Have you tried TSheets yet? At Office Furniture Warehouse (OFW), they love TSheets! TSheets makes it easy to produce project reports so they can track which clients are in which stage of their relocation/upgrade process. They also use TSheets to keep overtime down and to maintain compliance with regulations. When we spoke to Marley in their marketing department, he told us TSheets is much simpler than the coding in and out procedures he used at his previous job. It’s a lot less taxing on his memory!
We’d like to introduce you to our client, JJ Jerman of Office Furniture Warehouse, who streamlines logistics for companies seeking to use their current space more efficiently or to move to a new location. To say that OFW provides furniture and moves offices from Point A to Point B would be an understatement. They start with understanding their clients’ needs and their big picture, then lay out a proposal to bring everything together.
What prompted you to start your own company?
I grew up in Boy Scouts and became an Eagle Scout. There wasn’t so much eco-conscious jargon back then. It was called “being responsible” and we were taught to leave everything better than we found it any time we were in the woods or anywhere, really. The lessons I learned about leadership and being green have stayed with me into my corporate life. I want future generations to enjoy the planet the way I did as a kid.
My background is primarily interior architecture and corporate office planning. I commuted between Atlanta and New York for a time, alternating my focus between furniture and architecture, respectively. I saw the front end of what’s involved when companies upgrade their furnishings, change locations, and plan new spaces. I found out that moving logistics are often an added burden to admins or others who already have a full-time job but are expected to handle the move, too. Approximately 70% of people coordinating logistics are fired or quit the next year. With my interest in green initiatives, I wanted to help companies conserve across the board – time, energy, and expense. In 2008, I decided to relocate to Cleveland, TN, and open my own company, Office Furniture Warehouse.
I discovered Chattanooga’s INCubator when I was looking for an opportunity to expand, and having that second location at the BDC was instrumental to building our network in Chattanooga. After graduating from the INCubator, we moved out to the Eastgate area, then to Riverside Drive where we are now. We’ll continue to transition as needed when the right fit comes along. And of course we’re in the right industry to do it!
What do you like best about doing business in Chattanooga?
I appreciate the connections I’ve made through the Chamber. I attended as many meetings as possible at multiple locations when I came here. Chattanooga is a great place to foster relationships.
We started hosting our own monthly networking event, NoogaNections, as a way to give back to the community. We’ve experienced positive growth and we want to help others build relationships. We just celebrated our 8th year in business at this month’s event.
What advice would you like to share with other entrepreneurs or start-ups?
Put yourself out there. Make yourself known and get to know others. Build relationships in person.
Listen to your customers. They’re a source for new ideas of how to add value to your services.
Know your core competencies and leverage them.
Support paid internships to develop new potential employees. We’ve hired a couple people this way ourselves.
Build a team that’s willing to be “all hands on deck” when needed.
How has HRBiz helped you in your success?
I’m thankful for Lynn Talbott’s expertise! We’d experienced trial-and-error with both in-house and outsourced bookkeepers and Lynn really set us straight. And I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that she’s been a great referral partner. We really appreciate her willingness to promote us in the community.
Our thanks to OFW for doing this interview with us. If you haven’t seen our new HRBiz office, come stop by! Our space is well-arranged with the desks, dividers, and filing cabinets we bought from Office Furniture Warehouse.
Lynn Talbott, MBA, PHR, received the TSBDC’s 2015 Small Business Person of the Year Award for Chattanooga and was recognized as a 2015 Rising Star. She is the Founder and President of HR Business Solutions, LLC. Lynn was previously a Corporate Trainer and HR Manager for a Fortune 500 company in Seattle, WA. She has 20+ years’ experience advising entrepreneurs of small- to mid-sized businesses in HR and Office Management. She is a Certified QuickBooks ProAdvisor and is Xero-Certified.