Brian Murphree, is the owner of The Sauna Place. He always had an entrepreneurial spirit about himself. When searching for sauna products via internet years ebrago he saw a need for a company like Sauna Palace. And thus began the journey of success. The editorial team conducted this interview with Brian Murphy:-
So Brian tell us a little about The Sauna Palace ?
In 2002, The Sauna Place was created as a source for saunas and steam showers for commercial customers and homeowners alike. Our mission is to offer resort-quality products at affordable prices. We also offer electric and hydronic towel warmers, tank less water heaters and other accessories and supplies. We enjoy a wide variety of customers, from homeowners to resorts, gyms and hotels. Our primary business location is in Cookeville, Tennessee. We also have warehouses on both the east and west coast where many of our products ship from.
Who are your customers ?
While we boast some of the biggest companies in the country as our customers, we also wanted to make saunas and steam showers available to the everyday homeowner, offering them luxury products at affordable prices, and with exceptional customer service.
What is your approach ?
Our approach to the industry is very unique, and our aim is to bring the southern values I grew up with to the way we treat our customers. I grew up in Middle Tennessee and graduated from Cookeville High School. After high school I became a business major at Tennessee Tech University, which is also located in Cookeville. Cookeville is a great place to live and raise your family. I was proud to be able to locate our business here.
How important have good employees been to your success?
As anybody who has had any success in business will tell you, good employees are the key to a good business. We are selective about who we choose to come work for our company and I think it shows.
What three pieces of advice would you give to college students who want to become entrepreneurs?
1. Find your passion.
2. Once you have found that passion find a way to get paid with it.
3. Finally never give up. Learn from your failures and never give up until you succeed. Remember, if you love what you do you’ll never have to work a day in your life.
If you had the chance to start your career over again, what would you do differently?
No I am very satisfied the path I have taken.
What would you say are the top three skills needed to be a successful entrepreneur?
It’s hard to limit it to three but I would say Management skills are key. Also be skilled in your chosen field. Finally have good hiring skills to get your company help in the areas it needs it.
How long do you stick with an idea before giving up?
Until I prove its lack of feasibility. It’s important to know that it takes about 20 bad ideas to get a good one. Throw everything at the wall until something sticks.
How many hours do you work a day on average?
Approximately 12 – 14 but who’s counting.
How has being an entrepreneur affected your family life?
Occasionally it interferes, but I try hard to balance my family time with my work time. My family is the most important thing to me.
What motivates you?
How do you generate new ideas?
I try to find a quiet time each day when I can brainstorm new ideas.
What is your greatest fear, and how do you manage fear?
I try not to waste much time there. It interferes with too many good ideas.
How do you define success?
For me it’s the simple pleasure of having built something. I have always been a hands-on person whether in business or working around my house. I also define success as having the time to spend with my family.
What is the best way to achieve long-term success?
Take one day at a time and be patient. It’s important to know it often takes a lifetime to reach your goal. So many people today try to move too fast. Consistency is more important than speed.
Where did your organization’s funding/capital come from and how did you go about getting it?
In the early days we borrowed capital from whoever would lend it to us. To-date we have never had to seek outside investors and are currently self-funded.
How do you build a successful customer base?
By making sure your customers always leaves happy. Referrals are a huge part of our new business.
How did you decide on the location for your business?
In a word – Family. Because of the nature of our business, we are fortunate that a small town works well for us and it’s where my wife Tracy and I chose to raise a family.
Do you believe there is some sort of pattern or formula to becoming a successful entrepreneur?
Desire and patience equal success. To me it’s that simple.
If you could talk to one person from history, who would it be and why?
Benjamin Franklin to me did about as many successful things as any one person could do. I can’t imagine a more brilliant person to get to speak with.
Who has been your greatest inspiration?
My parents. I was lucky to grow up in a household where individuality was fostered.
What book has inspired you the most? (OR What is your favorite book?)
What is your favorite aspect of being an entrepreneur?
Though you tend to work more hours, there is a freedom you feel in working for yourself.
To what do you most attribute your success?
I attribute my success to not being afraid take a risk. That’s the one thing all successful entrepreneurs have in common. You take common risk and you get common results. Extraordinary results take extraordinary risks. In other words you can’t steal second base without leaving first base.
What has been your most satisfying moment in business?
Since I am still climbing, I am reserving that moment for the day when I reach my personal sales goal for my company.
What do you feel is the major difference between entrepreneurs and those who work for someone else?
There is at least a small amount of insanity in most entrepreneurs I know. It gives them the stomach to take the risks they do. Owning your own business is not for everyone.
How do you go about marketing your business? What has been your most successful form of marketing?
There is a book called “Guerilla Marketing” out there that pretty much sums it up. You do everything in your power to market yourself and hope your efforts pay off.
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 relaxed work environment within our office. Much of our work is via computer and telephone so we find ourselves more productive when relaxed and comfortable. I have worked in corporate environments in the past and don’t feel a lot of the formality of the 80’s and 90’s is necessary.
What are some of the biggest mistakes you’ve made?
I don’t feel we’ve made mistakes as much as we’ve had “learning opportunities”. Early on we had a few companies whose products did not live up to our expectations or in some cases our customers. These days we are very selective about the quality and reliability of the products we carry. It’s just one of the way’s we’ve evolved and improved as a company.
How can you prevent mistakes or do damage control?
We always double-check our customer’s orders for accuracy and availability. Of course you can’t get them all right but that’s what we strive for.
What are your hobbies? What do you do in your non-work time?
I enjoy working with my hands whether it’s carpentry or working in the yard. I also enjoy canoeing, kayaking and scuba diving when I have the opportunity.
What makes you happy?
Time with my family.
Excluding yours, what company or business do you admire the most?
FedEx is certainly one that stands out for their accuracy and consistency. The company founder completely reinvented one of the oldest forms of business with his overnight service.
Where you see yourself and your business in 10 years? 20 years?
Since I enjoy working I hope to be lucky enough to continue growing my business for another 20 or 30 years.
What is your favorite quote?
“I slept and dreamt that life was joy. I woke and saw that life was duty. I acted, and behold, duty was joy”Rabindranath Tagore