The Haskell Co. founder Preston Haskell shared advice with small business leaders Tuesday at the JAX Chamber Small Business Leader of the Year breakfast.
At one time, he was one of them – launching his own venture and building his business from the ground up.
Haskell, 80, founded The Haskell Co. in 1965. It has grown to more than $1 billion in sales, providing integrated design, engineering, construction and professional services to clients.
Haskell pioneered that design-build construction management style in which one firm handled all major elements of development.
He told the more than 200 small business owners and supporters that the company operates with six operating values: safety, quality, productivity, innovation, integration and sustainability.
There was one overriding practice, he emphasized: “Recruit, develop and retain the very best people you can” and imbue them with the company's values.
In an interview at the event with JAX Chamber President Daniel Davis, Haskell offered advice to entrepreneurs and small business owners:
• Be on time and on budget with your services.
• Know that word-of-mouth referrals and marketing are the most important endorsements.
• Don't wait for a big break. “I don't think you can build a business waiting for the big break.”
• But be prepared for the big break “so you can step up to it.”
• Focus on strong day-to-day service.
• Don't back down from a challenge.
Haskell, a business leader and philanthropist, received his engineering degree from Princeton University and his MBA from Harvard Business School. He also attended the Massachusetts Institute of Technology for graduate work in building engineering and construction.