- Jordan Tong Returns Home To Lead Frantz Building Services
- Three Generations Of A Family Owned Business
Successful Family Business Secrets
- The Future Of A Commercial Cleaning Company
Part three of this four-part article looks at how the company built on its successes.
Jordan sometimes wonders if he should have gone to business school. But he knows his engineering degree provided him with essential technical and critical-thinking skills.
Besides, Jordan read like a business student in his leisure anyway. Dave Ramsey, Zig Ziglar, John Maxwell, Jim Collins — they were his business idols and his eventual inspiration.
As a business mind, Jordan says he was mentally prepared to lead the family business before his father ever approached him about the subject.
About a year and a half after Jordan had started with a construction firm out of college, Mark asked Jordan what he thought about returning to Owensboro to work for Frantz Buildings Services. Jordan was a little hesitant. He already had a good job, plus he and his wife, Sarah, liked living in Nashville.
Ultimately, it was the right decision for Jordan and his family.
Kathy remembers Sarah, who is also from Owensboro, jumping up and down and shouting, “We’re going home!”
Jordan’s addition to the company has been seamless and his ascent rapid.
“I came back just as kind of a manager, just to help out with some stuff in operations, which I did. I also helped out with some stuff in sales,” he says. “But really I was just given the room to kind of find out where I fit in the company.”
Jordan ultimately proved most helpful in executing Frantz Building Services’ expansion plan. The first expansion branch, in Evansville, Indiana, in 2008, was resounding success, thanks in large part to the business philosophies Jordan had absorbed and refined. One particular strategy, garnered from Michael Gerber’s “The E-Myth,” was to treat expanded company branches as if they were franchise locations of the original company.
“One of the things we wanted to do was replicate what we were doing in Owensboro. … In order for us to do that, we had to kind of figure out the DNA of what we were doing and what was being successful, kind of standardize, which I think a franchise would be a good way to think of that. If you go to McDonald’s in Owensboro, Kentucky, it’s the same experience you get if you go to New York or Los Angeles or China. You get the same hamburger with the same lettuce and the same cheese. Everything’s the same.”
The company’s second expansion, this time to Nashville in 2010, was a bit more tumultuous, partly because of the greater distance from Owensboro. Jordan took it upon himself to manage that new branch, temporarily uprooting his family back to Nashville for about six months. Within a couple years the new location was also profitable.
Around the time the Nashville branch opened, Jordan took over as the face of the company. He says there wasn’t an official passing of the baton. Rather, Mark and Jordan felt it would look good if the president of the company was the one working with new clients in Nashville — and that was Jordan.
That, says Jordan, is what made his father a great business leader. Mark had taken the company further than Bernard had, but by then it had reached something of a plateau. New leadership was necessary to bring Frantz Building Services to the next level of growth, says Jordan.
“I think this is the essence of what makes a good leader is that they realize their shortcomings and what they do is try and surround themselves with people that can make up for those things,” he says.
That’s not just a son flattering his father. Brian Lewis, Frantz Building Services’ vice president of operations, who has only been with the company about three years, sees the same thing.
“Especially with family business, it’s very easy to grow to a point where it’s kind of comfortable and continued growth can be more of a headache than anything,” he says.
If Frantz Building Services has ever reached that point, says Lewis, it has been Jordan’s fresh set of eyes and entrepreneurial mind that have pushed the company back toward growth.
Three Generations Of A Family Owned Business
The Future Of A Commercial Cleaning Company
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