An Interview with the Founder of Stout Conveyors, LLC

by | Jul 20, 2023 | Construction and Maintenance

• Kindly give our readers an introduction to your business. Please include what your business is all about, in which city you are located and if you have offices in multiple locations/ cities.

◦ Stout Conveyors is located in Montrose, Colorado. We manufacture construction equipment, more specifically a towable telescoping conveyor for the civil and concrete industries. In an industry where it is hard to find good quality workers we have tried to help spread that gap and create a machine that the end user mitigate those worries. Our product is better known as the TC-50 which is a conveyor system mounted on a trailer that can place material out to 50’ while slinging material over 70’, reducing the amount of hands/equipment that needs to handle any jobsite material. Designed to move material at a quick rate of speed, the TC-50 can move any aggregate or concrete on a jobsite.

• Kindly give us a brief description about yourself (it should include your brief educational or entrepreneurial background and list some of your major achievements).

◦ After being in the construction industry for 10 years, my business partner and I thought there had to be an easier and more efficient way of getting work done. We were fortunate enough to come up with an idea that granted us multiple patents and makes a significant advantage to the average contractor. As the saying goes, “work smarter not harder”, we have really embodied this saying as we have saved a lot of people of having to use wheelbarrows and shovels. When we started we began making a couple for some local contractors and now we are manufacturing the TC-50 for people not only in our country but others.

• What inspired you to (start a new business venture) or (to make significant changes in an existing business)? How did the idea for your business come about?

◦ As contractors in a mountain town it was hard to maneuver the small streets and steep grade and knowing there was nothing in the industry to service our needs we found a huge void that we were able to fill. After building our first machine we quickly realized this was needed in way more situations than just mountain towns.

• What three pieces of advice would you give to budding entrepreneurs?

◦ Consistency, it took us multiple years to even get a prototype up and running and over 5 years to even get the process dialed. Be ready to commit everything you have to your mission.

◦ Don’t follow the ideas of what everyone else does. Dare to do things that others haven’t. Just because someone else hasn’t created it doesn’t mean it wont work.

◦ Always budget for twice as much as what you think something will cost. A mentor of mine told me this when we first got started and it couldn’t have been more true.

◦ I’m adding a 4th, be grateful. Showing gratitude is huge.

• What would you say are the top three skills needed to be a successful entrepreneur?

◦ Drive, no matter what happens you have to always keep going to pushing forward. There will always be hard days but if you push hard enough and long enough those good days will start to out way the bad.

◦ I’m not sure if this is “skill”, but the lack of fear is huge. You will screw up and based on the numbers of new businesses you will fail. Don’t let that hold you back.

◦ Try to learn as much as you can about leadership. Being a good leader will get you way farther than doing it all yourself. Trust in the process and learn how to delegate property.

• How many hours do you work a day on average?

◦ My day starts at 5am, remember that quiet time is your friend. You need time to be quiet and think. Most of your “good” ideas will come in this time. Mine is in the morning before the world gets going. I work a normal day at the office and then I come home and usually work till around 10:30. I try not to work during the weekend as much so I can focus on the family but I will usually get up early and work a half a day on Saturdays.

• To what do you most attribute your success?

◦ I have been very fortunate over the years to be blessed with good opportunities and I try to capitalize on those times. I don’t know if I can point to just one thing but I think in my life but I do know if you can work your tail off in pursuit of what your chasing something is bound to happen. It might not always be what you want but you will always end up in a better place than you were. And never be afraid to ask questions, you don’t know what you don’t know.

• How do you go about marketing your business? What has been your most successful form of marketing?

This is hard to believe but Instagram has been our hot ticket. After 5 years we just started to spend money on advertising, this is something I wouldn’t recommend. We were fortunate enough to have some interest early and honestly we were more focused on putting every dime back into the business that we just took the chance and rode that wave. Now that things are starting to pick up its time to double down on getting the word out there on who we are and the value we can bring to contractors.

• Where did your organizations funding/capital come from and how did you go about getting it? How did you obtain investors for your venture?

◦ In the beginning we did a round of friends and family and this got us through a lot of engineering and the prototype. Friends and family can be hard though as having that close connection with peoples money is touchy at times. If I was to do it again I would try to go about it a different way.

• What is the best way to achieve long-term success?

◦ I know I said this earlier but you cant give up. Even if you end up down a road you didn’t originally plan on, you have to keep going.

• Where you see yourself and your business in 5 – 10 years?

◦ In 5-10 years I plan to have multiple lines of equipment selling all over the world.

• Excluding yours, what company or business do you admire the most?

