Ep. 004 – From One-Man Show to Landscape Powerhouse: How Coastal Scapes Found Success

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On this episode of Roots of Success, we have Chris Winkler, who shares his experience of managing and growing his business, Coastal Scapes. Chris talks about the challenges he faced when he struggled to hire new managers, and how he sought out accountability from someone outside his personal and work life to ensure completion of tasks. He also discusses the growth of his business, including bookkeeping, recruiting, and participation in a peer group. He also shares his long-term business goals, including acquisitions, expansion to other areas, and having his own in-house product offerings. Chris emphasizes the importance of setting both reasonable and stretch goals to have something to strive for. Tune in to hear Chris's insights and lessons learned from his journey in growing Coastal Scapes.


Accountability, and the recipe for success

Key Moments:

[02:02] How I got started as a reluctant landscape business owner.

[04:40] Bookkeeping - the need I didn’t know I needed.

[07:50] Accountability through ACE Peer Groups.

[12:35] How delegating increased lead capture by 150%.

[15:23] Monthly accountability calls hold business owners responsible.

[17:34] Hiring experienced individuals to level up.

[20:50] How leaders influence by stepping back.

[25:22] Setting an outrageous goal.

[28:55] Seeking a diverse network for success.


    1. How to hire managers for a small business?
    2. How important is accountability in business management?
    3. What are key ways to increase bottom-line revenue in a business?
    4. Why is networking important for business owners?
    5. How to cut out the middleman in your business operations?
    6. What are some common growth problems faced by business owners?
    7. What are the best practices for bookkeeping and financial management?
    8. What is the main role of leadership in the success of a business?
Episode Transcript
John: [00:00:00] The Roots of Success podcast is for the landscape professional who's looking to up their game. We're not talking lawns or grass here. We're talking about people, process, and profits. The things deep within the business that need focus to scale a successful company from hiring the right people and managing your team to improving your operations and mastering your finances.

We've got a brain trust of experts to help you nurture the roots of a successful business and grow to the next level. This is The Roots of Success.

Tommy Cole: Welcome to another episode of the Roots of Success podcast. I'm your host, Tommy Cole, and today we have Chris Winkler, owner and founder of Coastal Scapes, which is just outside of Corpus Christie, Texas. He's one of our ACE Peer group members and has seen amazing growth over the last few years. Today we'll be talking about how he went from a small business owner doing everything himself to a true leader who can rely on his team to help the company accomplish a bunch of goals.

With peer group members helping to solve problems along [00:01:00] the way, Chris is now able to empower his team for growth. It's gonna be a great episode. Let's get into it.

Chris. We're super excited to have you. You've been with us for a few years now. I've been really excited to get youon this podcast and learn way more about you and your team and how you've been able to grow and develop it. What in the world is Coastal Scapes?

What do you guys do? What's your service line? You know, that sort of thing. Paint us a picture.

Chris Winkler: Yeah, so we are a maintenance, installation and irrigation company based in the Corpus Christi area. So we service this region along the, the middle, Texas Middle Coast. We are commercial and residential kind of inching our way. More commercial you know, by the day. But yeah, we service both those high end residential you know, kind of that class, a commercial resort type property.

Tommy Cole: Chris, what were you doing before this?

Chris Winkler: before this I was the nutritional buyer for the US for, uh, [00:02:00] large supply chain and logistics company. So I, I managed about $300 million in sales annually. As far as, you know, purchasing product and making sure product is in stores, you know, to all the big. Big box giants. Not gonna give anyone free, free ad time, but you can probably guess the, the usual suspects.

Tommy Cole: Yeah. And, and how did you, how did you land in the landscape world?

Chris Winkler: Yeah. So it's like a lot of people, it started whenever I was a kid. My dad was a firefighter for 32 years. And so in his off time, like the most firefighters he. Did something else and my dad mowed for people that we knew and, and and did all that. And so I would help out as he got busier and busier especially in the summers.

And then, you know, so I got into high school and you know, be kind of focused in on my football career. And then especially in college, whenever just time was limited, you know, I did it here and there when I could. You know, when I graduated high school I was like, man, I'm never gonna do this ever again. And

Tommy Cole: That's what we all say, right?

