2017 Best of BusinessOct 01, 2017 ● By Allie Spletter
Rich Allen, the owner of Tour de Profit, a local company that works with business owners, corporate executives and organizational leaders, helps owners grow and solve various challenges in their businesses. During his professional experience, Mr. Allen has identified eight categories that he feels are critical for the success of any business, as reflected in Frisco STYLE’s annual Best of Best Awards. This year, however, it was determined that none of the businesses that applied fit the category of Best in Metrics and Financial Results, so seven awards are detailed in the following pages.
We are extremely proud to present the winners of Frisco STYLE’s 2017 Best of Business!
Building a Winning Team - Neighborhood Art and Music School
Teamwork is an important attribute that is instilled in us early on, and Neighborhood Art and Music School (NAMS) is no stranger to this notion, as it is being recognized with this year’s Building a Winning Team Award. NAMS qualified for this award based on an “ecosystem” they have built that fosters and supports great team members, their encouragement and support for travel and new education for staff members, and their formula used for inspiring team members through regular communications.
The owner, Levi Bradford, began teaching at the school in 2010. He acquired the business in 2012 after submitting a business proposal to add a recording studio to the school, which fatefully turned into an offer from the then-owners to sell the business to him. He recalls, “To my amazement, I sat at the coffee shop while the owners asked to sell me the whole business. I was 22 years old. Looking back, it was one of the most unusual events of my life. It was pure serendipity!”
In the past five years, NAMS has been able to share the gift of music and art with thousands of students. “We have been able to invest the resources from education back into building a world-class recording studio in the heart of Frisco. We have been able to integrate the school with the recording studio, releasing music with Capitol Records, INgrooves Music Group and Dream Label Group. We have been nominated for the GMA Dove Awards and have witnessed students in the school distribute recorded music to more than 1,500 Walmart stores across the country. It has been amazing to watch how the school and recording studio have been working to support each other.”
Much of the success of the school and students is due largely to a focus on the staff working together towards a common goal. Mr. Bradford explains, “Building a winning team cannot be underestimated. We live by one major guiding principle: You have to get the right people on the bus before you figure out where to turn the wheel.” At NAMS, the team stands by the principle that people do their best work when they are most empowered. Mr. Bradford continues, “Once you can empower your team members to understand the business is equally as much theirs as it is yours, you have unlocked the greatest asset to your organization — enthusiasm. When students are learning and music and art are being cultivated, we know we have built the right team and designed the right environment. Our message happens to be rooted in sharing the gift of music and art with others — a responsibility we do not take for granted!”
Mr. Bradford says he and his team use a strategy focused around three conversation points when talking with team members, including catching up on one’s personal life, addressing immediate work needs and closing with a vision casting (allowing all to be a part of forward motion). “These conversations can happen daily, weekly or monthly, depending on scheduling. We are old-school and prefer face-to-face conversation, but we fully adapt to all methods of the ever-changing technology at our fingertips to stay in touch,” Mr. Bradford says. At NAMS, team members value each other and all victories by Celebrating All Wins (CAW!) and supporting each other fully.
“Here at NAMS, our mission is to share the gift of music and art with others. NAMS operates on a non-curriculum-based lesson format, so the students’ imaginations can drive the behavior of lessons. This also means each team member and educator is empowered to have freedom in how they instruct,” Mr. Bradford shares. “In our line of business, you absolutely have to get the right people on the bus, because they steer the wheel for the individual success of each student.”
Customer Engagement - David & Kylie Knight ILLUSIONS
David and Kylie Knight are a husband and wife, Christian illusionist duo that has traveled and performed together for more than 15 years. When Mr. Knight was 12 years old, he read a book about Harry Houdini, and as he read, he thought to himself, “That is what I want to do for a living.” When Mrs. Knight came to the U.S. from Australia, and met Mr. Knight in 1998, they found they had amazing chemistry and a great working relationship. She quickly became an invaluable part of the show and it became her dream, too.
The team is being recognized with this year’s Customer Engagement Award because the couple always solicits feedback following performances, highlights a client of the month in their monthly newsletter and they always send a follow up note with a customized photo following each performance.
Customer engagement is truly the epicenter and purpose for much of what the duo does. Mr. Knight shares, “We love that it is our ‘job’ to bring joy and wonder to our clients all around the world. We get the privilege of seeing people’s faces light up and their cares melt away. It is so rewarding when our clients tell us how much their audiences appreciated and enjoyed the show days, weeks, months or even years later!”
