Olans and co-founder Lee Masover created TRG in 2000 as a one-stop-shop for retailers who need to open new stores in a hurry. TRG provides clients with every service connecting with opening a store, from the original design to computer installation. And because it is involved with every aspect of the process, Olans says he and his team become an extension of the client’s company.
TRG is growing at a rate of about 30 percent a year, and the $25 million company has helped Weight Watchers, T-Mobile and others open new locations customized to their needs.
Smart Business spoke with Olans about he builds relationships with his clients and maintains quality as TRG grows.
How do you communicate your mission and vision to employees?
They have to understand the fact that the chain is only as strong as the weakest link. If anybody falls down on the job, then the whole process will basically crumble. Every individual needs to be a strong link in that chain so that everything goes off as smoothly as possible.
We like to talk about the fact that no matter whether we are doing our first store or our 100th store, that the experience on the part of the client has to be the same. There is no letting down and saying, ‘Well, it’s our 100th store, we don’t have to worry about performing to the same degree.’ We feel, and our customers feel, that we have to hit it out of the park every single time.
How do you build close relationships with your clients?
Most people in the store fixture business (are) specialists. Those companies only care about their one particular specialty, so they’re given a set of drawings ... they produce what is on those drawings and don’t go any further than that. They’re strictly acting in a role of a supplier.
We’re acting in a totally different role, which is we are now becoming an extension of the company we are working for. The first thing that we do, and we tell our clients this upfront, is we learn their business. We take whatever time is necessary to truly understand what they’re trying to accomplish, so that whenever anyone is dealing with them, it’s as if they are dealing with us. It’s one continuous loop.
How do you learn a client’s business?
We sit down with the key people in the organization, because our success is going to be predicated on having them available to us. We don’t just want to meet with the head of real estate or the head of the construction department. We want to meet with as many top-level people as we can, because we want to make sure that they understand that our success is driven by a buy-in on their part.
We spend quite a bit of time out in the field. If they have existing locations, spending time with them and asking them questions and trying to gather as much information as we possibly can, both good and bad, in terms of the experiences that that client has had [is important], so that we don’t make the same mistakes that have been made previously.
How do you maintain quality?
It’s something that is actually inherent in what we do. It’s what runs through all the individuals who work in our company. If everybody is not perfuming at a top level, then they don’t stick around very long. It’s a team effort, and everybody has to be performing at a high level.
It’s the extra things that you do. We speak with our clients on a daily basis, more typically multiple times on a daily basis. We really maintain close contact.
There has to be a very good fit between what we offer and what our clients needs. We’re very selective in terms of the clients we take on. We want to make sure that what we are doing is what they need and also works in terms of what we do.
We are not a price-driven company, though we are extremely competitive. If someone right out of the gate has cost the No. 1 issue, we say, ‘Thank you very much, but that’s not what we’re all about.’ We’re all about value and service and being that extension of that company, as if we were sitting right there in their office.
HOW TO REACH: Total Resource Group, (847) 329-7900 or www.totalresourcegroup.com