Chris Winkler: sure enough, here I [00:03:00] am.

Tommy Cole: Cool. So, we all get started somewhere. I, I love it. All right, so let's jump, let's jump right into the meat and potatoes, what everybody's excited about. You've been with the Ace Pure Group Program for a few years now. I remember some really cool conversations we had within our team.

About this guy named Chris that's wanting to jump all in. Right. What, what led you up to this, this point of like reaching out to someone, going maybe, I don't know, everything

Chris Winkler: So I guess really and truly, I hadn't actually never done this quote unquote professionally. You know, I'd never worked for a company you know, I didn't study this in college and, but this is what I was doing as a, as a career choice now. And so we had seen some good growth. I'm in a very high growth area and. That got me up to about 2019 when I was just doing everything by myself. I had no administrative kind of staff, I had no managers, you know, it was me just trying to get things done.

Tommy Cole: and right around, I guess the middle of 2019 was [00:04:00] whenever I was like, man, like this thing is just kind of outgrowing me.

Chris Winkler: Like I have no clue what I'm doing. You know, just kinda like second guessing yourself. Imposter syndrome. Right? And I was like I'm gonna reach out to you know, someone to see if they can help me hire someone to help me. And I had seen advertisements about Mcfarlin, Stanford, you know, through industry magazines.

So I looked them up, was kind of familiar with their backgrounds and so I thought I would reach out, it must have been like the next day or later that afternoon I get a email from Chris Psencik, you know, saying like, Hey, let's set up a time we can talk and

Tommy Cole: Hey, we have the same name, so we may have something in common.

Chris Winkler: yeah, yeah, exactly.

So, we started having more and more conversations about, you know, my company, who I was, what we were doing, and We kind of figured out, it was like, man, I think Chris actually needs help with bookkeeping more than just like recruiting. Cuz he doesn't even know which way's left and which way's Right, right now with his finances.

And so so we dove into [00:05:00] that and started working with Liz Helton that took me all the way through, Covid, I guess basically. So through 2020. So, you know, I was actually super fortunate to be working with McFarlin through that time because that was just nuts.

Tommy Cole: So you, you were working with the bookkeeping team right away. But I, I think initially you reached out because you're looking to make your first hire. Right.

Chris Winkler: yeah, yeah.

Tommy Cole: Owner. Okay. Owner operator, which is very, very common. How much business were you doing at that time?

Chris Winkler: I think at the end of 2019, we were,

Tommy Cole: I think we did three quarters a million?

Chris Winkler: yeah, 750, 7 15, somewhere in there. It's negligible, but yeah, so hadn't hit a million yet by myself and six other guys.

Tommy Cole: Yeah. you've reached your max, right? You're working 60, 70 hours a week. You're doing everything. I, I gotta send an invoice out. I gotta pay a bill, I gotta get the crews lined out. I gotta go manage job [00:06:00] sites, client request everything. You're like, I gotta find somebody. I think Chris Psencik did a really good job, and he's like, okay, hold up, Chris, what do you got going on?

Chris Winkler: Yeah. Yep, yep. Absolutely.

Tommy Cole: And so, and, and Chris steer you in the direction of how about we do books? Right. And what was the importance of, of that decision of doing bookkeeping? It, I, I wouldn't think it's your strength, correct.

Chris Winkler: No, no. I mean, I worked with numbers like 14 hours a day, but it was not in the sense of, you know, I guess a financial aspect. And so I'm thankfully that we did go that route because. I didn't even know if I could afford to hire

Tommy Cole: Yeah, what could you afford? Is it, yeah, is it a full-time? Is it a part-time? Like, you know, one person, two people who knows?

Chris Winkler: Yeah. And I think that was the biggest thing was just like, number one, I knew what I could afford and turns out it wasn't that much. But You know yeah, that, that was, that was huge getting set up that way.

And through covid, y'all's team helped me figure out the whole [00:07:00] PPP situation and get me through that.

Cuz my books were now correct and so when I went to a bank, I said, boom, there's my P&L, there's my balance sheet, we're done. And I had the funding within, a week basically.

