If you are just getting started with The Great Game of Business, let me begin by saying that last year I was you: sitting in the audience at The Gathering of Games, at the beginning of our Great Game journey. Fast forward a year, and we are a 2018 All-Star Rookie of the Year finalist.
It has actually been about two years since I was first introduced to the Great Game of Business, and I can easily say it has changed my life and our company.
I have owned, managed or worked in about ten companies since I started my first one at the ripe old age of 17 years as a junior in high school. I have seen my share of good and bad and everything in between over those years. I have experienced lots of ups and downs in the economic cycle since 1974. I have been divorced twice and bankrupt once.
This company, Advanced Services for Pest Control, started from scratch back in 1986. We struggled, clawed and sweated our way to $1 million in gross revenue by the end of 1996. We had 74 competitors and we were #75. By around our 20th year, we were the marketplace leader. Today, out of nearly 1,500 pest control companies in Georgia, only four independently-owned companies earn more gross revenue than we do. I would say that by most measures we have succeeded.
Like many of you, I have made a million decisions in the 32 years since co-founding Advanced. Adopting the Great Game mindset was one of the most important decisions that I ever influenced.
We ended our first GGOB year February 28, 2018, only a few months ago. Since adopting this system and ingraining it into our culture, we have doubled before-tax profit - even though we paid out $118,000 in bonuses during that fiscal year. During the same period, we even increased our base pay and improved our benefits. Literally, like magic, all that we do and the way we do it improved, including everything on the revenue side and controlling our gross cost.
Leading a Great Game company is a special experience. My perspective is from the position of the non-working owner since June of 2016. I have benefited from having the best leadership team imaginable over the last several years. When they learned about the GGOB system, they were on board and all-in from the start. We had always struggled to find a way to get everyone on the same page and working towards the same goal. The Great Game of Business fit this desire perfectly.
Because it has made such an impact on my business and my life, I love to spread the word about the value and benefits of the Great Game system every chance I get. I am excited to be leading a breakout session at the Gathering of Games conference with two of the people who were key to our Great Game success. In our session, Dena Thomas (our president), Shelby Guilfoyle (our CFO), and I look forward to walking through our implementation experience from start to finish, sharing insights on how we won, and continue to win, with The Great Game of Business.
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