ALWAYS BE HIRING. This ethos has made a tremendous difference for us. A friend told me they hired an awesome waiter that they had at a restaurant one night to be their Sales Manager. My friend loved the waiter’s personality and knew he could help to transition those skills to be an asset on his team. Always have your radar on looking for exceptional talent. You often don’t find them on the hiring sites or through a headhunter. I’ve found you’ll find them in random places — pay attention!
As part of my series about the “How To Take Your Company From Good To Great”, I had the pleasure of interviewing David Indursky.
David was raised in the business. He interned every summer at ENCON starting in high school and experienced every single job, learning from the ground up.
David feels incredibly fortunate to be in a generational business. David came on full-time in 1993 and worked his way up to president. He’s most thankful for having an incredible working relationship with his father Marty, who founded the company in 1968.
David’s vision is for ENCON to continue to lead the industry over the next 50 years, both in the use of technology, growing the team, and working with customers who appreciate the value of partnering with ENCON. “I give so much credit to our team and am really proud of their work and the degree of complex projects they have completed,” says David. “Some of our top performers have been with the company for over 40 years.”
While ENCON has always supported charities and the local community, David has taken it to the next level with the creation of ENCON’s Rock & Bowl charity bowling event to benefit the Make-A-Wish Foundation, and David was recently named Chairman of The Board of Make-A-Wish New Jersey. David and the team are proud to have donated over half a million dollars to charities nationwide.
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 was born into the business. My father started the company in 1968 and I joined the company in the ’90s. At 82 years old, my father still comes to the office every day. The running joke is, my mother will kill me if I fire him! Throughout my life, I have worked in all aspects of the company from being a truck driver delivering parts to working in our sheet metal fabrication shop and as a junior estimator. In 2000, I became president.
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?
I started in the business when I was 22 and think a lot of my “never give up” attitude came from the household I was raised in. My parents instilled in us as kids that when you make a commitment you see it through. Don’t give up is a cliché, but it was ingrained in us. I also inherently love challenges and thrive on problem-solving. I loved them at the beginning of my career and still thrive on that to this day.
I never consider giving up; I face challenges head-on and persevere through them until I find a good solution.
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?
The lesson I learned is that work is hard. I am always learning from my mistakes — some are funny, some are expensive, some are because you’re moving too fast — but I see them as an opportunity to pause, assess, learn, and grow. I will say, the second and third time you make the same mistake it isn’t quite so funny!
What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?
With over 50 years of experience in the HVAC industry, I can truly say that ENCON can — and will — deliver the impossible. We’ve grown tremendously in our capabilities throughout the last 20 years since I became president.
One example is our work at Gateway. We had a very tight window to turn around one of the biggest projects at ENCON; I call them ‘weekend wonders’ meaning you start the job on Friday night and it needs to be completed by Monday morning. We had about 60 employees on-site and we successfully installed a 195-ton custom air handler on the rooftop penthouse, replacing the old unit from 1985. Twenty years ago, we couldn’t have even dreamed of completing a project of that magnitude. Today, we’ve gotten very good at how to plan, how to deliver and there’s an underlying mantra in our company that failure is not an option. We are committed to staying on the job until it gets done.
Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them to thrive and not “burn out”?
My biggest tip to avoid “burnout” is to figure out how to disconnect from work. This is a lesson I’ve learned after two decades of being at the helm of our company. It would be investing time in a passion or hobby like fishing, hunting, reading, etc. I’ve found if you don’t carve out the time — even just 10 minutes a day — you risk burning out.
I have started to block out time in my calendar that I’m away; I’ll go to lunch, read a book, count my steps, go for a walk and take time to clear my head and push the reset button. I’ve found that you can’t eat and breathe work 24/7. When you step away, you’re a better leader and can think more clearly with a bit more perspective about your business.
These are lessons you learn as you grow. My best ideas come to me when I’m away from the business — sitting on the beach, playing with my kids, sitting on a plane, etc. — then out of nowhere the obvious answer hits you in the face!
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’m most grateful for my father, Marty, who founded the company in 1968. He is my role model and has helped guide me in this generational business. He has also empowered me to lead the business for the past 20 years and modernize it for the evolving times so that we could continue to grow and expand. It is really an honor and privilege to work in a family business. My father is full of wisdom and always willing to give back. And we still have a great relationship in our personal lives — outside of the business. I am proud to carry on his legacy.
My father always encouraged me to engage in organizations and training classes inside and outside of the industry. He was always mindful of how to mentor and coach me, encouraging me to build business relationships outside of our industry because you just never know how those will impact you, and ultimately, your business.
As ENCON has evolved over the past two decades, much of the growth is because I’ve branched out via networking and learned from others to help us expand and thrive.
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?
A good company gets the job done in spite of the budget. Whereas a great company gets the job done while valuing the budget, the scope, and the client relationships — and all of that matters when you’re creating a great company. Great companies view each project as more than just a one-and-done endeavor, they see the long-term business value in going above and beyond.
For example, I just took my son deep sea fishing last weekend. My 9-year-old son had a blast, and I on the other hand was very seasick. He was the only child on the boat and the crew made his experience so much fun and memorable — in spite of my sickness. They went above and beyond — THAT is a great company!
A great company delivers a “wow” experience. You will call a great company again and again, because you know they’ll exceed your expectations consistently!
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 COMMUNICATION. Learn how to be comfortable with the uncomfortable conversations. Having a tough conversation with an employee member is really the best thing for all parties involved, even though it’s not easy.
