Q: 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.

A: GreenGate Turf Management is primarily a residential only lawn maintenance company. We excel at lawns typically 13,500 sq. ft and less. Rather than the ginormous mowers typically seen, we only use 21and 30mowers all with mulching kits saving your soil and turf from the crushing weight. Our fertilization program is absolutely marvelous. Our program not only includes fertilizing the grass but also tree and flower beds. I would say though, that our clients MOST love the spray on fertilizers we spray on their flowering plants giving deep rich color and an abundance of blooms.

Q: Give us a brief description about yourself (it should include your brief educational or entrepreneurial background and list some of your major achievements).

A: Ive always had two loves, Real Estate and Landscaping which is what I studied in college. My first career was real estate. I had great success with real estate up to about 2009 at which time it became not so much fun!! Chapter two is GreenGate Turf! Coming home dirty has never been so much fun!

Q: 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?

A: As I noted, landscaping has always been a love of mine but the opportunity and market didn’t exist until recently. With Houstons booming economy and growth I cant imagine any more opportunity exists anywhere else in the world! The stars and moon have certainly lined up for the greater Houston area.

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

A: 1) Start small

2) Scale fast

3) Understand that if it was easy……….everybody would be doing it.

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

A: 1) Relentless tenacity

2) A solid game plan that can be messaged as time progresses and the company grows.

3) An understanding that there is no success without failure. They go hand in hand.

Q: How many hours do you work a day on average?

A: I once had a banker tell me that the best part of being self employed is that you get to pick which 80 hrs a week you wanna work………..seems he was spot on.

Q: To what do you most attribute your success?

A: Surrounding my self with great people. Im not to proud to say there are lots of people smarter than me and Im happy to learn from them. If you ever think you got it all figured out youve already failed and just don’t know it yet.

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

A: Word of mouth and referrals will always be my best marketing. We really want to wow our customers to the point they feel compelled to tell their friends and family. Sounds obvious, but it takes a great deal of dedication to actually pull that off. Consumers today are savior than ever.

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

A: I had a little money saved up that I used as seed money. I also believe in putting every dime back into my company as this is a long term venture with plans to serve my community long into the future. Having a good banker also helps…….. 🙂

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

A: Believe in your product and know that the 3-5 years before you are profitably is not a cliche, its a fact. Borrow only what you need to scale your company and only in amounts that you can pay off with the sale of business assets. (This is easier said than done)

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

A: In 5 years we would like a market position of 2500 customers and in 10 years we would like to have doubled that. We would like a reputation in our community of not necessarily being perfect but a company that can be relied upon to take great care of their customers.

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

A: I wont name names, but there is a gentleman in California that invented an apparatus to capture pollutants from ship stacks allowing ship owners to leverage the purchase of these stacks with the sale of carbon credits. The owner saw a market niche and filled it with a simple design. He made our world a little better and has more money than god. How can you not love America!!

Q: How important have good employees been to your success?

A: I mentioned earlier that surrounding yourself with great people is paramount to business success. I also believe sharing in that success is great for your people and good for business.

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

A: George Patton said a good idea today is better than a great idea tomorrow. I believe that. If you have a good idea today, work on making it better with all the tomorrows. There are some ideas that were never good. Once you have compelling evidence thats the case……..move on and take your learned lessons with you.

Q: What motivates you?

A: For me, motivation has always come from inside. Maybe is just my wiring. Money has some impact but not much. I have had lots of money and absolutely none. Once my creature comforts have been addressed there is a diminishing return on the value of money……it simply becomes a tool to measure the health of your company.

Q: What are your ideals?

A: Being a good dad to my kids and a contributing member of my community.

Q: How do you generate new ideas?

A: I like to listen and read. There are a lot of really smart people with great and fun ideas. All I have to do is shut up and listen. Its not so hard.

Q: How do you define success?

A: If Im honest, Ill have to say I don’t have an answer to that. It seems to be a constantly moving target with so many variables. My family life, my business life and my heart and soul all have their own objectives. If I have to give an answer, I would say feeling content is Valhala for me.

Q: How do you build a successful customer base?

A: One client at a time. Its perfectly natural for companies to want fast growth but that forest of business is built one customer at a time.

Q: What is your favorite aspect of being an entrepreneur?

A: Having the freedom to act on my ideas.

Q: What has been your most satisfying moment in business?

A: When I was in high school I lived in a small mid western town with a main street and old 2 story buildings on each side. I couldn’t afford a place of my own while I was going to college so I approached the building owners and pitched an offer. If they would pay for materials, I would restore/remodel the upstairs space into an apartment in exchange for free rent. The 3rd building owner bit and I got two years free rent out of our deal. The space was 20×60 with AMAZING acoustics! Of course the only furniture I had was a couch I got for free and my speakers that were as big as a Volkswagon bug! At 18 I felt like I owned the world!

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

A: The ability to handle the fear of failure. My favorite poem is by Theodore Roosevelt and is called The Man in the Arena. The poem is about the doers and those that simply watch and point out the failures. The poem should be memorized by every entrepreneur.

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

A: I like things simple. We exist within our work lives to serve our customers. We are nothing without them. We all spend more time at work than with the people we love. Work needs to be a happy, respectful, productive place for and by employees and management.

Q: In one word, characterize your life as an entrepreneur.

A: Volatile.

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

A: Be more patient.

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

A: Shoulda, Woulda, Coulda

Q: How did you decide on the location for your business?

A: Centrally located to our customer base.

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

A: Theodore Roosevelt

Q: Who has been your greatest inspiration?

A: People who start out at the base of the mountain and end up at the top. Some really incredible people out there.

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

A: Allowing my lack of contentment get the best of me.

Q: How can you prevent mistakes or do damage control?

A: Create and continue to refine systems and employee training.

Q: What makes you happy?

A: My kids hanging out together and laughing.

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

A: I wouldn’t call them sacrifices. I think calling them trade offs are better and we all do that.

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