SPOTLIGHT – We are always awed by the great folks we work with. We want to introduce to you some of them here.
Today’s Spotlight – Tom Andrews of Turning Star
Melinda loves working with Tom! Tom is a big thinker and loves to geek out analyzing his business, making our collaboration fun and productive! We’ve made significant changes over the years and done so with that rare combination of planning and entrepreneurial leaps of faith. So, a bit of Tom …
Tom is the president and has over 25 years of experience working in the fire-retardant industry. He is certified by the New York City Fire Department and the California State Fire Marshall. In addition, he is a member of the National Fire Protection Association and the International Code Council.
Turning Star, Inc. is a privately owned flame retardant product manufacturer and fire resistance service company. The company manufactures flame-retardant chemicals for industrial applications, fabrics, and decorations. Their flame resistance services include treatment, testing, certification, consultation, and training.
Their flame retardants have gained nationwide recognition for their high quality, ease of application, and non-toxicity. As a result, Turning Star products and services are endorsed by fire safety and fire enforcement officials across America.
Which three words would you use to describe yourself?
Tom: Optimistic. Insightful. Generous
What was the worst job you have ever had?
Tom: The job I disliked the most at the time was in college. I worked as a midnight- 8:00 a.m. stocker at a grocery store. The schedule threw me off, but the job was not terrible.
What part of your daily routine do you enjoy most? Why?
Tom: Waking up and having coffee. It’s a very peaceful and calm time.
What is the last thing you read?
Tom: I’m reading Noam Chomsky’s – Who Rules the World. He is a brilliant writer with a point of view that resonates with me. The central premise is to describe how the US is a big imperial power and how capitalism as an imperial power necessitates wielding influence over resources (like oil). This identity as imperial power has simultaneously eroded our democratic constraints on power, increasingly leaving corporations to the rich to act as they please.
Why did you want to be an entrepreneur?
Tom: I didn’t want to be an entrepreneur per se. I wanted to work for myself. I had no big plans to create a big company and go public. Instead, I wanted to take control of my life and make enough money.
Why did you start working with Zumifi?
Tom: Like many people who start their business, I’m good at what I do. I started working for myself, and the business grew up around me. At a certain point, I realized I wanted to do more with the company, especially managing the financial side to benefit the operational side. Luckily, I knew I could do better with input from someone else. However, I didn’t want to commit to hiring a CFO, and Zumifi’s weekly consulting model fits very well with me.
Are you running your business differently now than you did before? If so, what are the changes?
Tom: On the one hand, yes, things are different. On the other hand, I’m still the same person, and the company reflects my approach to doing business. Well, maybe things have tightened up a bit. The main difference is that I used to work for people, get paid, pay my employees, bills, etc. We’d make a profit; some months, we didn’t. At the end of the year, it was OK, but nothing was planned. We do a detailed financial budget for all our expenses and income and compare the budgeted income against past years’ actuals.
And that’s a change?
Tom: Our budgeting is more accurate yearly after many years of doing this. If anything, we’re sometimes surprised by an increase in sales, and then we analyze how that happened and if it’s repeatable or not. Our customers aren’t on contracts with repeating sales each month. And we look at how to increase sales and actively plan for that. After a few years of working with them, I wish I had started earlier.