I have real-life experience starting, growing, buying and selling successful small companies, using my own money. Importantly, I know what it’s like to have to “make payroll.”'
I’m a long-time entrepreneur turned business coach, professional speaker, and author.
Before becoming an entrepreneur, my career included time in the U.S. Air Force, McDonnell-Douglas Aircraft (now known as Boeing), and General Electric Company.
In 1988, my wife Joyce and I founded BC Group International, Inc. with a personal investment and a small SBA loan. Over the 15+ years we owned the company, it grew from a local/regional distributor of biomedical testing equipment into a respected force in the industry with customers all over the world.
The company was named to the St. Louis Technology Fast 50 list in 2000, 2001, and 2003 – recognizing the 50 fastest-growing technology firms in the St. Louis Metro region. In 2005, we received the Hall of Fame Award from the Great Game of Business for BC Group’s “extraordinary business practices and performance.”
I hired and developed a management team that allowed me to work on the business and not just in the business. We used Open Book Management and other innovative techniques to motivate employees and achieve solid financial results. The company surveyed its customers on an ongoing basis, and satisfaction was continually above 95%. Voluntary employee turnover was well below 5%.
Recognizing the value of the company, we decided to sell the company in 2004. The deal was successfully negotiated and transacted in 2005, and both buyer and seller were delighted.
In 2006, I started Collier Business Advisors, LLC and began coaching & training other businesses. In that capacity and especially as a certified coach for The Great Game of Business, I’ve worked with hundreds of companies to improve their culture and business results. Especially enjoyable to me has been providing financial literacy training for thousands of business owners, managers and front-line employees.
I’ve written for various business publications and for years had a regularly featured column in St. Louis Small Business Monthly. I’ve given presentations, including keynote addresses, at a variety of trade shows and industry conferences, including Great Game Australia – Sydney in 2011 and Brisbane in 2012. My mates and business associates down under have named me an “Honorary Aussie.”
In mid-2003, while still CEO at BC Group, Joyce and I took advantage of an opportunity to acquire Arch Engraving, founded in 1968, whose owners were retiring. Arch makes awards, signs, promotional products, personalized gifts and performs custom and industrial engraving services. We remain actively involved in Arch’s ownership and management. Arch Engraving won recognition as the Small Business Administration’s 2019 Veteran-Owned Business of the Year for Eastern Missouri.
I’m neither a business broker nor an SBA loan expert, but over my career I have received 2 SBA loans and have been personally involved in buying (6 times) and selling (2 times) small businesses or parts of small businesses.
My current and past community involvement includes Toastmasters International, several non-profit board memberships, and more. I’m a former ad-hoc faculty member for St. Louis Community College’s Continuing Education and Entrepreneurial Development programs, and am a past board member for the St. Louis Enterprise Centers (joint St. Louis County/City business incubator program).
My book, How to Succeed as a Small Business Owner … and Still Have a Life, was twice the #1 book in Amazon’s “Work/Life Balance” category.
Joyce and I have been married since the dawn of time. We have 2 daughters and 5 grandsons. We’re longtime members of our local Catholic church, where I’ve served as president of the school board and a member of the parish finance committee.