Interview with Greg Porter - President of LGI Industrial
I was born in Washingborough, Lincolnshire England and immigrated to Canada in 1975. I graduated from High School in Port Coquitlam in 1984 and continued on my post-secondary education at Kwantlen College. As a young man my career choice was with the police service which reinforced discipline and team play.
These attributes along with creativity and a lack of fear to act have proven invaluable attributes to my success. I have two wonderful boys, and three equally wonderful step-daughters, all of whom amaze me with the gifts they really are each and every day. They are always ready to bring me down to earth at any given time with their playfulness and their honesty. I originally settled in Maple Ridge when I purchased my first home at the age of 19.
Since that time I have moved around the country a few times with business. I moved back to Maple Ridge in 2003 and have remained here since, now along-side my best friend and partner Jennifer. I very much look forward to sharing my lessons and successes with others as they embark on a new and exciting career.
BTB - What’s the story behind LGI?
Greg Porter - LGI was born from my recognition of a good opportunity and the ability to act. Several years ago, after having worked very hard in the industry for other companies, I saw an opportunity to service my clients with a product outside the scope of my then employer. Very quickly I learned that I was able out manoeuvre my competition by providing world class personal service and focusing that service only on what I had to offer and how it could benefit existing and prospective clients
BTB - What made you decide to franchise?
GP - After years of developing and continually perfecting a successful system of doing business within our industry, I would consistently think about different ways to potentially spread this system and grow the company. After having studies various ways of growing corporately and comparing it to the franchise system, the franchise system simply made more sense to me. I believe that there is no one more motivated than the individual small business owner to ensure the success of their business. Now LGI people will have the ability to teach and learn a way of doing business that I have worked hard to perfect. With further input from current and future franchise operators, our system will grow and become even better over time. The best part about this is that everyone benefits and prospers.
BTB - Tell us a little about your industry?
GP - The industrial and construction supply industry is somewhat of an old world industry. There are many players, both suppliers and competition that have been around for many years. Our primary customers are manufacturers, utilities, and commercial construction companies. The clients that we sell to are quite diverse. Some of LGI’s customers manufacture products or provide services that are for our local market while others may provide a product for markets overseas. During certain economic conditions and seasons some businesses may slow while others may become busier, all of which provide a greater degree of stability for LGI. LGI continues to thrive and gain considerable market share every day by simply offering world class personal service and in-depth knowledge of the products we sell. We are a solutions oriented company which often allows us to offer something substantially greater to clients and potential clients alike. We have always focused on what we “can” accomplish rather than what we cannot. Our “can do” attitude, combined with our desire for win/win relationships, is a key component to our success. We assume nothing in our industry and simply outperform our competition.
BTB - What have some of the challenges been in growing your franchise?
GP - We have a great team growing our franchise program. While it has been a lot of work getting things to this point, I have to say that I am thoroughly impressed with the dedication of the team and the results. I know that we have a great product to offer and a great team to support our franchisees.
BTB - Who has been your greatest inspiration?
GP - Everyone I come across is inspiring to me in some way or another. I think there is something to learn from every transaction in life. In business I am thankful for the many lessons along the way. When I was growing up, my parents ran several small businesses and always worked very hard. In those days we didn’t have computers and my parents would always be “doing the books” at the dinner table. I learned that hard work did indeed pay off. As a young adult I grew the corporate ladder quickly. I loved what I did and worked hard all of the time. The number of hours I worked were barely considered and I always had a lot of fun. As I continued to grow and learned from the different companies I worked for, I also learned the importance of family, both organizational and personal. Ultimately this balance along with the ability to recognize good opportunities lead to the birth of LGI.
BTB - What are some of the advantages in being an LGI franchisee?
GP - LGI is one of the most progressive leading suppliers in our industry. We are seen by our customers as a breath of fresh air. At LGI we are not simply order takers but rather solutions providers. LGI is known to work hard for their clients building positive and honest relationships. Put simply, we have a system that works, and the rewards are substantial for those willing to invest the time and dedication to grow their business. The franchise system is unique to our industry which provides unparalleled opportunity. As our program grows so will our recognition as true partners in the industry.
BTB - What “Gadgets” (Blackberry, IPhone, IPod, etc.) can’t you live without?
GP - I truly appreciate what many of the newest gadgets can do and the time they can save. However, I don’t allow them to consume a great deal of my time. I still feel that direct personal contact is the way to go.
BTB - What do you do in your spare time?
GP - Most of my spare time is enjoyed with my family and friends. Fortunately I have a wonderful partner in life who, herself has a keen passion for and sense of business. Together we enjoy spending time with our children and ensuring that they can be the best that they can be.
BTB - What advice do you have for someone looking to acquire a Franchise?
GP - First, look at how successful the business has been to date and why. Second, look at the owner(s) motivation for franchising. Before I decided to franchise LGI, I spoke to a number of franchisees from differing market sectors, including several friends that had bought franchises with varying degrees of success. Those that were successful were well supported by the franchisor along with a strong corporate business model. If I were looking to buy a franchise, as with any business, I would want to see a track record of success. The franchisor must have a long term sustainable business plan, a complete understanding that the franchisee’s success is their success, and the fortitude to make things happen. I know that LGI has consistently proven this for the past several years.
BTB - In your opinion, why do you think that (LGI) would be a great opportunity for someone?
- We have the proven track record of being highly successful in our market.
- The customers we service and products we sell are quite varied allowing us to be flexible through changing economic times.
- While financially rewarding, the job function itself of helping other businesses is equally rewarding.
- Being part of the LGI team will be a positive and rewarding experience. You will receive guidance along the way and recognition for your hard work.
- LGI has a great team of individuals ready to support and help ensure the success of each franchisee.