James Atlas and Terry Smith are the Founders and Partners of Platinum-Poolcare Aquatech, Ltd.
Reason I started my own business …
JA: I've always known from a very young age that I would not be able to work for someone else. Perhaps it was watching my father as a business owner growing up, or perhaps it is something in my DNA; but I have always looked for opportunities to build something.
TS: The opportunity to create the team and structure necessary to create raving fans of our clients, an atmosphere our employees are proud to be a part of, and the financial security that comes with ownership. I love the idea of being able to pass this profitable entity along to my children and continuing the legacy.
My inspiration …
JA: In terms of inspiration, I always look to my peers and competition as well as things that I see from other industries to see if there is a way or process to make what we do better or more efficient.
TS: The excitement for me is monitoring the development of our people within the organization. I really am about the people and team and watching them grow.
What defines leadership in business….
JA: Leadership for me is the ability to remain calm and absorb all available information in order to make the best decisions possible for the health of the organization.
TS: Knowing when to step in or just observe. Encourage your key people to think issues through for themselves and do not micro-manage.
My advice to other business owners…
JA: Know your strengths, and sharpen them as much as you can in your “spare” time. Bring in people whose strengths match up with your weaknesses. And, never be afraid to take risks, but always be mindful of the risk/reward profile of your decisions.
TS: Surround yourself with people you can trust, who are loyal and honest and on the same page as your company.
How OPEN helps my business…
JA: Our OPEN Card helps us manage our cash flow by allowing us to make important purchases like automatic pool covers, winter covers, and ceramic tile quickly so we can get them right away. The vendors love it because they get paid right away, and it helps us complete the work quickly and gives us a competitive advantage in the marketplace. And being able to see the categories of our purchases allows us to monitor spending and manage our cash flow.