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Top execs at Tampa Bay’s Inc. 5000 companies on their best business decisions

Margie Manning

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Leigh Harting, co-owner, 3 Daughters Brewing, gets an award from Topher Morrison, managing director, Key Person of Influence

Hundreds crowded into 3 Daughters Brewing in St. Petersburg Tuesday night to celebrate the craft brewer and two other Tampa Bay-based companies that made the Inc. 5000 list for the first time this year.

“Getting on the Inc. 5000 list is not easy. It means these companies have grown at a pace that is incomparable to most small businesses,” said Topher Morrison, managing director of leadership development firm Key Person of Influence, which hosted the party to honor its clients, Source 1 Solutions and Sourcetoad.

Key Person of Influence also has a close relationship with 3 Daughters, which was one of 27 companies that also won the “coolest products” award among Inc. 5000 class of 2018, said Morrison, who is a candidate for mayor of Tampa.

The St. Pete Catalyst asked each of the company’s leaders about their best business decision that led to growth, as well as the challenges that growth has brought.


Sourcetoad

Industry: software

Headquarters: Tampa

Leadership: Greg Ross-Munro, founder and CEO

2017 revenue: $2.1 million

3-year growth: 309%

Founded: 2008

Inc. 5000 2018 rank: 1,523

Greg Ross-Munro, Sourcetoad

Sourcetoad provides technology consulting and software development, working with Fortune 500 companies, with a focus on the cruise industry.

St. Pete Catalyst: What was your best business decision that led to growth?

Ross-Munro: Deciding to specialize, focusing all our marketing efforts into one key industry. As a small company, you’ve only got X amount of dollars to spend on marketing efforts or business development efforts. Let’s say you’ve got to buy arrows you are going to shoot at a target. You draw the bullseye, and we drew the bullseye on the cruise industry, and we fired as many arrows as we could at it. We didn’t hit the bullseye a lot, but we hit all sorts of things around it and that rapidly grew the business.

St. Pete Catalyst: What challenges come with growth?

Ross-Munro: We’re hiring [the company has 22 employees in Tampa and 11 in Australia] and it’s difficult to have one person managing a large team. We probably could have planned for that better.


3 Daughters Brewing

Industry: manufacturing

Headquarters: St. Petersburg

Leadership: Mike and Leigh Harting, co-owners

2017 revenue: $4.5 million

3-year growth: 232%

Founded: 2013

Inc. 5000 2018 rank: 1,934

3 Daughters is a craft brewery with a tasting room in St. Petersburg that’s evolving into a beverage company, with a recent expansion into ciders and seltzers.

Leigh Harting, 3 Daughters Brewing

St. Pete Catalyst: What was your best business decision that led to growth?

Leigh Harting: Our best business decision was taking our product and putting it in cans. Going from the brewery here, all on draft, and then sending our product out to places like Publix and Target — it just opened up a whole new world. The month we launched our canning line, we doubled in sales immediately.

St. Pete Catalyst: What challenges come with growth?

Harting: We have to order cans in a quantity of 204,000 at a time. Our first order of cans came in, and we got ready to put it on the canning line, and it doesn’t come with lids. We all looked around and said, where are the lids? Everything is a challenge. You just have to embrace it. This is a brand new industry. The great news is there is no road map. The hard news is there is no road map. So we make it up as we go along.


Source 1 Solutions

Industry: IT management

Headquarters: Clearwater

Leadership: Robert Hessel, president and CEO

2017 revenue: $4.4 million

3-year growth: 91%

Founded: 2011

Inc. 5000 2018 rank: 3,916

Rob Hessel, Source 1 Solutions

Source 1 is an outsourced IT department for mid-to-large size global companies.

St. Pete Catalyst: What was your best business decision that led to growth?

Hessel: To continue to hire really smart people. Topher Morrison taught me the difference between vital and functional. The more I could fire myself from functional duties inside the company that I can pay people to do, and focus on the things that I’m uniquely qualified to do, the more that will free up time to focus on growth. I hired my first VP two years ago. We couldn’t afford him, but I knew we had to do it. Within a couple of months he was paying for himself and then we did it again and again. Now we’re in a position where we go get the right person. We don’t just try to fill a job. And we’re pretty well known, so people are coming to us for jobs. So firing myself and hiring a great management team is absolutely what’s led to growth.

St. Pete Catalyst: What challenges come with growth?

Hessel: Tariffs, compliance and taxation are things I worry about now. And it’s also letting go. As the founder of the company I still want to get my hands in stuff, so continuing to remember that I have one job to do — not these other ones —  and leave these people to do it, and let them do it, because they are more qualified than I am.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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1 Comment

1 Comment

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    Topher Morrison

    November 14, 2018 at 4:29 pm

    Thanks for covering this Margie! The best way to get Fortune 500 companies in Tampa is to grow them from small businesses. This is a great first step for these companies to making that other coveted list.

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