Shipping Wars pro transporters Marc Springer (right) and Chris Hanna (below with girlfriend and shipping partner, Robbie) know first-hand what it takes to start and run a small business and they're always looking for new ways to be better at what they do and take their companies to the next level. We asked them a few questions about what they've learned over the years and what advice they have for budding entrepreneurs.
What is the name of your business?
Marc Springer: Springer Enterprises, DBA Snortn' Boar Transport.
Chris Hanna: FCC Transport.
How long have you owned it?
Marc: Started it in 2009.
Chris: 6 years.
What was the hardest thing about opening your business? How did you overcome it?
Marc: Finding the capital needed to endure start up. I had help from close friends. I could not have done it without them.
Chris: The hardest part was building a customer base, while concentrating on being profitable. To obtain customers you have to cut deals to earn their business, however you still must be profitable.
Did you have a mentor when you started your business? How did he/she help you?
Marc: I have close friends who were business owners. They all helped me in many ways – advice, capital, encouragement, equipment use, etc. They were awesome and provided me a great deal of support.
Chris: My father.
What was the biggest piece of advice your mentor gave you? Did you follow it? What happened?
Marc: Take your time and do it right the first time. And yes I did follow it. It was my belief as well!
Chris: Go above and beyond with exceptional customer service and every customer will become word of mouth advertisement and/or a repeat customer.
What has been the worst mistake you've made in running your business? What did you learn from it?
Marc: Not purchasing a semi when I first wanted to. I learned to trust my own judgment first.
Chris: The biggest mistake would be relying on any one employee above a certain extent. Always stay flexible and make sure you can step in and handle what an employee leaves you hanging with!
What was the best decision you ever made in your business? What did you learn from the outcome?
Marc: The best decision was to work for myself and follow my lead! I learned that I am able to do very well with the ability to act on my instincts. When I call the shots, things happen, and they happen very well most of the time.
Chris: When new business leads seem promising, take your chances and make investments to grow your company.
Is there someone in your industry – or just in business in general – who inspires you?
Marc: : I am inspired by friend Bill Munson, owner of W.E. Munson Company. He started his business with a simple idea. He then made it a reality and is now very successful. He is a leader in his field.
Chris: In my line of specialty transport, I continue to inspire myself as I see the progress I've made in such a short period of time
What is the single biggest thing you can attribute to your success?
Marc: My willingness to be successful and not give up.
Chris: Hard work and dedication with intelligent decisions will lead to success.
What tips and advice can you offer to people looking to start their own business?
Marc: Trust your judgment; be sure you have the willingness to work hard, the knowledge of your business necessities, and the capital to fund it. Good luck and don't give up just because it gets tough at times!
Chris: Make sure you have substantial financial backing, don't put all your eggs in one basket, and be willing to alter your business plan as your see trends in the industry!