways that the team works to support each other on and off the field. Scott says you can’t force people to become leaders, they have to come naturally.
Steve Williams, owner of Crosstown Barbecue, discusses the role relationships have played throughout the 51 years that Crosstown Barbecue has been in business. He says that while he puts effort into providing the best food he can, ultimately “people like to do business with people they like.”
Randy Bacon, professional photographer and humanitarian, relates his experience building relationships with clients since he became a photographer. He says building relationships with his clients and perfecting his craft are the most important things he does to spread his business.