WD Partners has increased its revenue by 630 percent over the last six years.
“For me, the key is you believe in what you’re doing,” says Doerschlag. “You put your heart and soul into it. I am very fortunate in that I cannot see myself doing anything else.”
Smart Business talked to Doerschlag about how he expanded the company’s offerings and why that has been so successful.
Q: Why did you increase the number of services you offer?
To address a need in the industry. I really enjoy what I do and I feel very fortunate. It is not about the financial aspect. It’s about being able to put together an innovative business model to provide value to our clients.
I really get excited about being able to provide innovation and working with smart people and finding a better way. I’m really passionate about that. It motivates me to be able to pursue that end.
Q: How does offering multiple services set you apart?
In the space that we serve, multi-unit retail, it is typically serviced by a highly fragmented professional-services industry. We have been very fortunate that, due to timing and due to the growth of our business ... it’s really something that has allowed us to financially be able to pursue that focus. Being able to add all of the services to specifically address the need of our end user has allowed us to differentiate ourselves and bundle together more services to offer an integrated solution.
Q: How are you able to specialize in each area when you provide so many services?
The way that we look at the world is we look at the end product. Our end consumer is a multi-unit retailer. We use that as our focus. We specialize in all the different areas of the business that are required to provide services to a multi-unit retailer. We really spend a lot of time in learning and development areas of our business to ensure that we are always pushing the envelope and always asking ourselves, ‘Is there a better way?’
That’s a big part of our culture not settling for the status quo. That just continues to push innovation in each area.
Q: What challenges do you face when you add new services?
The challenge is always organizational change and being able to adapt your organization to ... service the client’s needs. We’ve been fortunate enough that in our culture, change has essentially been embedded in our DNA. Our culture is more adept at change than most business cultures because we have lived with change for such a long period of time. That is a result of fast growth.
Q: With more than 500 employees in offices throughout the United States, how do you get them to buy into your vision?
It takes continuous work. What we have recognized is that it is a full-time job, and that it is my role. When you are in a leadership position, you need to understand the benefits that unity of culture and unity of brand bring to an organization and the impression that you make on customers. It is definitely a challenge.
It definitely takes bandwidth to do that. And you need to make that bandwidth available by, as the old adage goes, surrounding yourself with people who are better than you, primarily surrounding yourself with people who can take care of the operations component of the business. Then you can be the czar of culture and bring that unity together.
We hired 100 employees already this year. We have a decentralized office network, so it really puts added burden on that role and responsibility. It’s a continuous effort to align (employees’) expectations with what their role is and what the goal for the company is.
Q: How did your company continue to grow and expand even when the economy was doing poorly?
I think it is the focus on the niche that we are in and being able to offer a unique solution set and add value to the customer’s process. When the economy was doing poorly, we were adding services and expanding what we offer.
Q: What advice can you give to CEOs of other fast-growing companies?
I have learned the lesson so many times that you never want to compromise in regard to a key hiring decision. If you have any doubt whatsoever, you need to wait for the right person to come along. Really rely on your gut instinct. That has been a big key for us.
HOW TO REACH: WD Partners, www.wdpartners.com