Q: Company name
Q: Your name
A: Bill Rowell
Q: The first section contains mandatory questions. 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.
A: RVupgrades.com was formed in 2002 out of a love for RV’s and the products used with them. There was a limited online presence at the time and we felt RV’ers where being gouged with exceedingly high prices. Originally, we sought out very unique products that took very few retailers were interested in handling. Over time we have increased our product offering to include over 10,000 parts and accessories used in all areas of motorhomes and campers. We are located in Eastlake, Ohio just 30 minutes east of Cleveland.
Q: Kindly give us a brief description about yourself (it should include your brief educational or entrepreneurial background and list some of your major achievements).
A: Growing up on the 12th hole of a golf course allowed me to gain experience very early on how to care for the grounds. By 16 I was an assistant greens keeper with responsibilities ranging from managing workers to overseeing large projects such as the installation of an irrigation system. This allowed me to hone my skills as a manager at a very early age which is one of the toughest aspects of running a business. In my early twenties I partnered up with a friend in a business that sold, installed and maintained marble, granite and tile in residential homes and commercial businesses. We worked for top clients in the Northeast Ohio area growing in size to over 30 employees and becoming the top company for high end installations. In my late twenties I got the itch to set off on my own and took over one of the family businesses that needed help to stay afloat. I quickly turned things around more than 20 years ago and the company just celebrated it’s 30th year in business.
Q: What inspired you to start a new business venture or make significant changes in an existing business? How did the idea for your business come about?
A: I own an industrial automation wholesale distribution company and when the economy had slowed in that industry we decided to diversify. Since I had a love of RV’ing we thought RV Accessories might be a good area to get into. Utilizing our vast warehouse space and already integrated systems in was quit easy to get up and running.
Q: What three pieces of advice would you give to budding entrepreneurs?
A: Be willing to give up everything to make the business successful. That doesn’t mean you will have to do that, but you must be willing to if that is what it will take to keep from going under. The first 10 years while I was turning the family business around I took 3 weekday days off during that period. And those where for the birth of my two children. But it paid off and the last 10 years have allowed my family and I to travel around the country seeing the most amazing places and building great memories.
Q: What would you say are the top three skills needed to be a successful entrepreneur?
A: Accounting, leadership and organizational skills
Q: How many hours do you work a day on average?
A: 12 – 14 hours
Q: To what do you most attribute your success?
A: Perseverance. No matter what confronts you in the business world, you never give up until you have found the solution.
Q: How do you go about marketing your business? What has been your most successful form of marketing?
A: As the years have gone on the way a business is marketing has changed dramatically. Today social has been the biggest surprise with Facebook and Pinterest being the most successful means of getting the word out.
Q: Where did your organizations funding/capital come from and how did you go about getting it? How did you obtain investors for your venture?
A: We have mainly stuck to bank financing which is becoming more and more difficult for small businesses. Start out small and grow from within if that is what it takes. Not every business has to be a rocket ride to the moon with huge infusions of outside cash from investors. It is just as gratifying to slowly build a business into a well oiled machine.
Q: What is the best way to achieve long-term success?
A: Never take your eye off the ball. Stay involved even if you have reach some pinnacle of success. Your vision is what got you to that pint and is what is going to keep it going.
Q: Where you see yourself and your business in 5 – 10 years?
A: The RV industry is beginning to consolidate to grow and I wouldn’t be surprised if we didn’t take advantage of that trend some time down the road.
Q: Excluding yours, what company or business do you admire the most?
A: I always enjoyed those companies that can have fun while getting things done. Zappos and the Webstaurant Store are just a few that I have followed over the years.
Q: The next section contains recommended questions. How important have good employees been to your success?
A: If you don’t have good employees it will be very hard to achieve any business success. It is that critical.
Q: How long do you stick with an idea before giving up?
A: Usually to long, but history has shown that sometimes just before your ready to give up that idea begins to work and it makes all the difference in future success.
Q: What motivates you?
A: Customer who are happy.
Q: What are your ideals?
A: My main ideal is fairness. Fairness for my employees and fairness for our customers.
Q: How do you generate new ideas?
A: We have a very open environment and allow all employees to throw out ideas that will help the company to improve.
Q: How do you define success?
A: Being happy. It use to be all about the money, but you learn, having a happy environment that is healthy and flourishing is what it’s all about. And if making more money is involved than that’s a bonus.
Q: How do you build a successful customer base?
A: By delivery amazing customer service. That generates referrals and more business
Q: What is your favorite aspect of being an entrepreneur?
A: Being my own boss.
Q: What do you feel is the major difference between entrepreneurs and those who work for someone else?
A: The ability to stick your neck out on the line and make things happen.
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: We are very family oriented, with many long term employees. If you have to be at work for so many hours of each day, you have to create an environment that employees will enjoy working in.
Q: In one word, characterize your life as an entrepreneur.
Q: The next section contains optional questions. If you had the chance to start your career over again, what would you do differently?
A: Probably not push so hard for fast growth.
Q: How has being an entrepreneur affected your family life?
A: Your time with your family is definitely challenged. But you have to create time in different ways otherwise what is all this work for?
Q: What is your greatest fear, and how do you manage fear?
A: Money. Unless a VC fund has dumped a ton of cash on your plate, money will always be in short supply. With knowledge comes security and over time I have learned what it takes to get through those tough times when money becomes tight.
Q: How did you decide on the location for your business?
A: The business was in this complex when I came on board and with the ability to expand and a good work force in the area it has been a good choice to stay in this area.
Q: Do you believe there is some sort of pattern or formula to becoming a successful entrepreneur?
A: Absolutely, with the right balance of financial knowledge, leadership skills and the ability to organize individuals success is all but forgone conclusion.
Q: Who has been your greatest inspiration?
A: My Father. The knowledge he has given me has been invaluable in the growth of RVupgrades.com
Q: What are some of the biggest mistakes you’ve made?
A: Not terminating employees quickly enough who just don’t have the right abilities or knowledge to get a job done correctly and accurately.
Q: What are your hobbies? What do you do in your non-work time?
A: RV’ing! We travel a lot and I enjoy seeing the amazing sites this country has to offer.
Q: What makes you happy?
A: Traveling. I have always been a wanderer and love seeing whats around the next bend.
Why not benefit from our premium products and exemplary customer service? Visit website https://www.rvupgradestore.com/ or contact us @ 866.332.7881.