Chris Williams is a 10-year veteran of the energy industry. He founded and is the CEO of CW Petroleum Corp (OTCQB: CWPE), a leading supplier and distributor of biodiesel, biodiesel blends, ultra-low sulfur diesel fuel, gasoline, and a proprietary EPA-approved reformulated no ethanol gasoline. Chris launched his company with $53 in his bank account and has been able to grow it to where it is today. He even took the company public in 2019 and is on an upward trajectory of growth. And the success can be attributed to his unparalleled attention to detail and customer-first mentality. CW Petroleum Corp continues to expand and further tap into the $4 billion isobutanol-based gasoline market while pushing its sustainability mission forward.
For more information on the company, visit https://cwpetroleumcorp.com.
Where did the idea for CW Petroleum Corp come from?
I used to work for a company called Platts/McGraw-Hill. They are a worldwide publisher of crude oil and refined products, as well as publications for various commodity pricing formulas. I actually use them today in my business, but I used to sell all their publications to other fuel traders and crude oil traders. I worked for them for a year and they were going to move my job from my hometown of Houston to a town in New Jersey. I couldn’t foresee myself moving to New Jersey at that time. Instead, I took my severance and I started CW Petroleum Corp in 2005. Then, in 2011, things really started taking off.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
I oversee the management of daily logistics and purchases, as well as bookkeeping. Each day is always very productive. As a CEO, it is important that I act as the glue that keeps everything together. Without the proper management of the systems in place, production would start to falter. I take responsibility, as the CEO, to ensure that every aspect of the company is operating effectively.
How do you bring ideas to life?
Generating new ideas is a lot of hard work, as well as studying and choosing the best course of action. Bringing these new ideas to life can be an even greater challenge. I enjoy talking to our directors for advice on certain things. We also talk to consultants that we bring in based upon select areas that we may need more knowledge in. So, just constant persistence when it comes to pursuing new ideas.
What’s one trend that excites you?
One exciting trend is the increase in sustainability in the oil and gas industry. While minds might initially think of just wind and solar energy in this category, there are several interesting developments on the horizon in the oil and gas industry that focus on sustainability, with an
increased attention on reducing environmental impact.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
I have made it a habit to pay attention to the small details, as well as making sure nothing falls through the cracks. Everything from keeping track of paperwork to tweaking large-scale guidelines requires the same amount of care and expertise. Although you may assume that smaller tasks don’t really matter, they actually add up in the grand scheme of things and can greatly impact your operations.
What advice would you give your younger self?
I would tell them to be more persistent in certain instances. When we are faced with difficult tasks, especially as young people, we often look for the easiest path or quit altogether. In many cases of success, persistence is key. There are many challenging obstacles in life, not just in the business realm, that can be overcome with a bit of persistence.
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
It’s all in the details. You need to follow the steps in order to get to the finish. You can’t skip steps. Each step has to be completely formulated and outlined. So, you execute each step as you go to your final goal.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
Pay attention to the details. But also, I think the biggest thing is educating yourself on the products you sell, as well as becoming educated on how the logistics are performed. You will also want to be educated on the various rules and regulations of products and services. If you become a steward of all those, then you can basically separate yourself apart from some of your competitors. You will know exactly where these products, fuels, and services go, as well as be able to explain that directly to your customers.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
Don’t be afraid to make slow progress. This allows you to make sure that you have the resources to work through things financially. Then, make sure you have the customers to support it and start building a relationship with those customers. Be open and honest with your suppliers on your growth, so they can make sure that they continue to deliver you goods and services to support your customers.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
One failure is that I provided credit to people that I shouldn’t have. In this day and age, it can add up very quickly as a loss and hurt your business. It is important that you work alongside people that you can trust, as this could really make or break your business plans. Measuring trust levels can be a challenge sometimes, especially for new entrepreneurs, but it is always helpful to go with your intuition.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
Open up a franchise restaurant with half of the store as an Einstein Bagels so you can have breakfast, and the other half as a Berryhill Baja Grill so you can have tacos and margaritas for lunch/dinner at the same location. You never need to leave.
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
I spent $100 on dry cleaning, a shoe shine, and new elegant business cards. A freshly pressed suit makes all the difference when it comes to first impressions.
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?
Adobe Acrobat is what I use the most. There are many different purposes it serves. I think that’s one tool that I couldn’t work without.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
I would actually recommend for someone to roll up their sleeves and do something hands-on. There is a lot of power in learning while doing.
What is your favorite quote?
The devil is in the details. I use it all the time. It’s my favorite quote and I use it to this day. Basically, it means something could be misleading at first glance. You really need to look into the finer details in order to properly understand something. Skimming important things, especially when it comes to business practices, will never fare well.
- Generating new ideas is a lot of hard work, as well as studying and choosing the best course of action. Bringing these new ideas to life can be an even greater challenge.
- One exciting trend is the increase in sustainability in the oil and gas industry. While minds might initially think of just wind and solar energy in this category, there are several interesting developments on the horizon in the oil and gas industry that focus on sustainability, with an
increased attention on reducing environmental impact.
- When we are faced with difficult tasks, especially as young people, we often look for the easiest path or quit altogether. In many cases of success, persistence is key.
- The devil is in the details.
Carlyn runs the day-to-day publishing operation here at ideamensch and interacts with our awesome customers and entrepreneurs. She is likely editing this with a cat on her lap.