Tommy Cole: Yeah. And, and I don't think you would've gotten any, any sort of PPP loans if, if you didn't have that prepared or anything else. Or making business decisions is what we call it. Right. And you're still with McFarlin on the books as of today, correct?

Chris Winkler: Yep. A hundred percent. You know, I, I deal with my bookkeeper on a daily basis. Probably one of the very first people I talk to in the morning, and sometimes she's one of the last people I talk to at night, unfortunately, or maybe fortunately I don't know. But so yeah, no, it's, it's great.

Tommy Cole: yeah. You know what's great is probably the accountability piece.


Chris Winkler: it's difficult for business owners to be held accountable cuz we never have been.

Tommy Cole: What a better way to be held accountable with. Every single day in the expenses and the cost of good [00:08:00] sold that, that's going through your business to know your numbers and where everything goes. I love it. So, three quarters of a million. You're rolling in with the bookkeeping Covid hits and I think you joined ACEs at some point in 20, no, 21, right?

Chris Winkler: Yes, that's correct. Yes.

so, I went to summit in Beaver Creek.

Tommy Cole: yep. Beaver Creeks. You're ready to jump in. How's that experience?

Chris Winkler: It's been great. I hosted recently back in January, which that was like, I'm sure we'll get into that, but that's been like a whole huge, massive help for me. But You know, seeing what people, what your peers are doing is super helpful, but then also identifying problems that other owners have and you're like, you take a step back and you're like, holy cow, I have that problem too.

And, I think to me the best way to learn something is through practice and. What better way to practice than to see someone doing something that you are doing and it's so simple to fix and then you can go fix it [00:09:00] now cause you've seen it. It's been a fantastic experience.

Tommy Cole: So what's a takeaway or two for you to say, because I joined peer groups. This is, this is huge for me.

Chris Winkler: So one of the things I, I think for me is I've learned that you cannot do everything by yourself.

Tommy Cole: Love it.

Chris Winkler: You know, it, it takes a team, whether it's just your day to day when you're here or when you're gone for the three days to go do a, a peer group visit. Like you have to rely on your team to be able to keep the business running. there's no chance that I could run 400 jobs or, you know, whatever from 14 hours away. So, yeah, I, I think it's just. Rely on other people to help you is probably the biggest thing.

Tommy Cole: Chris, would you say you're a control freak,

Chris Winkler: Totally. A hundred percent. It's not even, not even close. Let's see the other way.

Tommy Cole: so it's hard to let go, right?

Chris Winkler: Oh yeah, yeah, yeah. Definitely.

Tommy Cole: when you hosted [00:10:00] back in January, that was a big buildup for you and your team, correct? I mean, getting everything ready and lined up, you're hosting your. You know, 11 other business owners tell me what it was like getting ready to host and have these business owners come into your business and see every nook and cranny that you could possibly ever imagine.

Nervous, excited, not sure.

Chris Winkler: Yeah, no, it was there's definitely a lot of anxiety involved. I am kind of a perfectionist. And it's like when you have people over to your house, right? You don't wanna have all your dirty dishes out and all your dirty laundry just laying on the couch or whatever.

So for me that was, that was kind of the same thing with the business. You know, there's probably a few things that we had been putting off. Around the facility and it essentially, it forced us to do it. And but it was, it was really good. I think the team also appreciated it as well. Because a lot of the guys, you know, they see you jetting off, you know, for three days and they [00:11:00] think, ah, Chris's going on a vacation. He's going to,

Tommy Cole: he's going fishing.

Chris Winkler: he's going to Galva-Kansas or something like that and he's gonna go have a good time. And You know, what they don't realize is like, no, you're actually there. You're, you're putting your, your mind to work for three days to, to try and make things better for them and, and for them to see that. I think it made things a little bit more real for them. I mean, these are all guys that worked for, you know, the, the big dogs in the landscape industry. And so they understand what the landscape industry is.

But then for them to see, you know, a small owner operator like situation, trying to make their company, you know, real. And legit it was, it was big for our team.

Tommy Cole: So we got a little story to tell. This is greatness. One of the biggest takeaways from you hosting your peer groups was this thing called the phone answering.

Chris Winkler: Yep. Yeah.