◦ Putzmeister, they have been in business for 60 years now and have absolutely crushed the market. From telebelts to concrete pumps they are the name that represents that industry. For never coming out with any new technology in the past 2 decade it goes to show just how valuable their products are.

Recommended Questions –

• How important have good employees been to your success?

◦ Employees are everything. If you think you can do it without them your wrong. They become the face and the voice of your brand. Good employees are the quickest way to a good culture.

• How long do you stick with an idea before giving up?

◦ Never, just pivot. Keep compounding what you have and shift. Whether it’s a new industry or new design. If it was good enough to start the first time there is a good chance you had something. It just might be in another direction than you originally planned.

• What motivates you?

◦ Failure.

• What are your ideals?

◦ Treat everyone the way you want to be treated. This world is a small place and our industries are even smaller. Be kind to those you meet as it usually comes back around. When being an entrepreneur, you can feel all alone sometimes and knowing that you treated those you meet the best you can will pay off in the end.

• How do you generate new ideas?

◦ Be quiet. In a crazy fast passed world it is hard for us to let our mind do what it does best. Most of your good ideas will come in silence, you just have to give your mind the room to think.

• How do you define success?

◦ I have always struggled with this as I feel like once I completed something I strive for the next thing. As long as I am always moving forward and chasing my dreams, that is a success to me.

• How do you build a successful customer base?

◦ Be honest, word of mouth is the best form of marketing. Every customer wants to know your telling the truth and that your doing everything you can in your power for them. Once they lose that trust, you lost a customer. I have heard more than 20 times from customers that one of our competitors is failing in the customer support department. How crazy is it that these customers are so upset with their experience that they feel they must share that info or even say that their not buying from them again.

• What is your favorite aspect of being an entrepreneur?

◦ Freedom of time. I can take off when I want or work as much as I want and either one of those choices is directly effect to my success.

• What has been your most satisfying moment in business?

◦ When I think back its not just one moment but overall journey. I struggle to stop and smell the roses but when I do, I am extremely grateful for the path I am on and where we are headed.

• What do you feel is the major difference between entrepreneurs and those who work for someone else?

◦ For me it was the fear of being average. I couldn’t envision me living a normal life and not making a difference with what I was doing.

• What kind of culture exists in your organization? How did you establish this tone and why did you institute this particular type of culture?

◦ We have a very respect driven culture. With this comes freedoms. You respect my time and I will respect yours. You respect my ideas and I will respect yours. So on and so on. For example, we do not have a vacation policy, however, I will respect your time if you respect my deadlines and the businesses need to make money.

• In one word, characterize your life as an entrepreneur.

◦ exciting

Optional Questions –

• If you had the chance to start your career over again, what would you do differently?

◦ Sometime I tell myself I would never start a business because it hard at times but I don’t know if I would change anything to be honest.

• How has being an entrepreneur affected your family life?

◦ Its definitely been hard to manage as I work every minute I can. Its key that your family is on board with your dream and if your on the same page that definitely helps. But there are also a lot of perks that make it worth while.

• What is your greatest fear, and how do you manage fear?

◦ Not becoming the man I was made to be. Leaning into faith really helps me manage all of the fear and stress and I’m not strong enough to do it on my own.

• How did you decide on the location for your business?

◦ My business partner lived in CO and based on our clientele it was a no brainer to move and start shop there.

• Do you believe there is some sort of pattern or formula to becoming a successful entrepreneur?

◦ No, learn how to solve problems and you can master anything.

• If you could talk to one person from history, who would it be and why?

◦ Hitler, to think he convinced a whole country to follow him on a terrible idea. I would ask him how he did it. I think if you can uncover that your mind would look at marketing in a whole new light.

• Who has been your greatest inspiration?

◦ My wife, to put up with me and my crazy dream is way harder than anything in my book.

• What book has inspired you the most? (OR what is your favorite book?)

◦ How to win friends and influence people. It really gets to the root of fundamentals.

• What are some of the biggest mistakes you’ve made?

◦ Not being confident in myself.

• How can you prevent mistakes or do damage control?

◦ If you do you best, you can’t. The winners are the ones who pivot after a mistake with out hesitating.

• What are your hobbies? What do you do in your non-work time?

◦ I love the outdoors. Hunting and fishing is what brings life to my soul. I really think its just being outside in the quiet.

• What makes you happy?

◦ I wake up every day on this side of the grass and God gave me air in my lungs, so whats not to be happy about.

• What sacrifices have you had to make to be a successful entrepreneur?

◦ Time by far. Knowing that spending time with friends/family or hobbies is usually put on the back burner.

• If you were conducting this interview, what question would you ask?

◦ What was the best piece of advise you have ever been given.

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