Find your why — I committed to building it and being the best.
Set the example — I started from the bottom and built my way to the top not with anything handed to me. Recognize the expectations, build a team and execute.
Be the best — Know your competitors and do it better.
As part of my series about the “How To Take Your Company From Good To Great”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Chris Berg. He spent many years in the retail world at GAP before discovering his entrepreneurial inspiration. After noticing a major opportunity in the high-end delivery and moving service industry, Chris created Phoenix-based Fully Loaded Deliveries in 2004. Since its inception, Fully Loaded has skyrocketed thanks to his determination, relationships and talented team.
Chris has created many differentiators to help him stand out, such as creating an app for his clients to organize all design logistics for their next designer install, personally traveling to manufacturers to pick up and inspect the merchandise and then store it until the designers are ready to install it for their high-end, luxury client’s homes, among others. Now, 16 years later and 28 employees strong — Fully Loaded Deliveries is continuing to grow and expand.
Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Before we dive in, our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your ‘backstory’ and how you got started?
I spent many years in the retail industry at GAP and I worked my way up through the company but I realized that it wasn’t my calling. My sister-in-law opened a high-end furniture store in Arizona and we both noticed that there was a major opportunity in high-end delivery services that wasn’t being filled by anyone in the industry. From there, I came up with a business plan for Fully Loaded Deliveries, a high-end delivery, moving, receiving and warehousing company, and I created the company from the ground up. My wife and I actually worked the first job together. I distinctly remember us carrying and maneuvering a 7-foot farm table on our first delivery. From there, I’ve really built the business into what it is today due to our work ethic, customer service and passion for the industry. Now, we work with homeowners, along with respected and prestigious interior designers, architects and builders from all over Arizona, as well as work with clients in California. We focus on designer installations, art and mirror hanging, climate controlled warehousing, full service receiving, as well as offer a custom database to simplify the moving process for our clients.
Can you tell us a story about the hard times that you faced when you first started your journey? Did you ever consider giving up? Where did you get the drive to continue even though things were so hard?
As a husband, father and owner you face many obstacles. I have failed many times, but have never given up. I have learned from my mistakes and failures and with the help of an amazing family and spectacular team you push through and get better. I was given a chance when in the retail world with little experience, but I had the leadership qualities, drive and determination to be great. My general manager at Gap saw this and to do this day pushes me to be great. She has been a major influence on me.
Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lessons or ‘takeaways’ you learned from that?
As I mentioned before, my wife and I did our first deliveries and struggled with a very heavy and large farm table. The clients looked at us like ‘what are they doing?’ From this, I knew I needed to learn more and hire to ensure my clients from then on received the best overall customer experience and service.
What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?
With Fully Loaded Deliveries, we have several differentiating factors that make us stand out from the competition. One of the major factors that sets us apart is the fact that we make sure that all items received are photographed and logged into our custom database. From there, we ensure that all items have a printed label detailing what room the item belongs along with a photo of the item to ensure it can be placed and set in the new home as quickly and efficiently as possible. We really go the extra mile to simplify the entire process for our clients. On one project we were called to assist a local company that had been working with this design firm for years. We worked side by side with this competitor and when the job was completed next day we received a call from the design firm to have Fully Loaded go pick up all their clients inventory at the competitor warehouse and bring it to our facility. That was over six years ago and still one of our top clients to date.
Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them to thrive and not “burn out”?
Realize you can’t do it all. Surround yourself with an amazing team and take care of them.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story?
I have had many positive influences and people that have pushed me to be better. The person that stands out the most is my father. My father had his own company and did very well to support our family and ensure we had an amazing childhood and upbringing. As a Vietnam veteran with two purple hearts, he has been through a lot in his life but he was always there for us. He has taught me a lot of valuable lessons in life. He is my hero, my mentor and is currently diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and is now fighting this battle but together we are going to fight this battle and win.
Ok thank you for all that. Now let’s shift to the main focus of this interview. The title of this series is “How to take your company from good to great”. Let’s start with defining our terms. How would you define a “good” company, what does that look like? How would you define a “great” company, what does that look like?
For me, a “good” company simply provides a product or service. On the other hand, a “great” company goes beyond that by actually solving real problems for their customers. Along with providing an innovative solution, they go above and beyond in delivering on their promises. For Fully Loaded Deliveries, we provide an innovative solution by offering a custom database that simplifies the entire process for our clients. Along with this, our team will go directly to the manufacturers and inspect items on the spot to ensure the quality is up to our clients’ standards before we pack it up to take to our warehouse. Then, on top of providing quality service, we also pride ourselves on being some of the most professional in the industry. We work with respected designers and architects so it’s important for us to look professional and we hold ourselves to a very high standard. You can see it in how we dress, from our moving trucks, as well as just how we hold ourselves when we are working with clients.