Tommy Cole: So we, I guess your entire peer group called you out on it and, Tell me about what happened when you got called out and [00:12:00] tell me the results and the accountability that you were held to, to make sure that action item was done up until I saw you last week and they asked you, please confirm this is done.

Take me through that experience.

Chris Winkler: Yeah. So I've been kind of handling all the phone calls, you know, for the last seven years And So that was a little di bit difficult to let go. You know, I, again, the kind of control freak in me. But our administrative assistant, Naomi you know, she's excellent. She's, you know, very talented and smart, and I just had not relinquished that responsibility. For, for really no reason other than just want to control everything. And so one of our peer group members, Jeff You know, he we were sitting there after everyone had came, come and visited and they asked me about the phone and you know, who answers it? And I was

Tommy Cole: You know the answer. You know where they're.

Chris Winkler: and, and so Jeff, Jeff called the, the office phone. And of course my phone, you know, started ringing right then and there. So [00:13:00] I think it was pretty much at that moment I think I maybe stepped out or even sent a text message like, Right away. I said, all right, transfer the phone. You know, and I think by the next day the phone was off, off of my cell phone.

So no, it's been great. we've seen, the increase in like captured leads is probably 150% or more, you know? Cause I'd be driving around, I'd get a call and I'd be in my truck and it's like, man, I can't write and like, don't really wanna pull over. I'm in a, you know, bad spot. And so I would miss that lead piece of paper and get lost to my truck and we can capture that now.

Tommy Cole: You, you were under utilizing your, your office admin

Chris Winkler: yeah, definitely.

Tommy Cole: in order to capture that and then make decisions. It's, it's very common in owner operator businesses that we see. And I know we were together last week and I think Jeff or someone asked you, okay, so if I'm the, if I'm left to call the company phone number, what's gonna answer? And you said, [00:14:00] not me.

Chris Winkler: Yeah.

Tommy Cole: that, that was great news cuz your peer group members were holding you accountable to make sure you get that thing done and your capture rate is much better. You know I think you're working on an intake form so that Naomi knows what to say and sort of how to get a feel for what the clients are wanting, whether it's it's your ideal client or not.

Chris Winkler: what else, what else did you learn from that site visit that is making you much better? Not that you've accomplished, you know, everything on that site visit that was discussed, but what's another good example from having gone through that?

You know, I think it, it falls in the same track of me trying to do everything myself, but just letting people do the jobs that they're hired to do. I shouldn't have to check back behind every single thing.

Like he's a professional, he knows what he's doing. I don't have to go check every site. I found myself doing the same thing today. I happened to stop in town. I've been out all last week and stopped by a site where one of my managers was. I talked to them for a [00:15:00] second and I was like, oh, I'm gonna go check and see what the back looks like.

And I was like, no, don't go do that. Because if there was a problem, he would tell you, I don't need to be the one that goes back there to check it. That's not my job. That's his job. And so I walked over to my truck and got in and went and took off, took down the next thing on my list for the day. So, yeah, it It was mainly just letting people do the jobs they're hired to do.


Tommy Cole: Love it. So take me back to these, phone calls that you have, these accountability calls. That are reoccurring every month. And what that means to you to get on a call and, go through your updates and, your list of items that you're working on as a business owner, how does that help you?

Chris Winkler: Well, number one it's just good to talk to someone else that's in the industry that doesn't work for, you know, us. So it's just a good general conversation about the state of the business. But number two, if I. Say, well, hey Tommy, you know, we got this fantastic lead that came across this huge commercial [00:16:00] development that I'm really gonna go after.

Well, next month Tommy's gonna say, well, Chris, how, how did that, how's that lead going? And if you didn't follow up on it, Tommy's gonna. Call you out cause like that's a missed opportunity for you, but it's like, it's something you said you were gonna do.

And so you know, same thing. One of my accountability partners who was having some issues needs some managers and we had talked about it on one of our calls. And then actually sure enough, just this last week when we saw him at our peer group visit, he was able to report that he did in fact get those managers hired.

so it's, it's like, it's just good to have someone who's maybe not your wife, girlfriend, or someone within your own company to hold you accountable. It's like someone that's across the country or maybe even across the state is holding you accountable for something

I wanna make sure that I at least try and get that done.