- #2 TRANSPARENCY. This is something we are evolving into in our journey at ENCON. When the company was younger and smaller, there was not a lot of transparency about how and why business decisions were being made. Today, I involve our staff by getting real time buy-ins so they understand how and why the company is doing what it’s doing. For example, a few years ago we started Town Hall meetings and started sharing bigger business decisions, company news, etc. We do it in November and we discuss the good, bad and different from the past year and set our goals for the year ahead. When everyone is involved, I’ve found there’s less confusion among our team members and it makes them feel like they’re more involved in the overall business plan.
- #3 TAKE NOTES. We’ve worked with outside professionals and coaches over the years and they always leave us a “to do list.” Now we try to go back and review those lists from a few years ago and use it as our score card to evaluate if we’ve gotten better as a company. The key is to be honest with yourself and say why do we keep getting a failing grade on this aspect of our business. If you’re constantly looking to refine and improve your process it will make a big difference long-term. When you look back, if you’re truly honest about your progression it can transform a company.
- #4 ALWAYS BE LEARNING. We do a lot of technical training at ENCON and I also enjoy finding out that our team is learning in their personal lives, too. Whether it be learning how to surf, stitch or sew — I love that commitment to making yourself better. If you learn professionally it helps you grow personally as well.
- #5 ALWAYS BE HIRING. This ethos has made a tremendous difference for us. A friend told me they hired an awesome waiter that they had at a restaurant one night to be their Sales Manager. My friend loved the waiter’s personality and knew he could help to transition those skills to be an asset on his team. Always have your radar on looking for exceptional talent. You often don’t find them on the hiring sites or through a headhunter. I’ve found you’ll find them in random places — pay attention!
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 to me that our team sees they’re part of a bigger purpose and we’re giving a percentage back to causes that matter and make an impact. It could be a local rec soccer team or a nationally-led food bank or Make-A-Wish. From granular to national, once you identify what moves and/or motivates you then you can start to select which charities and organizations to partner with. Being a good corporate citizen is being able to touch local communities in impactful ways — sometimes that means time or money, sometimes both.
What would you advise to a business leader who initially went through years of successive growth, but has now reached a stand still? From your experience do you have any general advice about how to boost growth and “restart their engines”?
When I’m looking to recalibrate and get my creative juices flowing again, I like to get away, disconnect, and re-energize. I also enjoy going to trade shows, because you are physically disconnecting from your business and also get a mental release from the day-to-day grind. I often find value at trade shows, because I have the chance to connect with other business owners from across the country and hear new perspectives.
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?
We are constantly looking for opportunities to grow and expand our services. We recently launched a new electrical power and wiring systems division so now ENCON is truly a one-stop-shop for all building solutions.
During this COVID-19 pandemic, our air purification services are in demand now more than ever. We’ve helped numerous offices, schools, restaurants, and daycare centers throughout New Jersey reopen more safely by implementing various strategies such as upgrading filters, increasing fresh air volume, and bi-polar ionization.
The biggest strategy I use is building relationships with our financial institution before you need them. That means when business is good and you don’t need a bond or a line of credit that’s the best time to establish those relationships, because when things slow down — or there’s a pandemic — it’s difficult to find a bank to help you. We also greatly value maintaining positive relationships with our insurance company and key vendors, because those partners are ultimately what helps your company thrive.
In your experience, which aspect of running a company tends to be most underestimated? Can you explain or give an example?
The most underestimated aspect of running a company is how hard it really is. Parts of it gets easier as you learn and grow, however other aspects get harder over time. Trying to do the best for everybody is not always possible and that is fundamentally hard. It’s like having multiple children, one is often disappointed.
Another underestimated aspect is how lonely it is running a business. As the decision-maker, it can be lonely when you’re having to make tough decisions that impact the organization.
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?
In terms of conversion rates, our best strategy is asking our top customers to refer us to their friends if they have had a positive experience with us. Hang out with people in the sandbox that are buying your value proposition relevant to your space. We try to invest our time and resources into those companies that we want to build with.
When a business is new, you work with anybody at any price. When a business evolves and matures, you can be selective and decide who your partners are. It’s like buying a Ford versus a Mercedes, the entire buying experience is different. Choose who you want your clients to be by assessing if your value propositions are similar.
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?
Be present. Be honest to your word. By delivering a great experience to internal and external customers, you will inevitably earn a reputation as a trusted and beloved brand.
- 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?
Do all the little things right. Getting a job done 80% is not a wow experience. If you made a mistake, call the customer and tell them where you dropped the ball and how you plan to make it right. I always say, do the right thing.
2. 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.
We’ve recently revitalized our social media channels and we use them to build our brand, share our company values, team members, and services. We’re using these platforms to build brand loyalty, increase engagement, and discuss the positive experiences we’re delivering while amplifying our company culture and highlighting notable projects.
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?
I think the most common mistake is how seemingly easy it is to start a business.
As a business owner, there’s an inherent necessity to become the master of all aspects of your business from accounting to HR and sales with your eyes wide open. It takes time to grind through the ups and downs to learn how to do it all effectively.
To mitigate errors, I’ve found it helps to hang out with other really smart business owners and ask them questions about what pitfalls to avoid.
Essentially, I’d say it’s challenging, it takes time and you need to be mentally committed to the long haul. Do all the right things along the way, surround yourself with a good group of peers to help lessen the valleys.
The people you associate with can drive your life and business in a positive manner.
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 be to treat people with respect and examine yourself to determine how you can improve yourself to benefit all. Be a good neighbor and a good person. If someone else if having a bad day, stop and listen to them — maybe that small act will be what they needed to help. Talking to people and understanding that they have different backgrounds, motives, and reasons, why they see the world in a different color, can make huge strides in us all being on the same page. Ultimately, we’re all on the same team in spite of our differences.
How can our readers further follow you online?
This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for the time you spent with this!