James Havens

Small business owners are unique and they want to be hands on for everything, so you have to let them find the solution as a concept before you sell it for them.


James Havens is the founder of James Havens Contracting, a company that focuses on helping business owners navigate the complexities of recruiting and contracting temporary staffing in various retail industries. Whether the need is long-term or short-term, James focuses his attention supporting staffing needs of small family-owned retail stores.

James Havens believes it’s not just about finding the right people, but also helping broker the right agreements for success. If he’s not personally handling the client’s needs on-site, he make sure to manage all communications and follow-up with clients.

After logging many miles across the country as a field representative for various clients in small and rural towns, James Havens knows the importance of delivering cost-effective value to this undeserved market. With encouragement from friends (and even the occasional stranger), James recently decided to build upon his experience and passion for all things Texas and start a company that truly looks to support small and local business owners looking to take advantage of this tremendous opportunity of booming growth in North Texas – for smaller towns or more established areas like McKinney.

In his free time, James Havens likes to travel, in particular taking the occasional fishing trip, and despite being in Cowboy country, is a big Houston Texans fan. James is grateful for a life full of rich experiences through his life on the road, James makes sure to find the time to unwind by a recent interest in gardening.

Where did the idea for James Havens Contracting come from?

The idea came from spending a lot of time on the road as a sales rep for small companies. I noticed they struggled with the costs of putting on events or temporary projects and thought they could use someone with a focus on “the little guy”.

What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?

Meeting with clients, spending time at their sites to truly understand where the gaps and needs
are. Getting a feel for where the client has the greatest need is just by observation, but others its by rolling up the sleeves and experiencing it first hand before making a proposal.

How do you bring ideas to life?

Lots of questions. And relationship building. Small business owners are unique and they want to
be hands on for everything, so you have to let them find the solution as a concept before you sell it for them.

What’s one trend that really excites you?

Automation. It’s going to be the great equalizer and will help small businesses improve the customer experience.

What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?

Putting one foot forward at a time. It’s easy to develop the end goal in mind when implementing a strategy for a client, but having the discipline to draw out point by point is important.

What was the worst job you ever had and what did you learn from it?

Cold calling recent home owners to sell them additional insurance. I did not like having folks answering the phone and feeling like I already knew more about them than they knew about what I was selling.

If you were to start again, what would you do differently?

I would have been more open to new ideas earlier in life. Missed opportunities are ones that you refuse to listen to.

As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone
else do?

Find time to mystery shop your customers or clients. Personally. Don’t hire someone to do it.

What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?

We are starting new, but we think it’s never too late to rely on previous relationships – no matter how long the relationship has been. You may not get a sale, but you might get an idea or a lead.

What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?

Far too many to count. But not finding a mentor to start is the biggest regret. Eventually, you find one, but trying to learn from someone else who has done it, while you’re in the middle of it, is hard.

What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?

Don’t believe that anyone who tells you all the good ideas are taken, but this one probably
already is. My wild business idea is to create a version of Airbnb for motorhomes.

What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?

Ecobee home thermostat (it was more than $100) but pays for itself – every month.

What software and web services do you use? What do you love about them?

Too many to count. The problem with software is the amount of time required to make them all work, especially social media, so tools like Hootsuite are awesome.

What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?

Superconsumers: A Simple, Speedy, and Sustainable Path to Superior Growth by Eddie Yoon. It really hits a cord with what I want to do, which is help smaller companies find temporary staff to do their normal operations, so they can spend time on innovation of their business and creating their own niche categories of established. Super-loyalty doesn’t have to be just for the big brands. And it’s a fun read.