Shortly after Donald Trump declared his candidacy, I referred to him as “possible future president” in my September 2015 Editor’s Note. While I could point to that comment as proof of my Nostradamus-like ability to view the future, it wouldn’t be 100% candid. In fact, when I wrote that, Trump had just entered a crowded Republican field, and few people expected him to outlast the lineup of well-seasoned political pros. Even in the final days leading up to the 2016 election, Trump was still expected to lose…and to lose big. As our country prepares to swear President-elect Trump into office, a lot of otherwise smart people who proclaimed Hillary Clinton the inevitable winner are taking a cold, hard look at what they thought they knew.
The simple fact is that none of us know what’s going to happen. The good news: we don’t have to. Instead, I believe that the key is to make sure we remain open to fresh ideas and opportunities. Whether our markets are growing, shrinking, or flat, there will always be things we can do differently or better that will move our companies forward.
This month, we’re proud to feature three companies that are growing their business by leveraging fresh ideas, and finding newer, better ways to serve their markets. Our 2017 Entrepreneurs of the Year are:
Patrick Building Supply, Stuart, Va. Scott Moore was a young contractor when the local LBM dealer was about to close down. His solution? He bought the store, and hasn’t looked back. (Category: Sales of less than $10 million)
Somerville Lumber Company, Bridgewater, N.J. Somerville has expanded from the inside out, growing its decking selection into an entire Deck Center display building that is 3,000 sq. ft., and set to double this year. (Category: Sales of $10-$50 million)
Meek’s The Builder’s Choice, Springfield, Mo. Meek’s is a fourth-generation family company driven by a customer focus through cutting-edge merchandising and an innovative customer loyalty program. (Category: Sales of more than $50 million)
The reason we honor three companies can be found in the parentheses above. Far too often, only large companies get recognized in national publications. After 25 years in this industry, I continue to be impressed by the creativity and entrepreneurial spirit—regardless of a company’s size. That’s why we honor companies with sales of less than $10 million, as well as those with sales of $50 million-plus. I urge you to read about these companies, and encourage you to use their stories as a jumping off point to find new ways to drive your business forward in 2017.
I’m no Nostradamus. I don’t know what the future holds. What I do know is that companies that are driven to find fresh ways to make their customers more successful have a clear advantage over the competition.