Tommy Cole: That's great. So where you were was owner operator, right? And then you've made several key hires along the way. You know, some of it's [00:17:00] been through McFarlin

Chris Winkler: Yep.

Tommy Cole: Some of it's been locally. So tell me about your experience of growing your business with bookkeeping involved and, and recruiting and now peer groups, like, talk about the growth of your business in these few short years.

Chris Winkler: Yeah, so revenue now I think we're on track to be somewhere between $3 million and $3.2 by the end of the year.

Tommy Cole: So you went from three quarters of a million to 3 million in a few years. That's a ton of growth.

And now you got managers.


Chris Winkler: yeah, I do. Um, it's great. Yeah. So you know, initially we worked with the recruiting team at, at McFarlin and we were able to get in you know, a great hire from a company up in the Pacific Northwest. And it was great because I, I specified the type of individual that I was looking for.

I, I wanted someone who had worked for a large company had large company experience, which as a small business owner, especially like brand new in all this, having someone that's [00:18:00] worked in the systems and processes of a large company is huge.that's, to me, that's how. you're able to level up is you gain the experience of someone that's done it somewhere else.

Right. So you're not doing all the work, putting those systems and processes in place. you're not letting that person come in and Use their systems and processes to help you grow. So that's been great. You know, we made an internal hire internal promotion I guess. So that was good for us as well cuz it showed our team members that, hey, there's an opportunity for you if you, you come in, you do the right thing and you know, you really wanna be a part of this.

So that's been great. And then we just made another hire through the recruiting team.

It was during Grow the Grow Conference. When we signed

Tommy Cole: Now I remember that you were excited and pumped up at that moment.

Chris Winkler: yeah. Yeah. Cuz it was, a person that has probably been doing this longer than I've been alive and with one of the largest companies in the US when they had three trucks.

So he's seen what it's like to go from [00:19:00] very small to extremely large. So again, it's, it's getting people that have been in the place that I want to go is what, what we've been doing.


Tommy Cole: That's great. it's been going from owner operator

Chris Winkler: Yeah.

Tommy Cole: to managing people. You know, no one has signed up to say, Hey, I wanna manage people. Well, you know, we, like I was said before we get in this business because we like to do great things with our hands you know, install beautiful. Landscapes and you know, take care and maintain landscapes. That's what we got in the business for now. Now we're managing people. what's one or two takeaways of have you been able to manage your team, what makes you good at that?

Chris Winkler: well, number one, I've been a part of sports teams at the highest level. you know, NCAA division one, you know, power five football. Like I see what it's like. I've, I've seen what it's like and I've been a part of it. So I understand what, what it takes to you know, work as a team. It's not anyone individual. [00:20:00] It doesn't matter if you've a Heisman Trophy winning quarterback, you still gotta have guys that catch the ball, right? So, and guys that the block for him and guys that stopped the other team from scoring, so you know from that aspect, it's, I guess it's not been simple, but I understand like how to get people motivated.

We could have had a hundred days of a hundred degree weather and to be able to get people to still come in and want to do the work and they could just say, no, screw it. You know, I'll sit at home in the AC for the day, but. They want to come in and, and for the most part, I think we've been pretty successful of having people wanting to be here.

You know, some days it's like herding cats. You know, I think we all have those days, but other days it, it can run like a, a well oiled machine. So just finding that balance.

Tommy Cole: Yeah. Being an attractive place to work, right?

Chris Winkler: Yeah. Yeah.

Tommy Cole: Yeah. And it all starts with the leader up top and who, who wants to work for 'em? I got a funny story. So when you hosted, what was the first thing that you did as we showed up at your [00:21:00] shop that you were doing that you knew are no longer doing?

Chris Winkler: So I led the training session. We do a, we have maintenance training every Tuesday morning, and my visit was Tuesday morning,

Tommy Cole: Yep.

Chris Winkler: and yeah, I did the, I did the maintenance training that

Tommy Cole: And what did you do in that training?

Chris Winkler: I walked through the proper pruning techniques for the different types of plant material that we would see in the field.

