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CEO Warrior Reaches Service Utopia

CEO Warrior Reaches Service Utopia

When Jim Clark sold his award-winning company to private equity in March of 2022, 74 bidders were standing in line to make a deal. With 32% market share in the area he served in Charleston, South Carolina and its surrounding counties, Jim had reached “service utopia,” something only 1% of the industry accomplishes. He. had grown revenues from $700,00 to $11.5 million in just 12 years. He said his business was at a point where he felt he could exit because he had nothing else to prove. Jim said, “When you get there, all your systems and processes are in place, and your company is running with minimal oversight. The only thing you have to do is market, recruit, and convert, and your business becomes a “rocket ship.”

According to Jim, selling his company now was the best decision. “Interest rates and inflation devalues a company, so I knew if I didn’t sell now, it could be another 10 years before we’re in another buying cycle. I knew the acquisition market was going to go down and would come back up when the economy recovers, but there were no guarantees they would be where they are now. Evaluations on my businesses were good when I sold.” Jim said he went into the sale of his business with awareness that on the big stage, sellers typically get a fraction of what their business is worth, but with the help of CEO Warrior, that was not the end of his story. He said, “I had become a unicorn that the buyer wanted to clone, and I got what I wanted when I sold.”

Steps taken to utopia

In 2000, Jim founded Environmental Solutions & Service, a company specializing in air quality control and solving A/C moisture related problems. He acquired Myers Heating and Air in 2010, and with just 5 employees, took the company to $700,000. In 2013, he acquired a 35-yr-old company called C&C whose revenues were at $800,000. Jim merged the two companies and the names to retain traction in the market and with the added services of Environmental Solutions & Service, grew revenues of C&C Myers to $4.2 million by 2015. That’s when he joined CEO Warrior and became a Centurion. He implemented processes, utilized all resources, and did what his mentors told him to do. As a result, when Jim sold his business on March 21, 2022, he had 77 employees and had hit $11.5 in revenue.

Systems and Processes are Essential

With a degree in mechanical engineering, Jim describes himself as “data driven.” And because he hates to lose money, he identified problems, solved them quickly, then documented the solution in a binder to prevent it from happening again. And if for some reason the issue came up again, he knew how to fix it. He said, “CEO Warrior helped me earn a ‘street MBA.’ They had the answers when I needed them and proven processes on how to run the business, so I didn’t have to reinvent the wheel. I just implemented the processes. I didn’t know what I needed until I needed it, and it was valuable to have a mentor who could give me the answers.” Jim believes that if you have systems and processes in place, no matter what size you are, it will take you to the next level. “I didn’t set goals, I set targets. If my target is to go the moon and I just miss, I still did pretty good.”

Employees dedicated to mission and core values

Kevin Hill was brought into C&C Myers five years ago to manage sales. Jim coached him and gave him the title of director. At the time the business sold, Kevin was running the company, and became an asset to the buyers.  

Jim said he had no problem getting techs, other than those who felt they weren’t good enough to work for C&C Myers. “I knew that if people had values, character, and ethics, I could teach them the trade. We took people with no formal education and changed their lives.” Everyone at C&C Myers knew what the mission was and how to complete it, guided by core values. “No one was going to sell people anything they didn’t need, and everyone had each other’s back. No drama. Drama is weakness.”

According to Jim, when you run a good company, you tell employees that your number one job is to take care of them, and your second job is to bring more opportunity into the company. “I created a work environment where people were paid well, respected, and treated like family. When you do that, they do things right, and go to bat for you because they know if they don’t, they’re letting their family down.” Jim also kept an employee retention budget that covered monthly activities like breakfasts, massage therapy, minor league baseball games, family fun days, and holiday parties.

Support when you need it

How does a company have their best year ever, amid Covid-19? Jim said, “CEO Warrior trained us to be prepared, so we were getting into people’s homes when other companies were closing their doors, making 2020 a record year for us.”

Jim also knows the value of CEO Warrior advice amid the impact of a tough upper management decision to let people go. “The framework of a company can change overnight, and you have to navigate and course correct,” Jim explained. “CEO Warrior talked me through the narratives and asked the questions. Like-minded people gave me the support I needed to feel confident in my decision and fix any resulting problems.”

Why join CEO Warrior?

Jim is clear on why he became a Centurion level warrior. “I owed it to my employees to be a better leader, grow my company, and take them with me in the success. If you want to grow your company and use someone else’s experience so you don’t make the same mistakes, join CEO Warrior. They care about your success. That and one-on-one attention sets them apart. I don’t know why people wouldn’t join, but you have to be disciplined and identify things that have the biggest impact in your company and make those changes, instead of implementing everything at one time. If you’re looking for somebody to be your savior, that’s not them. If you’re looking for a partner that can help you grow and has the answers when you need them, it’s an awesome fit. But you’ve got to be willing to make change happen, and if you not, what are you really doing with your business?”

What does the future hold for Jim and his family?

Proud of his four adult children who have found their own passion and purpose, Jim says, “They didn’t come into the business; they made it on their own, and they can live their lives and be happy without having to worry about money.”

The extremely driven Jim Clark has no desire to sit back and relax. “I want to continue to

help people and help them grow,” he said. “The sale allows me to do that on a bigger scale. I’m not done yet, but I’m having fun.”

Owner

Jim Clark

Service Utopia

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