Much of their success is due to the understanding that their clients are truly the epicenter of their crafts. “Without our clients, we are nothing. Magic and illusion need to be experienced by others to be truly enjoyed and have meaning. Our clients are looking to give their guests something truly spectacular. It is our job to help them make that happen. For us to do our job, we need to know more about their needs and expectations. The only way to find that out is by engaging them and getting to know what we can do for them,” Mr. Knight says.
Though their business has grown and is flourishing, the Knights did not get where they are today without learning a few lessons. Mr. Knight explains, “The hardest part about owning your own business is knowing you have a product of great value and learning to help potential clients understand how your product can best serve them. For the first few years, we had a difficult time not only doing that, but also believing that. Now, with several years under our belt and with many positive client referrals, we have full belief in our abilities to make every event we approach the very best it can be.” Much of the Knights’ business stems from word-of-mouth referrals, and they understand the importance of going above and beyond for their clients.
The Knights not only pursue customer engagement during their events, but they work hard to ensure their customers are happy and engaged from the first interaction. “One way we try to immediately engage our clients is by responding to inquiries as quickly as possible. We also strive to go above and beyond in communicating with clients and assisting them in making their event great through marketing materials and preparation.”
Customer engagement truly is the Knights’ job, and their work speaks for itself, as they continually seek ways to “wow” their customers. “It is our job to surprise and inspire! In addition to having a show that will blow our audiences’ minds and bring them great joy, we love to customize events for our clients. We take great pride in our role as trusted advisors to help make sure their needs and expectations are at the forefront of our conversations!”
Leadership and Vision - Frisco Eye Associates
Anyone who has ever run a business understands the importance of having a solid foundation rooted in leadership and a strong, well-supported vision. Take Frisco Eye Associates, started by Dr. Jeff Thomas and Dr. Coly Marsh, in 1997, for example.
Justin Conlee, the director of operations at Frisco Eye Associates, recalls, “There is no doubt the growth we have experienced over the years has at least something to do with our fortuitous location in one of the fastest-growing municipalities in the country these last two decades.” Mr. Conlee also attributes much of their success to a relentless dedication to patient satisfaction.
Frisco Eye Associates is being recognized with the Leadership and Vision Award for its goal to be the most customer service-oriented business in Frisco, its 20 years of growth while maintaining a customer service focus and more than 100 reviews on Facebook with a 4.7/5.0 rating.
Mr. Conlee says, “There are not many purely optometry clinics taking their game to the next level, as we have. We remind ourselves as often as possible that it requires great leadership and unwavering vision to maintain this level of growth, while also remembering how important each individual patient is. Every staff member knows the mission of our office and our intense focus on customer satisfaction. We hold one another accountable and push one another to keep raising the bar.”
One thing that makes Frisco Eye Associates truly unique is that all employees in the company know how important they are to the team. “We are all here in the trenches together, so to speak. We may each have different roles, but, together, our responsibility to the patient is one that is shared,” Mr. Conlee explains. The team at Frisco Eye Associates encourages staff members to challenge themselves. The leadership team believes if they create an environment employees love, there is a good chance employees will create an environment patients love, too.
Building a successful team starts with building a winning philosophy, and the employees at Frisco Eye Associates believe they have one. “Once you have a concrete idea of the type of organization you want to be, then you can begin adding pieces and molding them into a team that strives to exceed the goals you have set,” Mr. Conlee clarifies. Staff-wide support of business and team goals only help those involved, and many of the employees at Frisco Eye Associates come to the practice with a firm foundation for leadership when they begin. Mr. Conlee affirms, “A good majority of staff members at our office are undergraduate students preparing themselves for post-graduate studies in the medical field. We encourage our employees to strive for those difficult goals and to dedicate themselves to being great at what they spend their time doing.” Frisco Eye Associates offers a unique combination of experienced doctors, young and eager students and a great management team that has worked together to make it where they are today.
Winning Customers - Natalie Roberson Photography
Natalie Roberson, the owner of Natalie Roberson Photography, knew she wanted to be a photographer from the time she was in college. The birth of her son only helped her realize the importance of capturing life. Ms. Roberson, who is in business with her husband, Nick, explains, “I started taking pictures of friends and family and it evolved into a business. I am fortunate to photograph hundreds of families each year and have developed a strong client base.”
