Take a trip inside the mind of architectural stone supplier William Thayer as the artisan and owner of Palm Beach Cast Stone, Inc. shares how a virtual banking relationship with Truist helped him build a global presence.
- Risk and inconvenience of wire transfers by phone
- Market fluctuations and uncertainty
- Rental property was too small and expensive
- Digitize core financial processes, including wire transfers
- Finance new equipment and services to diversify
- Find and purchase a location with room to expand
Palm Beach Cast Stone, Inc.
West Palm Beach, Florida
Architectural cast stone manufacturing company for luxury markets
$5 to $10 million (FY 2021)
Build key relationships to prep for business expansion
Beyond taking the three big steps—digitize, diversify, and expand—shared in the video, William gained plenty of insights for business leaders who want to expand their markets. And he wants to share them. Hint: It’s all about relationships.
Connect and communicate in new ways.
William and Ann first met by phone during the pandemic, but virtual meetups worked so well that William never felt a need for a face-to-face. William admits that expanding the use of email, chat, and video calling may require some extra effort at first, but he says it’s worth the investment. Global time zones are challenging, but digital communication tools make it easier to connect with clients and partners when and how they prefer.
“You don’t have to meet in person to build a good relationship. But you do have to have a connection to understand each other and get to the solutions to be successful.” —
Truist Relationship Manager
Diversify your client base.
Prepping for global expansion may require investments in additional storage, software, equipment, staffing, and other expenses. If you have only a handful of clients, they may not be enough to help you fund those improvements. And in tough times, losing one or two clients means your bottom line can take a big hit. Finding new and larger local clients can boost your bottom line. A good place to start is by networking with other partners—in William’s case, contractors and architects—and letting them know you’re ready to take on more work.
Hold out for quality—in products and people.
The global marketplace means consumers have more choices than ever, so your quality needs to be on point if you hope to attract new revenue. William toured European quarries a few years ago to build relationships with his suppliers and to let them know what he’s looking for from them. Every person in your employ matters too, he adds. The quality of his workshop and install crews is the heartbeat of his company, but working with reliable outside partners, such as architects, is also key.
“Ann for us is more than a banker. She’s a partner. And she connects us with the people we need.” —
Owner, Palm Beach Cast Stone
Ask for advice early and often.
William talks with Ann on a quarterly basis to discuss what’s new and on the horizon. These check-ins helped Ann uncover emerging challenges and opportunities that she could help address, such as his need to purchase a new location for his headquarters. If you started as a lone entrepreneur, you may not be accustomed to asking for help, he says. But taking advantage of others’ specialized knowledge allowed him to focus on his own business, rather than trying to become an expert in commercial real estate, for instance.
Have a plan to keep people employed.
That may mean checking your debt-to-liquidity ratio and shifting investments so you can keep people on the payroll if there’s a shutdown or if production stalls. Also, talk to your advisors about your business transition plan. Having one in place now can help ensure your employees are taken care of if you decide to retire quickly, as the previous owner of Palm Beach Cast Stone did. William’s purchase, with the help of Ann and Truist, meant the team could keep doing their work without missing a beat.
How your business can get there
William’s advice: Think big and use your imagination about what the future can be—then find partners like Ann and Truist who will understand your vision and help you give it form and substance.
Owner, Palm Beach Cast Stone
“It is just such a great feeling to know that our product is appreciated and accepted all over the world, not just in our backyard anymore.”
Truist relationship manager
“I like to learn about a client’s business in detail so I can better understand their needs, what they’re looking to do in the future, and how Truist can make a difference for them.”