To date I have either started and sold or bought and sold nine companies including DOYLES. Not one of those companies was on purpose. In other words, I didn’t deliberately start the company because it was something I was passionate about. In every case it was opportunistic. I saw a problem and wanted to fix it, or I thought I could buy a business and fix it, revolutionize it, etc. Furthermore, no business I have built has been something I was passionate about, which has come as a recent revelation to me. Being driven is different than being passionate. I’ve always been driven, however only now am I beginning to think about what I’m passionate about and what my purpose is in life. In part I think my purpose is to promote transparency, acceptance, and do the right thing hoping to influence others to do the same. It’s an exciting time for me as I continue to reflect on my life and dream about what the next chapter will look like. For some “reason” I think it may include horses.
Today was my first day on the job for my new employer. I felt like a stranger. I was asked by a senior manager to explain my role, and I struggled to articulate it. There was an awkward tension in the room to start, but things smoothed out, and we had a progressive conversation. The company is much larger than any company I’ve ever owned or run, and it’s full of smart people. A colleague of mine told me today that business development guys don’t really do anything. I hope that’s not true.
My Father, Doyle Henderson, died on September 21st, 2005. A few days later I called a meeting with approximately a dozen employees to let them know that they would keep their jobs through the balance of the year, and during that time, I would determine the fate of the company. Over the next three years, the company experienced exponential growth, made multiple acquisitions, employed hundreds of people all over Texas, and won many fans along the way. We treated our employees well, serviced our customers with conviction, and paid our vendors on time.
A few months after a highly strategic acquisition (mid 2008,) we were in trouble, and didn’t event know it. We were in a vacuum. Our cost structure was too high, and our backlog, AR, and sales were all shrinking. When we began to realize we needed to act, we had burned through millions and discovered our inventory was highly overvalued. Our credit was cut off, and tough times were imminent.
The past few years have been very taxing on many. We’ve lost good employees, let stakeholders down, stretched vendors, and have made many mistakes along the way. However, I’m proud of what we have accomplished, and am truly grateful to have shared the experience with so many people along the way.
Today, the name DOYLES still humbly stands for what matters most; doing the right thing.
Our CFO recently gave me a book called No Man’s Land by Doug Tatum. To my amazement, I realized that I’m not crazy, and that everything spinning out of control is actually normal when you take a company from 10 employees to 200 in 3 years. It’s interesting to think that a company can actually be profitable month to month, but have negative cash flows. Simply put, this book identifies with and gives hope to those in No Man’s Land, or the place where companies realize that they are too big to be small, and too small to be big. Although feeling a bit vulnerable, I have realized that we must focus on making the best decisions we can with the information we have, and not worrying about the things we can’t control.
Just got back from my first trip to Dubai. A great trip that exposed a great deal of opportunity. We were very well received, and it was very apparent that our desire to have a presence in the region is something to aggressively pursue. One of the most memorable experiences came on my first day. Bobby Stevens picked us up from the hotel in a Chrysler 300. The first thing I heard from this Mississippi native was, “there’s a million ways to make a million dollars in Dubai.” No doubt he was correct.
Aside from the business opportunities, Dubai is a great city. Great hotels, restaurants, and attractions. Very excited about what the future holds…