The Winning Customers Award is being given to Natalie Roberson Photography this year for the clear picture the company has of their ideal client, how they track their cost per lead from multiple sources (and are working to lower it on a regular basis) and because the team knows their conversion rates for leads to clients and clients to repeat clients.
Ms. Roberson admits there is a variety of professional photographers in the area and credits her business’s success to her passion and love of people and photography. She holds an MBA degree, which she has been able to put to good use in building her business.
“My husband and I appreciate the opportunity to connect with our clients and we enjoy developing relationships with them. Our ideal customer understands the importance of photographs,” she shares. “Photographs capture a certain moment in time and tell a story about our thoughts and feelings. Our lives are busy and we can find it hard to remember some of the details of the important occasions in our lives. Pictures help us to remember those cherished memories.”
Ms. Roberson attributes her success in building her client base to the business’s marketing strategies and word-of-mouth referrals from clients. “Currently, our marketing strategies are focused on Google, our web presence and social networking. We run specials throughout the year and send them to our internal customer database and we rely on them to share those specials with their friends and family,” Ms. Roberson says. “We have built a client base where we see some of our clients two to three times a year, some come once a year and some every couple of years. People have different wants and needs when it comes to pictures of special occasions. We enjoy meeting clients for the first time and strive to build a long-term relationship with them from the first meeting.”
Natalie Roberson Photography’s customer service and classic, traditional style of photography set the business apart and allow the couple the opportunity to attract clients. Ms. Roberson credits social media with a variety of trends that come and go in the world of photography, but believes the classic style is timeless and will be on the wall for generations to come.
Ms. Roberson explains, “We take time to set new goals and we enjoy what we do. At the end of the day, our success is measured in having our clients walk away happy with their experiences and with their final product from us.”
Giving Back to the Community - Simon | Paschal PLLC
After practicing at the same law firm for five years, Paul Simon and Dustin Paschal ventured out and began their own business law firm in 2013. Both Mr. Simon and Mr. Paschal studied business in their undergraduate collegiate work and have always viewed themselves not only as lawyers, but also as business owners.
The team is being given this year’s Giving Back to the Community Award based on both partners’ service on several local boards, their participation on the board of the North Texas Community Giving Foundation and their volunteer role in the Texas Big Star Half Marathon and 5K.
“We are in the business of service and we take that seriously,” Mr. Paschal says. While being a lawyer is very much a service-oriented profession, giving back to clients and the community is an important aspect of business not lost on this dynamic lawyer duo. Mr. Paschal continues, “We do not believe the law is merely a job, but it is a profession and a calling. Our entire job is to serve others and help them, oftentimes during some of their most trying and stressful times. We see our job as one of helping other business owners thrive and grow and helping them to take care of their business and customers, while also to taking care of their employees so that their workplaces are efficient, positive and happy.”
Giving back to the community is a cornerstone of Simon | Paschal PLLC. Admittedly, lawyers often get bad reputations, but Mr. Simon and Mr. Paschal both know and understand that law is one of the most giving professions, and they each try to convey that notion to their clients in all they do.
Both Mr. Simon and Mr. Paschal served on the Dallas Association of Young Lawyers board of directors for several years. Mr. Simon also served on the executive team and currently serves as president of the board of directors. He explains, “The Dallas Association of Young Lawyers is an organization whose sole purpose is to serve the needs of young lawyers and the charitable and community causes they care about most.” This year, as president, Mr. Simon is debuting Dallas Ripple, a project inspired by the Dallas Police Department shootings last year and the racial strife throughout the country both prior to and after the shootings. High school students from all different backgrounds will discuss the struggles our country currently faces in hopes that they will be the ripple of hope moving forward. Mr. Simon and Mr. Paschal also both serve on the North Texas Community Giving Foundation board of directors. Mr. Simon is a founding trustee and general counsel and Mr. Paschal is a trustee and secretary. Each year, this organization provides grants to local charities to fulfill their respective missions. In addition to these hands-on efforts to give back to the community, Simon | Paschal PLLC also gives back financially through partnerships and sponsorships.
“We want our clients to know we will be there for them, just like we are there for our community and those in need. In a way, we are able to humanize our business and ourselves so clients and potential clients want us to be part of their business,” Mr. Paschal says. “We have learned that business owners in Frisco have a huge heart for giving back and being a part of the community. That mentality is important to us and fits nicely into our mission and our goals and our efforts.”
Serving Customers - Furry Guys Pet Care, Inc.
