The biggest problem in any of the business venture comes when you, your business partner or another top person are not getting along well for whatever reasons. The same thing happened with Peter Loftin and he had a verbal exchange with his top person Kim during the initial days of BTI. The verbal exchange happened whenever BTI lost a customer. It was full of tension and since BTI couldn’t afford to lose customers, the tensions only increased further.
Hiring a shrink and an industrial psychologist
Woodson advised him to hire a shrink. Peter Loftin also recalls that an industrial psychologist Jack McCall tried to help his staffers deal with this pressure his entire business was facing. Peter and his associates were living on the edge and that was the reason everybody was ready to burst out anytime.
Listening skills that saved Peter Loftin
One of the good attributes Peter Loftin has was that he was willing to listen to people with experience, because as Woodson says the entrepreneurs know about a fairly limited area of their business and sometimes they get trapped in something that can be just routine to other experienced people.
Hiring strong people
However Peter Loftin is not afraid of strong people. He always prefers to hire strong people and prefers to delegate tasks and after that back them up. However, he believes in keeping a business lean and thin, because whenever the company tries to expand, additional finances have to be arranged to manage its size.
The growth story
Peter Loftin has around 100 employees and out of those 60 are from the sales team. However, he prefers to call the big ticket clients himself. He was aware that the long distance industry was worth $50 billion and it was increasing at a rate of 10% nationwide. However, the profit margins were getting thinner as newer competition was creeping in.
Advertise, Advertise, and Advertise
In order to survive in this terrific industry, you needed to advertise like a mad. Brand building should be on top of your mind according to telecommunications analyst Walt Sonneville. BTI increased its ad spend to $500, 000. BTI entered Charlotte market in 1987 and captured 15% of its business.
Expansion and acquisitions
In fact, Peter Loftin wanted to expand all through the Southeast within the next few years and his plans were to open offices in Washington, Atlanta, Norfolk, Knoxville, and some other cities. He also hired a sales director, who combed the entire Florida state for Atlanta based ATC Microtel, which was the fifth largest long distance business in the United States at the time.
Peter Loftin was always on a merger and acquisition spree because they had become a nationwide company by this time. It was looking like a fairy tale story because he lacked money and had earlier worked as a bartender, door to door salesman and a cookware salesman, which were soul crushing jobs, but he was now mastering the long distance business.
Peter Loftin is still single and he says that his mind is always on business. In his spare time, he keeps on reading business magazines and journals on the long distance industry. To encourage entrepreneurship, he helped start a Young Entrepreneurship of the Year Award a few years ago, in which High School students would be recognized, if they succeed in a business venture. However they have to submit a 17 page business plan to apply for it. He jokingly says that sometimes he feels old, but he still wants to do a lot of things that he hasn’t still done. He has a lot of business aspiration even now.