Based on your experience and success, what are the five most important things one should know in order to lead a company from Good to Great? Please share a story or an example for each.
1. Find your why — I committed to building it and being the best.
2. Set the example — I started from the bottom and built my way to the top not with anything handed to me. Recognize the expectations, build a team and execute.
3. Be the best — Know your competitors and do it better.
4. Build your team — Surround yourself with an amazing team and treat them like family.
5. Learn and respond — Prepare to fail along the journey and do it better next time.
Extensive research suggests that “purpose driven businesses” are more successful in many areas. Can you help articulate for our readers a few reasons why a business should consider becoming a purpose driven business, or consider having a social impact angle?
It’s important that you utilize your company’s success to give back locally to the people who helped build your business. At Fully Loaded Deliveries, we contribute to charitable events throughout Arizona to show our appreciation. Additionally, we contribute labor at these charitable events. Our amazing teams help set up and distribute items from these events which in turn also helps to build more clientele. Overall, incorporating a purpose-driven mindset into your company helps to ensure its success down the road.
What would you advise to a business leader who initially went through years of successive growth, but has now reached a standstill. From your experience do you have any general advice about how to boost growth and “restart their engines”?
Push to be better. Don’t get too comfortable doing one thing one way. Find more resources and opportunities to make your customers have an even better experience with your company in order to boost growth and help ensure your success.
Generating new business, increasing your profits, or at least maintaining your financial stability can be challenging during good times, even more so during turbulent times. Can you share some of the strategies you use to keep forging ahead and not lose growth traction during a difficult economy?
Be involved with all day to day operations. This can be difficult to do as a business leader but it is pertinent in order to see what is working well and what needs improvement. On top of this, run numbers daily so you are not surprised by your company’s growth/loss and can spot issues before it becomes too late. Lastly, learn from some of the failures.
In your experience, which aspect of running a company tends to be most underestimated? Can you explain or give an example?
Business owners often overlook and underestimate the need to scale and plan before you outgrow. In order to avoid this, be sure you are collaborating, outsourcing, building credibility and automating processes.
As you know, “conversion” means to convert a visit into a sale. In your experience what are the best strategies a business should use to increase conversion rates?
The best strategy we use is focus on what’s in front of you. We really try and ensure the best overall experience for our customers and our customers are our means of advertising. By doing this, we will ultimately convert more potential clients into clients through word-of-mouth and our reputation.
Of course, the main way to increase conversion rates is to create a trusted and beloved brand. Can you share a few ways that a business can earn a reputation as a trusted and beloved brand?
The best way for business leaders to create a trusted and beloved brand is to deliver consistent results and show your value. Our clients appreciate and recognize our consistency when it comes to our results and work ethic. This helps to build trust and therefore creates loyal customers who will continue to utilize your services, as well as recommend your services to their colleagues, peers and friends. In order to deliver consistent results and show your value, you have to start with hiring quality employees and providing exceptional, ongoing training. If you simply hire individuals just to fill a position instead of waiting to find the right professional for the job, this will show in how your team delivers results to your clients. By thoroughly interviewing, screening and training employees, you will build a strong team that will be the foundation of your business.
Great customer service and great customer experience are essential to build a beloved brand and essential to be successful in general. In your experience what are a few of the most important things a business leader should know in order to create a Wow! Customer Experience?
In order to create a customer experience that is memorable and builds brand loyalty, you have to look at what your competition is doing and see how you can offer something different, efficient and impactful. For us at Fully Loaded Deliveries, not only do we deliver quality customer service, our team looks professional and clean even when they are working a job. Our black, collared and branded shirts are paired with clean khaki pants or shorts. Even our black and branded delivery trucks stand out with their fresh, luxurious look. Pairing quality, consistent service with a customer experience that goes above and beyond will propel you forward as an innovative leader within your industry.
What are your thoughts about how a company should be engaged on Social Media? For example, the advisory firm EisnerAmper conducted 6 yearly surveys of United States corporate boards, and directors reported that one of their most pressing concerns was reputational risk as a result of social media. Do you share this concern? We’d love to hear your thoughts about this.
On company social media accounts you definitely need to watch what you post and have a qualified individual in charge of it. We do share some of our stories on social media but maybe not as often as we should.
What are the most common mistakes you have seen CEOs & founders make when they start a business? What can be done to avoid those errors?
When you are starting a business, as well as throughout your entrepreneurial journey, you need to focus on your ideal customer. It can be very easy to get caught up in the busyness of your new business and lose sight of what is really important and will help to ensure the overall success of your company in the long run. Build the business to give them the best experience possible.
Thank you for all of that. We are nearly done. You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. :-
If I could start a movement it would focus on my two biggest ideas which are staying positive and self love.
How can our readers further follow you online?
- Instagram: fldeliveries
- Facebook: @fullyloadeddeliveriesArizona
This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for the time you spent with this!