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JetCo Federal Secures Spot on Inc. 5000 List

JetCo Federal ranks No. 2960 on the Inc. 5000 with three-year revenue growth of 133 percent

GRAND RAPIDS, MICH (August 12, 2020) — Grand Rapids-based supply chain management and warehouse supply company, JetCo Federal, was recently ranked by Inc. magazine in its annual Inc. 5000, the most prestigious ranking of the nation’s fastest growing private companies. The list represents the most successful organizations within the American economy’s most dynamic segment — independent small businesses.

JetCo Federal, a local woman-owned small business, was ranked no. 2960 with three-year revenue growth of 133 percent.

According to Sue Tellier, President at JetCo Federal, the growth is attributed to the niche they credibly hold with their customer base.

“Our successful and extensive experience with the Department of Defense earns respect from warehousing decision-makers,” said Tellier. “We embrace complex supply chain challenges, we deliver on time, and we offer blunt, creative ideas that resonate.”

Not only have the companies on the 2020 Inc. 5000 been very competitive within their markets, but the list as a whole shows staggering growth compared to prior years. The 2020 Inc. 5000 achieved a three-year average growth of over 500 percent, and a median growth rate of 165 percent. The Inc. 5000’s aggregate revenue was $209 billion in 2019, accounting for over 1 million jobs over the past three years.

“Our significant growth doesn’t surprise me. We have tenacious employees and a scrappy, no-whining culture,” said Tellier. “We’re not done growing, either.”

Complete results of the Inc. 5000, including company profiles and an interactive database that can be sorted by industry, region, and other criteria, can be found at www.inc.com/inc5000.

JetCo Federal Unveils New Website, Expanded Services

JetCo Federal, a supply chain management and warehouse supply company, has unveiled a new website that showcases the company’s expanded products and services.

“For more than 13 years, government and commercial customers have trusted JetCo Federal to reliably deliver high-quality products,” said Sue Tellier, President of JetCo Federal. “The expansion of our capabilities, as showcased on our new website, will allow us to serve a larger customer base while still upholding our commitment to supplying the highest quality products both now and in the future.”

JetCo Federal’s expanded products and services include warehousing, storage, packaging design, kitting, and a larger selection of warehouse consumables. The new website can be viewed at www.jetcofederal.com.

JetCo Federal Office

Our First Government Contract and Where We Are Now

JetCo Federal’s first government client was the Michigan Department of Corrections. They didn’t just need packaging and industrial supplies – they needed a contractor to deliver these supplies correctly. Delivering to a correctional facility is exceptional. The driver must be cleared by law enforcement and may not carry tobacco, a cell phone, or any type of weapon – this includes a multi-functional tool like a Leatherman. The delivery hours are very limited, and every delivery can be postponed or canceled if a lock-down or other security breach requires it. Delivery rules are strict as well. Every truck must leave empty for security purposes, and there are multiple steps in the delivery schedule.

This first client was not an accident. Neither was the second, a complex packaging solution for critical items for the Army. From day one, we didn’t want the easy projects.

In those early days, the company had two stubborn, hard-working, scrappy employees. (It was my husband Jon and I.) Today, we have 12. And I’ve been fortunate to hire in accordance with our values. Every employee we have wants a challenge and takes them on with diligence and scrappiness.

Our clients today are remarkably similar to the original ones in 2007. (Actually, some are the same clients. We earn repeat business. Bragging and proud.) The projects are bigger because we can handle much more scale and our supply chain is deeper and wider.

It’s interesting to me how much the government experience matters across the board. Most of our non-government clients chose us because of our government success. They assume that if the Department of Defense (DoD) trusts us, they can as well. This is a safe assumption, as the DoD expects extreme quality and delivery capabilities.

Recently, I had a proud moment. We were gathering some metrics for our new website, and I saw how many secure deliveries we’ve made in our 13 years of operations. (And we maintained a 98% on-time delivery rating.) We’re still a small business, with the mindset that we’d rather be great at our niche than ginormous. (Check out Small Giants by Bo Burlingham to dive into this topic.)

A small business with mighty capabilities. That’s how I want our customers to regard us. We didn’t want the easy projects then, and we don’t want the easy projects now. Complex is what we do best, and we’ll keep doing just that.

 

References

Burlingham, B. (2005). Small giants: Companies that choose to be great instead of big. Penguin Group. http://www.smallgiantsbook.com/

Big Impact from Small Businesses

This is a challenging time for small business owners. The unpredictable, ever-changing nature of our economy due to the global pandemic causes ambiguity for employers and employees. Many service providers are sending multiple alerts each day, flooding our inboxes with well-intentioned information.

