Larry Bull, founder of Createch Machine and Design, is a veteran business executive who jumped over to entrepreneurship because he wanted to build something of his own and reap the rewards from his hard work.
"I was a C-level employee with several large companies during my career," he said. "I recognized after 10 years at my last company, that I was going to continue being a high paid employee without the opportunity to earn equity in the company. At that point, I was willing to trade a paycheck for equity and I also wanted to feel the pride that comes with having built something of your own. I realized that if I was ever going to do something on my own, that I should do it. I found a small company to acquire that manufactured multiple spindle drill heads. Then I made several acquisitions of other niche players in the drilling and tapping industry over a seven-year period."
Createch was formed through the acquisition of six small companies in the industrial machinery manufacturing vertical focused primarily on the niche industry of drilling and tapping as it relates to manufacturing, not oil drilling. The company also manufactures aftermarket, automatic fluid-exchange equipment.
"We focus on providing other manufacturers with machinery that allows them to manufacture their parts more efficiently and cost effectively," Bull explained. "Our best customer is one who brings us a product they make and asks us make a machine to manufacture that product in a better way. We also have a standard product line that, through application engineering, can be used for a variety of things. Since the recession of '09, we've experienced 10 percent growth year over year. In 2014, we were recognized as an Inc 5000 fastest growing small company in America."
Bull's advice for aspiring entrepreneurs is to develop a strong foundation of skill before striking out on your own.
"There are three legs of the entrepreneurial stool: finance, sales and operations," he said. "You've got to be pretty competent in at least two and then hire competent help to assist you on the other leg. It's very difficult to be successful if you don’t have those strong competencies. Practice with someone else's money and get the necessary expertise in at least two areas. Then look for a business that compliments your skillset and knowledge."