Ralph Slaske – Owner of Slaske Building Company

The Fire Starter Sessions,” by Danielle LaPorte is a book every aspiring entrepreneur should consider reading at some point. I know I have benefited from it quite a bit over the years.

As the owner of several different businesses related to the homebuilding industry, Ralph Slaske is able to lean on the kind of comprehensive knowledge and experience necessary to create truly unique custom home designs. With an approach that focuses on providing turnkey homes to clients, Mr. Slaske’s entrepreneurial endeavors have eased the process of building a custom home to a significant degree. This client-centered approach also extends to the design of the home itself, as Mr. Slaske has long believed in the importance of providing completely original home designs for clients rather than presenting a few “cookie-cutter” options from which to choose.

Operating out of the Northwest Ohio area, Mr. Slaske has served as the president and owner of Slaske Building Company, known in the community as Slaske Builders, for over a decade, and in recent years he has expanded his entrepreneurial interests to include Perrysburg Kitchens and More, Slaske Enterprises, Inc., Adjm Equipment and Perrysburg Management Inc. The multitude of businesses owned and operated by Mr. Slaske have enabled him to design homes according to the highly specific requests of clients, and clients are appreciative of the fact that Mr. Slaske has created a one-stop design center in which just about every component related to the homebuilding process is readily available.

Where did the idea for Slaske Building Company come from?

I worked as an engineer before founding my company, and the idea was borne out of a sincere desire to leave the corporate world behind. After I built my own home, I knew that I could put my skills and expertise to good use for others in the Northwest Ohio area.

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

It really depends on the individual day. I might be on a construction site supervising a build one day and in the office going over a custom design with a client the next. I feel that my productivity is directly tied to my desire to create something unique for my clients that also meets their practical needs.

How do you bring ideas to life?

It always starts with the initial consultation. We discuss all the design elements and bounce ideas back and forth until we hit on something that the client feels comfortable with. We then draw up a specific plan for client approval and make changes or modifications as requested.

What’s one trend that really excites you?

The economy is really starting to trend in the right direction for homebuilding, which means that I will be even busier than usual.

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

I know that clients who are in the process of buying or building a home are making a massive investment, and it is important to me to make sure they get the best possible home for their money. That means being creative and being consistently committed to an incredibly high standard of quality.

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

I spent several summers working 10- or 12-hour days as a mason’s assistant and the first summer consisted of hauling wheelbarrows full of concrete from the mixer to the site. It was exhausting, but I learned a lot about construction in general and developed an understanding of the value of a full day’s worth of labor.

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

I would have founded the other businesses earlier than I did. Being able to offer comprehensive services has really benefitted the clients.

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

I try to stay in constant communication with clients to make sure we cover all our bases and create a home that is ideally suited to their specific needs. Talking through ideas over and over again is really helpful when it comes to helping a client realize the options available to them in order to decide what would be best. Of course, there is such a thing as too much communication, so striking a balance is essential.

What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business? Please explain how.

Being client-centered in everything we do has been the best thing for the health of the business. Custom homes represent a big investment, and it is completely understandable that clients want to be sure their money is in good hands.

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

I founded Slaske Building Company just a few years before the recession really hit hard, and that was a difficult time to navigate. I quickly learned that there is always a demand for high-quality work regardless of the industry or the current economic climate, so I have remained committed to that principle ever since.

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

One of the more frequent requests I have been getting on custom homes has been related to the inclusion of sustainable sources of energy or the use of environmentally friendly practices. A business centered on solar power or other renewable sources of energy is going to thrive in the near future.

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

Given my engineering background and my current work as a homebuilder, the Wavetek Meterman 37XR multimeter I recently picked up has been entirely worth the $100 I spent.

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

We just added new CRM software that has worked out incredibly well, and I have always been quite fond of the design software we use during consultations. Our customers especially appreciate the detailed plans and visuals we are able to create through our software.

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

The Fire Starter Sessions,” by Danielle LaPorte is a book every aspiring entrepreneur should consider reading at some point. I know I have benefited from it quite a bit over the years.

What people have influenced your thinking and might be of interest to others?

I have always been inspired by Jim Brown, but not only for his impressive accomplishments on the football field. I always appreciated the fact that he left football while still in his prime and on his own terms to pursue a new career even though he could have continued to dominate the game.


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