Entrepreneur: Joe Carter
Business name: Snyder Environmental, North Little Rock, Ark.
Years in business: 12
Website address: www.snyderenvironmental.com
Snyder Environmental calls itself a "steward of tomorrow's environment." The company, which specializes in taking "environmentally challenged" buildings and transforming them into safe structures, does everything from asbestos and mold removal to fireproofing and structural improvements. The company's dangerous work also involves removing asbestos, lead-based paint, hazardous chemicals and underground storage tanks. Joe Carter has been CEO of the company since 2008. He tells us how technology has affected his business and what he believes is an entrepreneur's most valuable nontech skill.
BND: What problem were you hoping to solve with your business?
J.C.: Making the environment cleaner and more hospitable for our communities.
BND: What technology (or technologies) has made your business possible?
The methods related to HEPA [high-efficiency particulate absorption] air filtration and technology related to employee personal protective equipment, such as respirators and suits, are critical for safely performing our jobs.
BND: What technology can't you live without?
J.C.: The smartphone is the single most important tool we have. Our ability to communicate significant amounts of data virtually anywhere, anytime has become absolutely essential.
Emailed customer-satisfaction surveys are also critical insights of information. They let our team know what we do right and what we do wrong. Having this information is very helpful for managing the tactics of our strategy.
BND: If you could hire one extra person right now, what would you have him or her do?
J.C.: Manage a CRM [customer relationship management] and prospecting database. We do this now, but too many people touch it for there to be meaningful continuity. Ownership is fragmented, and the results tend to vary from week to week.
BND: What technology do you wish existed that doesn't?
J.C.: I would like to see more cost-effective solar-based electrical generation. It's improved dramatically, and we know improvement is coming, but solar cost-effectiveness is still largely determined by state and federal subsidies.
BND: What app are you relying on most right now?
J.C.: Flipboard. The assimilation of global news sources for exactly the topics that interest me — generally, short, efficient stories — is very helpful in making informed decisions.
BND: What technology do you think is the most overrated?
J.C.: The older I get, the more I value real interpersonal communication that doesn't involve binary code. I don't know that social media is "overrated," but I am mildly troubled by the potential consequences it will have on human relationships over the long term.
BND: What's the most valuable nontech skill an entrepreneur needs?
J.C.: Integrity. You would be amazed at how rare this trait has become and how far just doing what you say will set you apart from the competition.
Originally published on Business News Daily.