Hire great people and trust them.
Joe Egertson is the CEO of Sheer Logistics, which was founded in 2009 with transparency in mind. After 25-plus years in the transportation and logistics space, he and his partners aimed to form a company that could make processes simpler and serve both its clients and employees. Today, Sheer is a rapidly growing and trusted logistics service enterprise.
Where did the idea for your company come from?
We saw an opportunity in the logistics marketplace. Brokerages, trucking companies, and intermodal firms dominated the market, providing third-party logistics and transportation-management systems to bolster their core carrier business.
Based on our carrier experience, we knew the precarious balancing act necessary to please both company and customer. In truth, third-party logistics is nearly impossible to manage without at least some strife. When we had the chance to create an organization focused on transparency, we went all in.
Sheer is committed to ensuring clients know exactly what they pay for, with no exceptions. Rather than trying to balance out conflicting goals to pad our bottom line, the Sheer team is dedicated to working in the best interest of our customers.
What does your typical day look like, and how do you make it productive?
I spend the bulk of each day working to grow our company. This includes creating new service offerings, supporting customer relationships, working with strategic partners, and other day-to-day duties. Given all of these duties, it can be difficult to stay productive. I try to focus on one task at a time and not move on to a new one until I’ve wrapped up a project.
How do you bring ideas to life?
We put a lot of effort into the vetting process. When we have new ideas, we test the market by reaching out to our customers and employees for feedback. We then formalize ideas by documenting our service offering, evaluating its value to the customer and our company, and drafting financial estimates.
What’s one trend that really excites you?
Technical innovations are hitting the logistics space more aggressively than I’ve ever witnessed. Significant investment by nontraditional players has created tremendous efficiencies, and the environment is ideal for Sheer because of our willingness to invest in leading-edge technology. We have been willing and able to become experts, routinely integrating new technologies into our “one-stop shop” for supply chain technology and services.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
Earn the trust of employees, customers, and suppliers. Granted, this is easier said than done. The best way to earn trust is to give people every reason to believe in you. Let your actions speak for themselves, and always follow through on anything you say you’re going to do. Transparency is at the heart of Sheer for a reason.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business? Please explain how.
Hire great people and trust them. In my past business life, I worked with a company that treated employees as “warm bodies.” This culture transferred directly to the overall staff attitude, creating an environment of distrust. People stopped caring, and they didn’t try to take charge of their own careers. I have since learned that a trusting and respectful relationship with employees sparks motivation and growth.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
Investing in a service offering that didn’t produce the results I expected. We’re still working to overcome this mistake, so it’s hard to say whether our approach has been successful.
What software and web services do you use? What do you love about them?
I’m a huge fan of MercuryGate TMS and Tableau, but HubSpot’s CRM system is my new favorite. It gives us visibility and accountability, allowing us to look at our sales and marketing efforts to see how they affect our company. It also fits well with the overall transparency our company culture embraces. Particularly across our sales team, this transparency creates the trust that forms the bedrock of Sheer’s business.
What advice would you give your younger self?
Hire salespeople earlier in the process. We were intentionally lean when we first started Sheer, and I was able to focus on only the “whales” that required my immediate attention. We’ve had tremendous growth over the years, but it has been difficult to break that pattern. It wasn’t until recently that we were able to invest in a dedicated sales force. By focusing on seasoned talent who bring years of industry experience, we have created a solid foundation for hiring and training new hires.
What is your favorite quote?
“If you tell the truth, you don’t have to remember anything.” — Mark Twain
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Mario Schulzke is the Founder of ideamensch, which he started a decade ago to learn from entrepreneurs and give them a platform for their ideas.