At age 15, Luis Garcia came to the United States from Nicaragua with big dreams. On his way to achieving those dreams, he
spent nearly four years working at a concrete company while attending school before deciding to start his own business. It was
hard work, he says, but in his first week, Garcia, the sole employee of Adonel Concrete, earned $700, twice as much as he had
at his previous job. Twenty-three years later, the company is South Florida’s largest privately owned concrete supplier, with six
plants, 250 employees and $60 million in 2006 revenue. Smart Business spoke with Garcia, president and CEO of Adonel
Concrete, about how following your dreams and putting the customer first can lead to success.
Dream. Before you set a goal, you have to
have a dream. If you don’t have a dream,
you won’t have a goal. You have to have a
dream and try to dream big.
You have to believe in yourself, and you
have to know where you want to get. When
you know where you want to go, then you
can set your goals to get there.
Build relationships with employees. I’ll make sure that my employees know how important it is to realize that my success is thanks
to their dedication and hard work. We do
this through an Employee of the Month
and Employee of the Year awards and
other prizes and recognition to the best
employees. When you have those employees share your vision, you have their full
The relationship is built on communication. When I hire somebody, I look for a
positive, can-do attitude and chemistry.
There must be some type of connection
between me and the person that I’m interviewing. I have to have that inner feeling
that enables me to be comfortable with
I don’t hire people from the first interview. I let them go, I think about it, I call
them again, I think about it, and then I call
Delegate. Multitasking is very good and
important, but I think learning how to delegate is the key. You make mistakes when
multitasking, and you realize that down the
Learning how to delegate starts from the
first time when you hire someone and the
way you train someone. Make sure that
they learn your culture and think like you
do. Some of the things that contribute to a
healthy culture include being open-minded
and listening to different opinions from all
walks of life. Encourage employees to
share different ideas with each other and
always feel the freedom to be able to
change for the better.
Get employees to think like owners. It’s very important that, that person thinks like the
owner or the president or the manager because once that person is thinking like
you, then you can delegate to him or her
because you know that he or she thinks
Right at the beginning, you have to give
100 percent to your customers, to your
business, to your employees. You have to
open and close the business, you have to
be a workaholic and pay your dues. You
have to pay in order to play later on.
When you do this and are able to take
time for vacation and family and yourself,
that’s the result of being successful and
being able to manage your time the way
you want it.
Put the customer first. I try to create an environment of friendship and an environment
of trust. That way, when they have to
choose to give the next job to a concrete
company, you have built trust and confidence in the relationship, and they always
come to you.
You have to be honest. Try to get the customer to know you and know that you are
a person that they can trust. You have to
make sure that they believe you, the person, and not the company because when
they start believing in you, they start believing in the company.
Make sure that your company has the
philosophy that the customer is the No. 1
person in this business because if you don’t
have your customers, you don’t succeed.
Save for hard times. You make money, you
reinvest. Do not try to pull a lot of money
out of your company for pleasure or any
other thing. Reinvest, reinvest. Always
invest in your own company.
What is poor management? When people
start pulling money out because they
haven’t had a good year, and the next year,
they spend the money, and the next year,
they have a bad year, and they’re struggling.
You have to take it one year at a time.
Don’t think that every year is going to be
the same, and try not to spend the money.
Take 10 percent and invest 90 percent, and
if you have a bad year next year, then you
have money to make it and be safe.
Know your business and your peers. The best advice I can give to a new CEO is to know
your market, know your customers. Be in
constant communication with them, and
research their needs and how they are
expanding. Learn how to read the market,
smell it and how to feel what’s going on.
Develop a pulse of your market and always
know your competitors.
Learn how to walk in your customers’
shoes so you can help them become winners.
Put yourself in the customers’ place
before making any decisions. You start to
think how they think. Every day is a learning experience that has helped me understand more about my customers.
Become friends with your customers and
that will build a strong relationship that
will give you the edge. Good relationships
take you to the next level.
Surround yourself with successful people
and learn from them as much as possible.
Pursue your dreams, set your goals and
stay focused, especially on customer service. And work real hard.
HOW TO REACH: Adonel Concrete, (305) 392-5416 or