Interview with In Between the Lines SportFishing Charters

by | Jun 24, 2024 | Fishing charter

Q 1.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.

Ans: In Between the Lines SportFishing is a premiere fishing charter business on Lake Erie – the boat is a 35’ Viking, the most comfortable and best outfitted fishing boat on the Great Lakes. Fish in comfort with the Captain, who has been chasing trophy fish across North America for over 40 years. It is a high end, customer focused fishing adventure.

Q 2. Kindly give us a brief description about yourself (it should include your brief educational or entrepreneurial background and list some of your major achievements).

Ans: I am a retired former Chief Financial Officer who has enjoyed fishing since childhood. I have worked for small entrepreneurial companies up to Ans: Fortune 500 companies. I now own and operate three businesses, IBTL Distribution Company, In Between the Lines SportFishing and Diving, and IBTL Fractional CFO Services.

Q 3. 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?

Ans: My wife suggested that I make fishing a mostly full time endeaver as she understands how much I enjoy it, and thought I would enjoy sharing my passion with other’s. So I hunted a Viking Cruiser across Lake Erie until on came up for sale, and launched the charter fishing business. There is no other fishing boat like it, as it was designed for ocean off shore fishing.

Q 4. What three pieces of advice would you give to budding entrepreneurs?

Ans: Focus on outstanding customer service, help your clients solve their problems and/or add to their enjoyment and experiences, and provide value so that it is always a win/win

Q 5. What would you say are the top three skills needed to be a successful entrepreneur?

Ans: You have to be a very good listener, ask open ended questions, and treat people fairly and honestly.

Q 6. How many hours do you work a day on average?

Ans: In season 12-14 hours/day, five days a week. It’s not only the actual charter, but the preparation for it, all of the book-keeping, and marketing and sales as well as maintenance and housekeeping.

Q 7. To what do you most attribute your success?

Ans: I’ve had the privilege of working with people much smarter than me, and it has been good to learn from them. Surround yourself with people like that. Avoid the folks that are negative like the plague.

Q 8. How do you go about marketing your business? What has been your most successful form of marketing?

Ans: My best channel has been trade shows – I try to do three or four a year – it’s really good to talk to people face to face. I think that’s the first step in building relationships that last over time. I have many repeat customer’s that come back year after year.

Q 9. Where did your organizations funding/capital come from and how did you go about getting it? How did you obtain investors for your venture?

Ans: I was fortunate enough to be able to fund this mostly out of my savings – I was able to get a small Line of Credit based on my relationship with a few bankers who knew me.

Q 10. What is the best way to achieve long-term success?

Ans: Deliver a very good product at a fair price, and treat people well. Bend over backwards to give them a good experience.

Q 11. Where you see yourself and your business in 5 – 10 years?

Ans: I’m hopeful I can expand the fleet and add a few more boats and captains. I think there is a lot of potential in the higher end charters catering to comfort and a good experience. There is also a lot of potential with dive trips.

Q 12. Excluding yours, what company or business do you admire the most?

Ans: I always admired Warren Buffet and Berkshire Hathaway – always in it for the long term. Add value, treat people well, quality companies. Live modestly. Help others.

Q 13. How important have good employees been to your success?

Ans: I have four talented first mates – all of them are great with customer’s and do their best to make the clients experience enjoyable. Couldn’t have done it without them.

Q 14. How long do you stick with an idea before giving up?

Ans: “Fail fast” has been something that I follow – try new stuff, but with “markers” and if you don’t hit them, stop it and try something else. Learn from it. But if it fails, stop doing it and move on.

Q 15. What motivates you?

Ans: I am naturally curious and interested in the next horizon – try something new – a lifetime learner with a thirst for knowledge. It’s a big world out there – let’s experience as much of it as we can. Life is short.

Q 16. What are your ideals?

Ans: Always take the high road – Do the right thing – Be honest and straight with people – Treat other’s as you’d like to be treated – Smile and laugh a lot – Be trustworthy – trust is earned and can be destroyed in a heartbeat. Always earn trust.

Q 17. How do you generate new ideas?

Ans: Spit ball sessions with groups of creative people with open minds – empty whiteboards, that can be painted with ideas – no group think – draw people out – make lists – read periodicals that are trustworthy – watch what other’ are doing and gain intelligence – dream!

Q 18. How do you define success?

Ans: It’s having the means to do the things in life that you want to do, with people that you want to do it with, and helping other’s achieve their goals and dreams.

Q 19. How do you build a successful customer base?

Ans: Extremely good customer service so that that customer always wants to come back to you. Make their experience noteworthy. Help them solve their problems and/or give them great enjoyment.

Q 20. What is your favorite aspect of being an entrepreneur?

Ans: Having the ability to make my own decisions and live with them, good or bad. Watching the top and bottom lines grow, and having happy/satisfied customer’s that I’ve built long relationships with, that keep coming back.

Q 21. What has been your most satisfying moment in business?

Ans: Launching my first website, getting that first customer review, cashing that first check, watching that 14 year kid catch the biggest fish he ever caught in his life, turning him and his brother into a fish catching and netting crew, watching them smile and pose for that perfect picture at the end of the trip.

Q 22. What do you feel is the major difference between entrepreneurs and those who work for someone else?

Ans: The biggest difference is the ownership and success is all on you as a business owner , versus just collecting a paycheck and watching your efforts go to growing someone else’s wealth.

Q 23. What kind of culture exists in your organization? How did you establish this tone and why did you institute this particular type of culture?

Ans: Culture is very important as employees need to feel that they are a part of something good, and they are actively contributing to the customer experience. I listen to what they think might work better, and they share in the success of each trip.

Q 24. In one word, characterize your life as an entrepreneur.

Ans: Fun

Q 25. If you had the chance to start your career over again, what would you do differently?

Ans: I would have started my own business ten years earlier.

Q 26. How has being an entrepreneur affected your family life?

Ans: My family say’s they haven’t seen me this excited to be doing something I love , ever.

Q 27. What is your greatest fear, and how do you manage fear?

Ans: Bankruptcy would be devastating – have to build a successful enterprise.

Q 28. If you could talk to one person from history, who would it be and why?

Ans: Abraham Lincoln – how on earth did a poor lawyer from Illinois do so much for his country and carry on amongst all of the trials and tribulations that he endured. What kept him going?

Q 29. Who has been your greatest inspiration?

Ans: My grandfather – A grizzled World War II Master Sergeant – taught me how to live and treat people.

Q 30. What book has inspired you the most? (OR what is your favorite book?)

Ans: Animal Farm –

Q 31. What are some of the biggest mistakes you’ve made?

Blindly trusting someone – never do that again.

Q 32. How can you prevent mistakes or do damage control?

Ans: We are all human and will make mistakes. Need to own it and accept accountability, then work to fix it. Admitting it to yourself and other’s is the hardest first step.

Q 33. What are your hobbies? What do you do in your non-work time?

Ans: I like to read especially current events – obviously fishing and hunting – former sand volleyball and recreation basketball player.

Q 34. What makes you happy?

Ans: When my family is happy and engaged with each other. Having fun with them, and being in the middle of it all.

Q 35. What sacrifices have you had to make to be a successful entrepreneur?

Ans: My time has been focused on building this business, and not able to participate in some family events.

Q 36.If you were conducting this interview, what question would you ask?

Ans: What is your biggest demotivator?

Company Detail:

Company : In Between the Lines SportFishing
Address : 220 East Erie Ave.
City : Lorain
State : OH
Zip : 44052
Country : United States
Phone : 330-232-2795
Email :

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