In This Episode
Today we were joined on the show by business owner and former MVP business coaching client Terry Walkerly. Terry is the owner of Filta Environmental NEO, a leading provider of cooking oil micro filtration services to restaurants and other food establishments. Over his career Terry has owned several business including ones he’s both started as well as purchased. Although he barely made it through high school, Terry describes himself as a lifelong learner who has read just about every business book out there. Combining that with the school of hard knocks and Terry has a lot of wisdom and insights to share.
While Terry says he doesn’t have the “typical” entrepreneurial story where he had his own paper route as a child, he did say he got fired from just about every job he ever had, including being fired multiple times by his dad! During the show Terry took us on the journey from starting his first business at the age of 18 with his then wife and a friend. The business was a commercial cleaning business he started out of the back of his station wagon. Between that commercial cleaning business and his current venture with Filta, Terry worked with his dad in the moving and storage business and also eventually bought his dad’s business. Along the way there were lots of wins and many mistakes which eventually lead to filing for bankruptcy. While spending some time figuring out what to do next, he stumbled upon the Filta franchise opportunity.
During his 15 years owning his Filta franchise Terry has experienced tremendous growth and has been one of the leading franchise owners for over a decade. His business was often the spark behind adding services to not only their clients but eventually all Filta franchisees. As the business was really starting to hit its stride coming into 2020 the business was hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic. Within the course of 5 days in mid-March 2020 his company lost 85% of their revenue due to the forced shutdowns of restaurants and sporting venues. That’s when three decades of business experience came to bear and Terry shares how he focused on cutting fast, cutting deep, conserving cash, and making tough decisions.
It’s no surprise that Terry and his team have come out of this COVID crisis stronger than ever. By the end of 2021 their revenue was ahead of the pre-pandemic levels, all of the employees who were let go during the pandemic but wanted to come back to work are now back with the company, and they are on pace to double the business in 2022.
A couple of lessons highlighted during the show include:
- Importance of 90-day cash forecast and focusing on the numbers;
- Spotting opportunities in the classified ads and business opportunities sections;
- Staying calm (making emotional business decisions isn’t always a good idea); and
- Critical role mentors/coaches/peer groups have played for him over the years.
While Terry has had tremendous success to date, he’s not taking it easy. He is continuing to build his business aggressively including through acquisitions and is looking to build something he will eventually be able to sell. We think you’ll be inspired and entertained hearing his story!
People, Companies and Resources We Mentioned in the Show
- Filta Environmental NEO (http://www.gofilta.com/locations/ohio/cleveland-cooking-oil-filtration-service)
- United Van Lines (https://www.unitedvanlines.com)
- American Moving and Storage Association (https://moverdb.com/amsa/)
- Daryl Hannah (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Daryl_Hannah)
- Willie Nelson (https://willienelson.com)
- Jacob’s Field/Progressive Field (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Progressive_Field)
- Entrepreneur Operating System/EOS (https://www.eosworldwide.com)