Founded in 1982 by the late Doug Vander Poest, Slug-A-Bug in Melbourne, Fla., has enjoyed 2020 sales growth despite the challenges that COVID-19 has presented. President Steve Lum, who was hired by Vander Poest in 2005 and has been in the industry since 1990, attributes the success to an attitude of seeking constant improvement for the company.
“It’s our intention to create a culture and make it exceptional,” he explains.
Several years ago, the company adopted Rotary International’s “Four-Way Test of the things we think, say or do,” which asks, before an employee interacts with another person:
- Is it the truth?
- Is it fair to all concerned?
- Will it build goodwill and better friendships?
- Will it be beneficial to all concerned?
Lum notes the company also adheres to “five core values that go hand-in-hand” with the Four-Way Test:
- Caring for customers and co-workers like family. “This means caring to an extraordinarily high degree, which is no small feat,” he admits. “It challenges us daily. It’s not always easy to care like that on a personal level in a business environment.”
- Caring for our community and the environment. “We take our role as environmental stewards seriously,” Lum says.
- Personal accountability, responsibility and empowerment. “When we’re all personally accountable, responsible and empowered, there’s no blaming others,” he says.
- Personal development and training. While businesses have a responsibility to develop and train their people, Lum points out, employees “also have a responsibility to develop themselves.”
- Wealth through profit and growth. “There are many types of wealth. The bank balance is only one type, and it’s temporary,” he says. “The bottom line is, every transaction must lead to profitable growth and/or some kind of other wealth. Wealth is abundance of something desirable and valuable to you. That may be money, friends, security, and/or happiness.
“Make every transaction profitable in some way,” Lum adds, offering as an example, “One smile can create multiple smiles in return. That’s a profitable transaction with significant growth.”
Lum predicts Slug-A-Bug will continue to grow organically and through acquisitions in the coming years.
“We have a focus on increasing density, both in our areas of strength and in our fringe areas,” he says. “We’ll continue to discover and create innovative ways of doing business, while staying true to our core values.”
HEADQUARTERS: Melbourne, Fla.
2019 REVENUE: $6.6 million
PROJECTED 2020 REVENUE: $7.3 million
PROJECTED INCREASE: 10%
STEVE LUM’S BUSINESS TIPS:
- Do what you love, love what you do. Find and develop others who will do the same in your company.
- Discover great people. Test them, trust them, work alongside them, believe in them and admonish them — in that order. Do this, and you will almost never have a major people problem.
- Create experiences for your clients. Don’t just sell them a standard operating procedure. A robot can adhere to a protocol! Find employees who enjoy caring for people and taking pride in excellence. Then, take care of the people who take care of your clients. Treat them as equals.