You know, once in a while you talk to somebody who really thinks differently. Chuck Redfearn and the history him and his father set for Redlee/SCS Company should be a lesson for all of us. Chuck, an entrepreneur, has built a successful company in Dallas, Texas. He’s also built his family and his business, together. What was very interesting when I got to know Redlee and their company and their history, is how much family and the business were interwoven and very intentionally. This company was built to be an intergenerational company. Chuck has a clear vision that this company will continue through his children to his grandchildren and things are being built that way. But it’s not just about building a sleepy business and passing it onto the children. Redlee is all about growth, the future, improvement, and enhancement. All the things we would expect in a company that somebody was positioning for a sale, but with a very family serviced and family oriented environment.
It’s an amazing combination. No pressure to sell to the outside, but a desire to stabilize and grow the business so that it will truly stand the test of time. Plans are in place to transition the ownership from generation number two, with Chuck, to generation number three where Christi Redfearn will run the company. There’s time for play too. Chuck recounted the days when he used to work around the clock and worked very hard to keep the business going. Now, moving into today he has more time for his family where he gets a little bit of time in the morning before he starts work, and through the evenings where he has a protected period of time after he leaves the office until his employees are able to reach him again. He’s truly developed a work life and a family business/non-business balance.
Now it’s not without challenges. There are certainly risks and difficulties in trying to have your family integrating your business. For this business, they found a unique way of keeping all of the pieces together. There are many lessons for all of us in the interview, which you can listen to on the McBride for Business live podcast, (being one of the 50 state tour interviews). Chuck taught us several things.
#1 You have to have a vision for the future. Redlee knew from the beginning what they wanted. They wanted to be a family company and they wanted to grow. While their vision has surely been revised over their 35-year history, it is held to as part of their decision making and process.
#2 You have to have a unique selling proposition. Redlee is in the janitorial services business. Many people would view it to be a very sleepy and boring business, but Chuck has made the company different in that they focused on service. They knew that service would be key and they built systems, processes, customer service, and follow-up in ways that other companies in the industry haven’t. This service gives them their unique selling advantage and allows them to be recognized by others as being a leader and gives the customers a reason to come to them. There’s clearly a choice to be made when you’re picking a janitorial service. Rather than competing on the lowest price, like so many others are, they compete on the quality and the headache-free service they provide their customers. The customers that want it, understand the value and they work with them.
#3 You have to think differently. Redlee’s thinking about family, holding the business together, and growing over generations. This is a rare combination. We do find many businesses that want to stay within the family, and we do find businesses that want to grow. We find very few businesses that are working so hard to be intentional about growth, but also be intentional about the family’s development and maintenance of the business. Redlee knows full well that many family businesses fail in the third generation, and they don’t want that to happen to them, so they’re very intentional about their decision making, how they’re allocating their time, and what they’re doing with the business. All in all what we see here is a very, very successful business involving multiple family members, including three generations at this point. The original founder is on the board of directors, son Chuck is running the business, and daughter Christi is very integrated into the business and working to assume the CEO role.
There are many lessons in this podcast about what’s right in American business. I think you’ll enjoy listening to my interview with Chuck. It was certainly a very enjoyable time to sit down with him and relax and listen to the evolution of his company and their current challenges and their positioning for the future. If you’re looking for janitorial services, I highly recommend you reach out to them and see if there might be a fit. They do have a real concern for quality and for making the customer happy.
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This posting is intended to be a tool to familiarize readers with some of the issues discussed herein. This is not meant to be a comprehensive discussion and additional details should be discussed with your attorneys, accountants, consultants, bankers and other business planners who can provide advice for your circumstances. Each case is unique. Past results do not guarantee future outcomes. This article should not be treated as legal advice to any person or entity. Freeimages.com/photographer elemntz11.
About the Author
R. Shawn McBride is the Chief Innovation Officer at McBride For Business, LLC. His signature keynote, The 3 Laws of Empowerment, gives audiences an entertaining look at how they can prepare, plan and protect themselves. You can email R. Shawn McBride or (214) 418-0258.