SBJ: What has been key to your recent growth?
Jerrod Hogan: Good people and good strategy. We think that every good company, at its core, has good people. And when you combine that with good strategy, you have fun, you create a really cool environment, and you tend to grow.
SBJ: What has the company’s growth enabled you to do?
Hogan: It’s allowed us to spend a little more time on strategy. As we grow, a majority of our team spends their resources working in the business and making sure our clients are successful. But it’s also empowered us to have a few folks spend time on strategy, making it a better place to work, identifying clients and how we serve them better. Being able to divide those tasks up has been a real gift for our company. We did a reorganization of our entire structure almost a year ago now. Our company had a very traditional, hierarchical work chart. Now, we look at if this person is great technically, great with clients or great with strategy. And through that restructuring, we now have opportunities for each of those skill sets and passions to fit into a better position.
SBJ: What are your top issues when it comes to managing growth?
Hogan: People. In almost every industry now we are seeing a shortage of workers. This is especially true in the engineering and construction world. We have plenty of work to keep people busy and growing our business, but we are lacking qualified personnel to keep up with our demand.
SBJ: Is there such a thing as growing too fast?
Hogan: Definitely. If we keep growing our work, we will outpace our people. Our No. 1 goal is to provide a great place to work and to do so we can’t overwork our people. We strive to provide a place that they can work and have that balance between their personal and professional life.
SBJ: Have your goals changed as business has taken off?
Hogan: Of course. We have always had a motto of “always reserving the right to get smarter.” Our general goals of maintaining high quality work, high quality people and great customer service don’t change, but our goals to keep us there move with the flow of our growth.
SBJ: Is your fast growth sustainable?
Hogan: Absolutely. We’ve been on 10 years straight of double-digit growth. And there’s, frankly, been a couple of years where we did grow too fast, and it’s changed our growth strategy. We had a few months where we felt we lost control. If it felt good, we did it. If we liked someone we interviewed, we hired them. We hired too many people on ability and character without making sure they were a good fit with chemistry. One component of growing too fast is ... you end up going backwards and correcting those mistakes.
SBJ: What is the worst business advice you’ve received?
Hogan: Twenty years ago, I had this attorney say, “Write a business plan, execute the business plan and don’t deviate.” I did that for a long time. In hindsight, I think that’s terrible advice. I’d write a 30-page business plan, spend months researching it, and I’d go print it at Kinko’s, bind it and stick it on a desk. The older I get, the shorter the plans. Today, we have a couple-page strategic plan and white board sessions every week to look where we’re at and tweak what we’re doing.
New Southwest Baptist leader works to build campus connections.
Marc Thornsberry, a Senior Engineer at CJW, says he joined the company after working in the public sphere. He says CJW had a ton of experience working with the community, and putting their customer's and clients.
Sandra Smart, a technology and commercialization specialist, shares helpful advice and cautionary tips about the importance of tracking cash flow for new or established businesses. Smart works with tech entrepreneurs and hosts training workshops through the Missouri SBDC at Missouri State University's efactory.
Michael Smith and Chris Sawyer, COO and CEO of Next Level Solutions respectively, discuss how they keep their remote teams and offices in and out of country on the same page. Next Level Solutions was ranked #1 in the Springfield Business Journal's 2021 Dynamic Dozen.
John Oke-Thomas, architect and co-founder of minorities in business, responds to the accusation that minority businesses are only successful because of the priority they have received in lending. He says that if a business uses a loan well, it shows their worth.
Sandra Smart, a technology and commercialization specialist, shares tips for entrepreneurs who are ready to seek funding. Some of her tips apply broadly; some target technology industry businesses. Smart works with tech entrepreneurs and startups, and hosts training workshops through the Missouri SBDC at Missouri State University's efactory.
Hollie Elliott discusses common misconceptions about locating your business in a small town. She says that there are a lot of benefits that people may not consider.
Drawing on his own experience dynamically evolving his company and business model, Jim Meinsen discusses when and how you might need to draw on new technology. Jim and Debbie Meinsen are co-owners of TCI Graphics in Springfield.
John Oke-Thomas, longtime Springfield architect, discusses his philosophy on architecture. He says that future historians will be focused on the sustainability of our contemporary architecture.
Erin Hedlun, director of marketing and communications at Evangel University, says compassion is an important job skill. Hedlun says it is a component of what makes a leader.
Rachel Barks, owner of Artistree Pottery, talks about the concepting that went behind the aesthetic of the business.