July 10, 2019
Yes! It’s possible to remain laid back and move your business forward. Bill Morse, former owner of Constar Supply out of Clovis, California, is proof. Bill sat down to discuss the philosophies that have lead him to create solid banking relationships, honor employee freedoms over management scrutiny, and find the right corporate fit for his company’s next chapter.
There’s a lot to learn from a guy who’s been around since the dinosaur years, when deals were made over coffee and a handshake and banks came calling with capital to lend. “We moved banks two or three times in the early years,” Bill says, “because banks were wooing us back then...and we wanted to keep the pace of growth going.”
It became apparent that building relationships with the people who greenlighted loans was crucial to avoiding the curse of a successful failure. Like many of us, Bill found that capitalizing on those relationships wasn’t one of his strengths. “If you don’t know it or if you’re not comfortable with it or you just don’t want to do it,” he says, “find somebody who does...because that’s essential!”
Regardless of how friendly you are with your banker, Bill admits that the Great Recession has changed the banker-business relationship. Still, some aspects of applying for funds have stayed the same. “In every business, whether you’re a doctor, a professional, or just a contractor, you really are in some part salesman and you have to sell your whole idea.”
To that end, Bill says that the work put into creating a forecast and outlining your vision comes down to selling yourself, otherwise, “they’re not going to buy into it. And banks these days are especially tough. You really have to give them a real argument.”
Personnel is another challenge that’s been a near constant since the beginning. When he started out, Bill says, “I had connections so I was able to pull some people away that had been in the industry for a long time.” But there’s a difference between finding an employee and finding the right employee.
Once found, Bill gives his outside sales team their independence. “I don’t put our salesmen on call reports. I don’t track them. I don’t give them too many barriers to making the sale.” The payoff for Constar has been staff loyalty and a healthy bottom line - as well as a successful corporate buyout.
If you’ve been in the industry for decades or are just starting out, give this episode a listen. It’s a quick half hour of amazing insight on what it takes to stick around and stay successful. There’s even a barista analogy.
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Distribution Talk is produced by The Distribution Team, a consulting services firm dedicated to helping wholesale distribution clients remove barriers to profitability, generate wealth and achieve personal goals.
Edited & mixed by The Creative Impostor Studios.