Jana Stolper, co-founder of Seatorque Control Systems, a marine propulsion system maker, loves the manufacturing process.
"We started our first boat manufacturing company in 1985 and it's been a journey ever since," she said. "We love the process of manufacturing, from concept to design, engineering and production. We bring in raw materials and send out finished products – it’s very rewarding. That's why I love this business so much."
Seatorque's main customers are yacht manufacturers and shipbuilders. "We make a unique propulsion system and a variety of marine products," she explained. "Whether it's fuel economy or hybrid propulsion solutions, every product we manufacture brings some performance and efficiency improvement to any boat that uses our equipment."
Seatorque does all its innovation, design and manufacturing in house at its Florida headquarters to drive its worldwide sales and support offices.
"We have a motto that close enough is not good enough and we apply that to every aspect of our company," Stolper said. "We are the only company in the world that manufactures our specific product line and our biggest competition isn’t actually another company, it’s in educating existing marine manufacturers that there is a better way to handle the propulsion system package that they're used to. There's a better, more efficient and streamlined piece of equipment out there."
Stolper's advice for aspiring entrepreneurs focuses on people and passion. "Surround yourself with good people and you have to love what you do," she said. "When that happens, you garner the respect and trust of your customers who are the ones who keep you in business. You have to have that passion and let that translate across to the people you're doing business with. For most entrepreneurs, it's not easy to delegate, but you have to do it to grow, so you need a solid team around you. Recognize and embrace the potential in your employees. Have an open forum to allow people to bring ideas to the forefront. The results can be extraordinary.”