Growth rarely comes easy, and even highly successful businesses will experience some growing pains as they expand their offerings. Battle River Implements is no stranger to growth. The company retails leading agricultural machinery and provides services to its customers, most of whom are farmers.
Terry Hamilton, president and general manager, knows that he needs to closely monitor how his company’s employees manage those growing pains so that Battle River Implements can continue providing the best customer service possible. The company recently doubled its size from two stores to four. Here, Hamilton discusses what drives his company forward and how he manages it with an upward trajectory.
Advantage: You’ve doubled your company’s size fairly quickly. How did you manage the growth while not affecting your current customer base?
Terry Hamilton: I think the largest factor to succeeding as it relates to our expansions has been our ability to retain the key people in each of those locations. We have tried to make the transitions in each one of these expansions as seamless as we possibly could for our customers, and a big part of that is to make sure that they continue to deal with the same people that they have come to trust over the years.
It sounds like you value the contributions of your employees and team members.
Yes. The key component to any success that we have enjoyed has been a result of the efforts of our staff. We are very fortunate to have a staff that is made up of a group of individuals who take a great deal of pride in what they do. Customers deal with people. Sure, they do business with Battle River Implements, but primarily they do business with the people who work here.
John Deere seems to be a large part of your company’s offering. How has the company helped your company succeed and grow?
I had mentioned earlier that our people take a great deal of pride in what they do. That pride comes largely as a result of knowing that they are supporting and being supported by the best in the industry. John Deere continues to set the bar in the agriculture industry.
How do you exceed the norm, and how do you continue to innovate and meet the needs of your customers?
[This is] partially due to our affiliation with our primary supplier, Deere, but is very closely tied to the pride and the commitment of our people. Our people, like most others in the agriculture industry, have seen a great deal of change over the past few years.
Our first expansion was in July of 2007, and that expansion brought about the usual challenges that are experienced when these types of things occur. We weren’t even really on top of those challenges when the opportunity came along in early 2009 for the next step in the plan.
I believe that when you are fortunate enough to have a core group of people on staff who have that “fire in their belly,” the rest of us, customers included, can’t help but get excited about the opportunities and challenges that lie ahead.
Let’s be honest: we are in a race here, and the first ones to “get there” win. We all know that the best way to win any race is to get off to a good start. And you only get a good start if you are excited about the opportunities that lie ahead—and I know that we are.
Is there a technology, trend, or idea that is driving your company forward?
There is one very important strategy in focus for Battle River that we’ve recently implemented: the Integrated Solutions Initiative. Through utilization of the technologies that are in place today, we have an opportunity to do an even better job of working with our customers to help them manage many areas of their operation in an effort to improve their efficiencies, as well as their bottom line.
What’s next for Battle River Implements?
We are going to stay the course. We want to continue in the development of our vision for the people who make up our organization. These people are our future: they are our best recruiters, they are our best advertisers, and we need them to be our most open critics. If we can make Battle River Implements a great place to work for all of us here, we will never want for or lack good people. And good people are what make a good business.