D’Lea (Dee) Nichols ….a family of entrepreneurs that expanded their home-based business Unishippers into a top leader in the 3PL industry. They started off in their house, using baby monitors to communicate between rooms. Today they have been business for 26 years, worth $12 million and have employed over 100 people. www.unishippers.com
Beginning in 1990, Dee Nichols the oldest sibling and President, joined her Dad, brother, sister and her brother-in-law in the business they had started in Houston. But as they began to grow and their operations more sophisticated, they knew that they could only be successful if their business kept evolving. The next step was adding more territories and building an office where they could hire and set the foundation for more rapid growth. The family started with a small territory in Houston and over the years they grew to own Belmont, Waco and Brownsville. They can share insight on being small, going large and the successes and challenges of expanding business and employees. In 2005, they built their own three story building because of the growing success.
She can share how to frequently check in on the health of the business, to grow cautiously and stay focused on what works. Dee is especially qualified to speak about this given the upheaval she’s experience in her industry over nearly 30 years. She can discuss some of the challenges they’ve had to adapt to as the industry itself grew and how they kept ahead of their competitors.
She can share what drives their annual growth and how they use 5 critical success factors to measure themselves (sales, margin of profit, collections, expenses control and customer service). She can discuss what they’ve learned about customer service, how to adjust to generations, how to work with family, etc. Dee has won several awards and has been involved with creating call centers to help other franchisees and was the President of the USA franchisee association. What made you and your family want to get started in the 3PL industry?
Do you have any entrepreneurial advice for people just starting off with their home-based businesses?
What were some the successes and challenges of growing as a business?
How do you keep work and life separate if you work with your family?
What does Unishippers do?
How has the business been able to survive with the ever changing 3PL industry? What are somethings that the business changed to keep up with the industry?
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