Interview with Christopher Hytry Derrington, experienced entrepreneur and co-founder of Rural America OnShore Sourcing
Tell me about your Rural America OnShore Sourcing. What do you do?
Rural America OnShore Sourcing, a USA-leading rural onshoring company, provides clients with a variety of outsourcing services, such as Information Technology Outsourcing (ITO); software/website development, web/print graphic design, Business Process Outsourcing (BPO); interactive marketing, sales support, and more.
As a minority-owned company, Rural America OnShore Sourcing enables customers to cut project and labor expenses by up to 40 percent by using lower cost, rural-based professionals providing a superior outsourcing alternative so businesses need not send projects offshore nor use expensive urban vendors. Rural America OnShore Sourcing is currently recruiting talent in 12 states, including Wisconsin, Ohio and Kentucky. We plan to expanding to 25 states by end of 2011 and all 50 states by end of 2012.
What were you doing before this?
I'm a serial entrepreneur. This is my 13th startup or turnaround. Problems I encountered in a prior software development company lead to formation of Rural America in August 2008.
Did you write a business plan?
No. I've seen many, many fancy business plans that never reach profitability. We created outlines while expecting the company to change. To paraphrase an old military expression: "No business plan survives the test of the start-up phase."
What outside resources were helpful for you?
Business incubators, Chamber of Commerce, SCORE. This is the 2nd business I've grown in an incubator. A good incubator is a nexus of the resources needed to start and grow your business. But all incubators are not the same. Do your homework before you commit.
Temporary labor can be a great asset to an entrepreneur. Do you utilize temps or contractors?
Always strive to test drive associates before hiring. Hire them as a part-time consultant; or on a contract basis. The risks are higher the higher the position. I always put VP and above on 2-3 months consulting agreements. Temp services are great way to filter through lower-level positions.
What have you done that has been very effective in helping to grow the business?
Reach out to the media. A well placed story about you or your company is great creditability. Articles can be used in multiple ways: help finding new customers, build SEO rankings, use as handout, send to prior customers to show that doing business with you was a smart thing to do, motivate and make your Associates proud to be part of the team. Everyone wants to be part of a winner.
How has your experience in running the business been different from what you expected?
Every growing company's direction changes as its products and services evolve. So expect the zigs and zags. If you are flexible, and have hired good people, your company will respond.
What advice would you give to somebody else who wanted to start a similar business?
"The best part of having your own business is you get to pick which part of the week to work your 80 hours." "As much as you focus on sales, place greater focus on cash flow. Cash is blood." "Never, never, never give up. You WILL fall off the horse and fail. But get up and try again."
Sounds like good advice. Thank you for taking the time to chat with us.