Never stop learning. You have to invest in yourself.
Indiana native Josh Warren is the President and CEO of WarrenCo Construction & Paving. WarrenCo is Indianapolis’ largest direct-to-consumer residential concrete company and one of the fastest-growing asphalt companies in the region.
After many years of owning and managing strongly-branded start-ups that ultimately became scalable multi-million dollar companies, Josh Warren along with his father and brothers, decided to launch a concrete/asphalt company with a vision of doing business a better way. Warren’s focus on branding, marketing, advertising, systems, operations, production, quality control, true service, providing real value, and total business development — which he admits is an “inside-out” approach to the typical construction company start-up — had immediate success.
Currently, WarrenCo Construction & Paving installs approximately 1,500 concrete/asphalt projects annually and does around $7.5 million in gross sales. Ultimately, Warren’s goal is to build a company that his family will own for many generations to come.
Warren has a three-year-old daughter, and his brother and business partner, Marques, has three boys from five to twelve. The four of them, along with many nieces, nephews, and cousins, whose parents are already part of the WarrenCo team, are currently laying out the groundwork for the future, and ultimately securing the imminent legacy for a brand that you can count on being around for many decades to come.
Where did the idea for WarrenCo Construction & Paving come from?
We were working for a company that had a real “old school” mentality. Every day I just saw things that could be done a better way. I learned a lot about what didn’t work at that place. Eventually, I rounded up my team, and we went to work building a better mousetrap.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
I would say that I spend most of my time acting in the capacity of a sales manager. I’m very hands-on with that part of the business because it’s what I enjoy. Outside of that, I focus on big ideas. I try to make sure my time is spent on things that will make a huge impact.
How do you bring ideas to life?
If I come up with a big idea, I research the heck out of it. Once I decide that it’s a winner, we take massive action to put it into play. We have a great team here to implement and execute our new ideas.
What’s one trend that excites you?
I like software technology that’s geared towards construction. I’ve seen some really nice 3D rendering software for designing spaces that excites me. It’s a great way to be able to transfer ownership to the customer mentally. It allows us to bridge the gap from what we’re envisioning and what the customer is expecting.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
I would say my decisiveness. I’m able to make decisions quickly. Too many entrepreneurs are afraid to make a decision, or they spend forever making a decision and change it at the first sign of distress. You have to be confident in your abilities and make a decision. I’ve always been okay with having the final word and being held accountable for the results. I think that any leader in any capacity has to possess this trait.
What advice would you give your younger self?
I would tell a younger Josh Warren to start getting serious about your business and your investments earlier, and maybe spend your money a little differently. I look back, and I think, man, if I would’ve just started 15 or 20 years earlier.
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
My father always told me that I don’t manage my money well. I use to say back to him, “I don’t manage to make enough money.” I don’t believe that you can save your way to being wealthy. I’m confident that you have to go out and create opportunities that will secure your financial future, and then put that capital to work for you in multiple ventures.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
Never stop learning. It’s imperative that you continually educate yourself. I’m always researching to develop myself. You have to invest in yourself. I’ve been doing this on a large scale for quite a while, and I believe I will continue to learn more daily than anyone I know of.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
I think it’s my ability to “see around corners”. I’m able to predict trends and make moves accordingly. I accurately forecast what’s next, whether that be within this current business or whatever other ventures we explore.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
My family and I owned a chain of wireless retail stores. It was a very successful business for a short period of time. We had an outside partner that took us to the cleaners. We moved past it. We learned from it. It made us better business people. We were better equipped moving forward with our future business ideas.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
One that I don’t see myself getting around to in the immediate future is the business of commercial asphalt milling. Buy a semi, trailer, and Wirtgen milling machine. There is a significant amount of money in this industry and not nearly enough competition. All the work is fed to you. It’s a great business. If anyone is looking to put up the capital for this business, I’m willing to be the brains behind it all.
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
I would say the best $100 I spent was on Grant Cardone. It’s already turned into $100K, but it started me on the path that’s creating a company culture that is worth tens of millions.
Another one that comes to mind was our Joist software when we first started. We did $12M with that app before we needed more.
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?
Salesforce, hands down. We have the $500K version and wrote our own logic for it, but nonetheless, it’s still built on Salesforce’s platform. It has given us the ability to automate and scale our entire company, exponentially.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
Be Obsessed or Be Average by Grant Cardone. It covers the mindset required to break the mold and take you to heights you never thought possible.
What is your favorite quote?
“You can have everything in life you want if you will just help enough other people get what they want.” – Zig Ziglar.
● Go out and create opportunities that will secure your financial future.
● Having a great team helps you to be more productive.
● Never stop learning.
Steve (Stefan) Junge hails from Germany and helps with the day-to-day publishing of interviews on IdeaMensch. While he and Mario don’t share a favorite soccer club, their enthusiasm to help entrepreneurs is a shared passion.