So many of my close friends are other small business owners. We’ve been talking, commiserating, and sharing online about the horrible options in front of us. Some had to close in the early days of the pandemic because of the nature of their business – they are hospitality or salons or gyms. I’ve heard their pain in having to close or severely curtail operations. It’s heartbreaking to watch affected companies and their leaders make difficult decisions about shuttering or temporary layoffs.

Silver linings for small businesses will become more evident with time. A few have already jumped out.

  1. It becomes VERY obvious if a small business is working with the right partner for accounting and insurance. I’ve sent thank you emails to our CPA, Rehmann, and commercial insurance company, BHS. They’ve really killed it with timely information, giving it concisely and intuitively. Our banker at Macatawa Bank has also reached out proactively to ensure we have all the information we need and has calmly and quickly responded to any questions.
  2. Small businesses support other small businesses. This is demonstrated with our purchasing decisions and through information sharing and support. I’m having a weekly virtual happy hour with about a dozen women who own businesses in Michigan (Sheri Welsh, Welsh and Associates; Gina Thorson, Stormy Kromer; Rebecca Cox, Savant Group; Lorri Rishar, EDGE Partnerships; Ginny Sherrow, Fenton Winery and Brewery; Sassa Akervall, Akervall Technologies; Anita Abrol, Lewis Knopf CPAs; Sue LaBonville, Allis Information Management.) It’s therapeutic, and can make us all feel less lonely about the tough decisions.
  3. Standout employees show their stripes. I can’t tell you how impressed I am with my team. They are working tenaciously to support each other, step in where help is needed, and become even more intense. We have coffee mugs that say “No damn whining.” Their actions show these aren’t just words.
  4. Inspiration is EVERWHERE. Two very close friends, Gina Thorson of Stormy Kromer and Sassa Akervall of Akervall Technologies (who are part of my weekly virtual happy hour), retooled their manufacturing operations to make masks, gowns, and face shields. This kept their employees working, and flattened the impact of closures on their revenue streams.
  5. Sharing talent and time matters. Every text I’ve gotten from a business owner friend, I’ve responded quickly and helpfully. They’ve done the same. (Kim Bode, Jennifer Jurgens, Jason Dodge… the list goes ON.)Crisis breeds creativity.

Small business owners are creative as hell.

Leaning in During a Global Crisis: Steps Organizations Can Take

In his 1986 letter to shareholders, Warren Buffet wrote, “Occasional outbreaks of those two super-contagious diseases, fear and greed, will forever occur in the investment community…The timing of these epidemics will be unpredictable…Therefore, we never try to anticipate the arrival or departure of either disease.” He then penned one of his most famous lines, “Our goal is more modest: We simply attempt to be fearful when others are greedy and to be greedy only when others are fearful.”

Buffet was talking about diseases of mindset, but his advice has a wide application for businesses navigating their way through challenging economic environments. Greed is a universally pejorative term in the context of a global crisis, so it’s important to understand that the spirit of the advice is not that businesses should take advantage of vulnerable markets, but rather that they should temper responses based on general economic anxiety and continue to look for and make opportunities. In more updated terms: We need to lean in where others are leaning out.

The ‘how’ of leaning in is a little different for companies facing the prospect of a remote workforce, shutdown, or reduced activity in their sector. Increasing investment in core business activity is an easy goal but not always an attainable one. However, there are still steps that every organization can take.

 

Marketing

Marketing is one of the first expenses cut in uncertain times, but studies have shown that on average, organizations that maintain their visibility and customer interaction during downturns realize greater gains in market share. Audiences rarely disappear, but marketers may find that they have gone online or reduced their exposure to more traditional channels. Redirecting, instead of cutting, ad spend and assets can help increase marketing efficiency while maintaining or increasing share of voice and exposure. It also provides an opportunity to test messaging, find new customers, and perform research.

Partnerships

In times of high activity, organizations tend to focus on their own businesses, preferring to directly address as much of the market as possible to control competition. As one sector slows, however, another may need additional services that aren’t accessible without investment in equipment, expertise, or technology. In the absence of time or liquidity to address those needs, a willingness to work with complementary product and service providers can fill the gap to win opportunities that would not have otherwise been available.

Networking

A big part of leaning in is helping others do the same. Crisis creates opportunities to bring disparate organizations together and is one of the most reliable sources of health in the small business community. Leveraging our connections to create new ones between companies helps everyone succeed.

Following these steps can help add resiliency to organizations in the face of uncertain business conditions. Now more than ever, leaning in and utilizing the assets, networks, and resources already in place is critical, even when it’s difficult to see the opportunity.