Our spring comes a lot earlier than everyone else's, and so we were getting ready to start doing spring cutbacks and so we walked through that that process. Whenever I had a, you know, a maintenance manager right next to me that could have easily, you know,

Tommy Cole: Yeah,

Chris Winkler: Done the exact same thing probably better as well. So I haven't done one of those since then, thankfully.

Tommy Cole: then, you have not,

Chris Winkler: No, not at

Tommy Cole: wow. Good for you.

Chris Winkler: yeah.

Tommy Cole: Now you're checking on that person, right?

Chris Winkler: Oh yeah, yeah, yeah.

Tommy Cole: manager? Yep.

Chris Winkler: Yep.

Tommy Cole: You.

Chris Winkler: either that person commercial [00:22:00] maintenance manager will do it. He'll do it in Spanish. Or the guy that we internally promoted, you know, he'll do a session on you know, safety in the field or something like that. So we switch it up on who leads the leads, the training session. But it, it's definitely not me ever. So that's That's great.


Tommy Cole: That's great. So Chris, we've talked a little bit about the past, you know, what you were before and, and sort of what's going on in your business currently.

What's the future l look like for you in, in Coastal Scapes? You know, we, we talked about this last week. I think we've had some communication back and forth a little bit.

It's been exciting to hear your vision. And when we talk about vision, you know, that could be, you know, a year from now or multiple years from now, like, You could agree three years ago you had, there could have been no vision, none.

Chris Winkler: I think three years ago I was ready to drive to Mexico and just like not tell anyone.

Tommy Cole: jump off in the ocean, like we said. Right?

Chris Winkler: Yeah. Yeah.

Tommy Cole: So we're talking vision now, which is a big, big part [00:23:00] to where, where you've gotten to the day. Walk me through that. what's the reason behind that and what's the future look like for you guys?

Chris Winkler: So you know, I really have felt like there were just days that The guys felt extremely directionless. I was like, I, I've gotta establish a a vision. And, you know, talk about it because otherwise no one would know what we were working toward.

Tommy Cole: Yep.

Chris Winkler: So I went through set aside some time, one of, during one of the work days I was by myself and I set kind of some longer term goals. You know, one year, it's not that long term, but, you know, three years, five years, 10 years. And then I. I wrote kind of like a 20 year goal. It wasn't, it was just numbers based.

It wasn't, you know, wasn't anything in there cuz anything could happen. But it was a 20 year like anniversary. Like, so

Tommy Cole: Okay.

Chris Winkler: at year 20 for Coastal Scapes.

One of the things for me is we'd like to start making some acquisitions and open up some, some more locations. But we can't do that if, number one, we don't grow top [00:24:00] line revenue. But number two, if we don't grow our bottom line revenue and all of my, like long-term goals had some kind of bottom line revenue or bottom line goal associated with it.

Whether it was, you know gross profit, labor burden You know, net profit, whatever. It was understanding that, okay, if you don't have all the, you know, the, the bottom line stuff in order, the top line is just no good. Like, just become a ATM machine at that point. So, which is, I, I've been there, I have recently been there.

So you know, so getting that in order, but we wanna do some acquisitions start to maybe, I don't know, See us in some other areas along the gulf. But we also had some you know, alright, we want to focus in on commercial maintenance only outside of a main branch location. residential would be really hard to do from a multi-location standpoint.

maybe 10 years from now I'd like to, you know, have a COO and a CFO on staff [00:25:00] because that's gonna also help drive acquisition. and then, you know, other things like, I want to have our operation being supported by an in-house nursery, you know, direct from supplier aggregates, and we're doing our own mulches and soils if, if possible you know, to help increase our bottom line.

Like I specifically said I wanted to do that stuff to help increase our bottom line. Just cut off the middle man. I was a middle man for three years, so I, I want to cut the middle man out as, as much as possible. And then, you know, looking forward to like, okay, what does 20 years for Coastal Scapes and business look like?

I have one that's a reasonable, like, oh, you know this, may sound unreasonable, but. It's doable. And then I have like, okay, Chris just wants to hate, hate himself for the next like 15 years. but if you don't set those goals, then you just have nothing to go for.

I want to go get, I wanna go after that 32 million.

Tommy Cole: Yeah.

Chris Winkler: Give yourself just something to shoot for.