Furry Guys Pet Care serves not only humans, but also four-legged customers! Clay Jones started the company in 2009 with just two sitters and walkers. At the time, he and his team only did dog walks and pet sits.
Fast forward to today, and the team is the winner of this year’s Serving Customers Award for their strong growth plans (from the beginning), multiple locations and possible franchise operations. Due to Mr. Jones’ ability to lead (not just be a boss), Furry Guys Pet Care has almost 50 five-star reviews on Yelp.
Mr. Jones says, “Over the years, we have grown to 20 sitters across the Dallas/Fort Worth metroplex doing dog walks and pet sits. We also started doing home-style boarding for pups a few years back, which became so popular with our clients, I had to expand my business.”
Mr. Jones opened Furry Guys Resort in 2016, nestled deep in the heart of Frisco’s downtown area. “I consider Furry Guys Resort a hybrid dog resort because I actually stay with the dogs after closing,” he explains. “Our space has true, home-style dog boards with a huge dog play yard and two mini homes/VIP suites. I absolutely love working with dogs and do not consider it work at all.”
It is no secret why Mr. Jones’ business nabbed this award, as serving customers is the very reason he offers his services. “I want to give the best customer service possible and will do anything to strive to meet the needs of both my customers and their dogs,” he says. Mr. Jones puts it plainly, explaining, “I do not see my clients as money, but more as friends. I strive to treat the business on a friend basis, rather than just another number or person basis. I know my service works because my customers come back regularly.”
Mr. Jones knows that without his clients and their fur babies, his business would not flourish like it has, which is why he strives to give clients his very best while making himself available to them whenever they need him. Mr. Jones admits he treats his very newest and very oldest clients the exact same way, with integrity and honesty. “I share my knowledge with them and share how they can be better with their dogs. I care for their furry kids like they were my own!”
Mr. Jones’ little oasis is not only a place for pets to stay and be pampered, but he says that Furry Guys Pet Care is also very much a hangout and social scene during football season when they have watch parties outside with the dogs staying with them! Furry Guys Pet Care has live webcams viewable on their website so customers and prospective customers can view the happenings at Furry Guys Pet Care at all times. Mr. Jones and his team offer customers and their pups home-style pet boarding, pet sitting, dog walking and doggy daycare.
Structure and Organization - Mosquito Authority
A business cannot be successful without proper structure and organization that allows owners and employees to run efficient, successful and customer-satisfying daily and long-term operations. Mosquito Authority is the largest mosquito control company in the country and seeks to eliminate every mosquito from your property.
Frisco residents Jeremy and Megan Holland own three local franchises of the large company and love what they do. Mr. Holland shares, “Megan and I both have Louisiana roots. If there is anything people know about Louisiana, it is that the mosquito is practically the state bird. We grew up not only with the nuisance of them, but also with the understanding of the dangers they bring. My degree is in agricultural business, and I have had a passion and respect for the outdoors since I was young. We love doing what we do because we are in the field of service. Our customers become our friends and we want nothing more than to keep them safe and comfortable during mosquito season. It is truly a privilege to serve them.”
The utilization of the company’s structure and organization is very much what drives its success as the company’s structure focuses on being customer-centric. In fact, they are being recognized with the Structure and Organization Award this year because of their passion for controlling mosquito-based dangers, the solid structure of the franchise operation and their four-step process used with every customer.
Mosquito Authority believes in keeping things simple and efficient. “All members of our organization know their roles, and we each hold each other to a high level of accountability,” Mr. Holland says. “Since we are a small business, each of our roles is highly-important and must be done with the end goal and the customer in mind.”
He explains, “Our technician is responsible for the day-to-day yard treatments. He documents each visit, communicates with customers and represents Mosquito Authority on the streets of Frisco and surrounding communities. His success is measured in multiple ways, one of those being his re-treatment ratio. If any of our recurring customers has an issue with mosquitoes between treatments, Kaleb returns to their yard to treat it again, for free.” By measuring such variables, the Hollands understand their customers’ satisfaction level.
Mr. Holland says, “We measure our service using quantifiable metrics — our re-treatment ratio. If it is below a certain percentage, we know our service is effective. We also measure our success in the way of online reviews. When someone offers a new review on our website or through Google, we know a customer is delighted. We often call and text customers simply to check in. We are a small business and we know our customers by name. We want them to know, through our actions, that they are the heart of our business and their satisfaction matters. We are thankful for the opportunity to serve Frisco residents and we look forward to being a part of Frisco’s continued growth.”