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Atlanta operator Johan DeLeeuw took top rank among chauffeured transportation companies this year on the Inc. 5000 List of fastest growing companies in the U.S.
ATLANTA — Since becoming sole owner in 2005, operator Johan DeLeeuw can credit many reasons for seeing Olympus Worldwide through six years of solid growth.
The long list would span technology investments, farm-in work, meeting and events clients, staff training, aggressive sales efforts, use of shuttle and mini-buses, and the professional input from industry consultant Tom Mazza.
That entrepreneurial and management mix led to Olympus Worldwide Chauffeured Services being ranked No. 922 out of 5,000 on the national list, ahead of the other chauffeured transportation companies. It had $2.1 million in revenue in 2010, up 330% from 2007. So far in 2011, however, business is up 4.16% YTD compared to last year, which DeLeeuw attributes to an unexpectedly slow first quarter with economic and weather-related setbacks.
“We try to avoid having only big accounts,” DeLeeuw said. “The more small accounts that come in, the better. We ramp up sales to get more.”
In an interview with LCT, DeLeeuw said Olympus started in 1998 when he joined the company as a chauffeur. He moved up to bigger responsibilities. The owner died in 2002, leaving his surviving family members to run the business. DeLeeuw bought it from them in 2005 and has been the sole owner since.
Olympus Worldwide runs 15 vehicles, including sedans, passenger and executive vans, SUVs, and two new Krystal 32-passenger shuttle buses. DeLeeuw estimates 37% of its overall revenue is related to meetings and events, and 35% comes from farm-in work. Diva Limousine of Los Angeles is one of its biggest affiliates.
A success checklist
DeLeeuw gave the following reasons for the 330% growth:
- Train the staff to constantly be in the business of selling rides. Focus on sales by treating every incoming call as an opportunity, and every booked ride of equal importance. Do prospecting via leads, referrals, and inquiries instead of cold-calling.
- Invest money in technology. About one fourth of Olympus reservations come through Saturn, TranspoNet or online reservations.
- Develop strong farm-in work. Olympus farms in mostly from companies in other cities that average about 20 vehicles.
- Pursue meetings and events business. Olympus has an exclusive transportation contract with Chateau Elan, a golf resort and meetings location in Braselton, Ga., about 45 minutes north of Atlanta. The resort is one of the company’s largest clients.
- Get business coaching. DeLeeuw participated in a Tom Mazza Consulting group from 2007 to 2010. Operators meet several times per year under direction of Mazza to get advice on running their businesses better, review performance reports, and come up with solutions to problems.
- Don’t view your business as a lifestyle. Make plenty of time for family. Working 24/7 and being on call at night is not the right way of doing things, he advises.