Tommy Cole: Yeah. Are these goal, are these, are these posts [00:26:00] anywhere or shared with your team or what?

Chris Winkler: Yeah. So I presented them to our team. One of our weekly production meeting, And then I presented these and we also did a financial meeting as well.

And so now what we're working on is getting the signage made for our building. So it's, posted and set in stone. And when the guys walk in every day, they know, okay, that's what we're working for. It's like what is, what is Notre Dame? That little sign they slap, like, be a champion today, or something

Tommy Cole: Play like a champion

Chris Winkler: play like a champion today, right? So, you know, Notre Dame, their goal is they wanna win a national championship every year. So what do you gotta do to do that? You have to play like a champion just one day.

Tommy Cole: Yeah, that's great. You have a lot of football analogies. You must like your team.

Chris Winkler: Yeah, no, well, some of us you know, win Big 12 championships and Others are just middling. SEC, lowlifes, you know, but you know who I'm talking about,

Tommy Cole: No, it's great. I, I love [00:27:00] football analogies. They're great. I love to watch the sport, especially college. There's some great analogies, you know, I feel like, you know, you're the head coach.

Chris Winkler: yeah.

Tommy Cole: You know, does the head coach get out there and snap the ball?

Chris Winkler: No. not at

Tommy Cole: coach get out there and give him the play?

Well, sometimes they might give the play, so, you know, are they out there ordering equipment? No. You know, and, and so you have these managers, which are offensive coordinator, defensive coordinator, special teams coordinator, wide receivers, coach. That's your team that you gotta build and you gotta get 'em ready for game day, fortunately.

Our game days every day. Right. But the amount of planning that goes into one game a week for seven days is unbelievable. Right.

Chris Winkler: Yeah.

Tommy Cole: love to take some comparisons there and I, I strongly believe you do the exact same way, which is great for you, It's been so great. Chris, what's one, what's one takeaway that you leave us with going?

Oh, wow, man. You know, joining ACEs has helped me. do what? [00:28:00] Help us out here before we close up.

Chris Winkler: Yeah, I think it's just ACEs has been solid. Number one, it it's allowed me to network with individuals across the industry who run really good companies. they wouldn't be there if they weren't good companies. You know, they're, they're trying to make themselves better.

And I think. You know, being able to talk to you know, a person like Michael Hupf or you know, Gene Freeman of the world that have companies, you know, like what I want to be has just allowed me to, one, keep my head up and know that hey, there's other people around there that have gone through the exact same thing that you've gone through.

And if you Number one, stick it out. But number two, use your network through the peer group and your support that your peer group gives you. You can make it, you know, you don't have to do it by yourself. And I think that's, that's kind of the biggest thing.

Tommy Cole: Very much so, you know, pre ACE group, pre McFarlin right. You know, you and I are great friends. We, we'll send text [00:29:00] messages all the time about random stuff, whether it be football or business which is great. But quite frankly, you didn't really have anyone. It's not like you can go share this stuff with your buddy that is in sales for manufacturing.

That's just totally different, right? Your buddy could be a doctor a lawyer. They don't have an idea what you're going through at all. And the fact that you've you're young, I know you're really young cuz you put a 20 year vision together. So, but there's, there's an idea of, of I wanna network my network myself with a lot of.

Great people that have, you know, ride the bumps along the way and failed along, along the way and been successful along the way, and partner up with them and try to get some insider information of what to do and what not to do. And so the likes of, you know, the Gene Freemans and the Michael Hupfs of the world has, has helped you tremendously.

People in your peer group program and, and everybody else.

Chris Winkler: Yeah

Tommy Cole: Chris man, thank you so much for joining us.[00:30:00]

Chris Winkler: Yeah. Absolutely. Well, I appreciate y'all having me on and appreciate all the help.

Ready to take the next step? Download our free Profitability Scorecard to quickly create your own baseline financial assessment and uncover the fastest ways to improve your business. Just go to McFarlinStanford.com/scorecard to get yours today To learn more about McFarlin Stanford our best in class peer groups and other services go to our website at McFarlinStanford.com And don't forget to follow us on LinkedIn, Facebook, and Instagram. See you next time on the Roots of Success.