BOA’s Evolution Through the Years Click Here 🙂

 

Perhaps you know how our story began, perhaps not, but regardless our beginnings were quite humble. Our company started in an old bedroom of my mother’s house…2 phones, 2 used personal computers (1 mismatched monitor), 1 fax/ printer machine and a couple of desks we got on discount at office depot. I remember the first few days Walter showing up early and scaring my mother as we had not advised her on start date. From then on, my mother had  to leave the backyard sliding door open so he could come in to work. I remember eating left-overs for lunch, and on days we could splurge, we went to Subway and got $5 footlongs. Now, this isn’t some story meant to make you feel like it was completely horrific, actually we were quite happy during this phase! Don’t get me wrong we were still dealing with the economic housing crisis crash of 2009-2010, a market where carriers turned their back on smaller brokerages, and of course an extremely volatile industry. Yet, we still managed to start BOA and stay inspired during this time. 

 

It was during the first few weeks at BOA 1.0 (or the “home office”) that I noticed my younger brother (whose bedroom was next door to us) had a few publications of INC magazine on his desk. I remember picking it up and then reading the articles within and ended up reading one of the magazines front-to-back. Within it held stories and secrets of new entrepreneurs on how they survived-and-thrived and most importantly they had something called the INC5000. The INC5000 were rated as the fastest growing private companies in the United States and there were a few prerequisites and they were:

 

  • Be privately -owned, based in the United States, Independant (not a subsidiary or division of another company)
  • Have started earning revenue for 3+ years and tax returns to prove it
  • Had revenue no less than $100k for their first year
  • Had revenue no less than $2 Million in the end of their 3rd year
  • The top 10% of the 5000 were called the INC500 and they were the companies whose 3 year growth was the best in the country

 

It was inspiring to see that there were so many businesses in different arenas and sectors of the economy. It was also inspiring to see repeat companies, and some even hit 5 years in a row of straight growth! This was called the INC5000 Honor Roll. Flipping through that 2010 issue the dreams started to happen that one day we might become an INC5000 honoree. Little did we know the next few years would be very exciting and thrilling (and a bit frightening LOL) to say the least.

 

In the beginning of BOA we had a couple lucky breaks that jump started our company to give it the capital injection to hire team members. One of the lucky breaks came when Borders filed for bankruptcy and we had an opportunity to do a 200 store close out nationwide within a 3 day period. A lot of times in the beginning of any business you have to say “yes” to any opportunity, and in this situation we agreed to it not knowing how or when we would be able to accomplish it in such a short time period. That first bump gave us the revenue to bring on our first employee ( who by the way is still with us 9 years later) and start down the road of taking on more bandwidth. One thing we have learned about growth is that you can only grow according to your risk tolerance. No Risk , no growth.

 

 At BOA we always speak about “expanding your fish tank” , which in essence is based on the Goldfish and Pond theory. You see, one of the things growing up was watching my mother raise japanese koi, or carp,and the goldfish is technically a smaller form of carp. These Koi are very beautiful carps with many different designs, colors, fins and tails. Koi can grow from 12” to up to 36” and can be worth a lot of money.They can live to be very old, some known to be a 100 years old if given the right care. The oldest Koi that ever lived and was recorded was named Hanako, and Hanako lived for 226 years. The size of the Koi is in direct relationship to its environment. There are four elements to make sure the Koi continues to grow and flourish :

 

  1. Enclosure: Goldfish or Koi will grow based on the size of its enclosure. The size of the pond or tank has a relationship with the potential of that fish. A smaller, growing fish might need to start in a smaller tank. This is about eco system. Where, What, How and When affect every part of this for the fish.
  2. Acclimation: When changing to a larger tank, you can’t just throw the fish to a new tank with new fresh water…that will kill the fish quickly.
  3. Oxygen and Nitrates: OxygenPart of what keeps the fish alive in the previous tank or pond is its ability to process of oxygen, and to expel waste. There is a fine balance of oxygen and waste happening all the time. If you put too many fish in one tank they will all suffocate, if you put a small fish in a brand new tank without the balanced ecosystem of oxygen and nitrate, it will also kill the fish. 
  4. Stability– After the fish adapts to the new space, flows of oxygen and nitrates, competition from other fish, the koi will slowly find its growth process to start to grow larger and stronger than the previous enclosure.

So you can leave the fish in the smaller tank or pond and it will be fine, but if you want the fish to grow, you must take careful risk in order to get it to grow accordingly. So why have we told you about this fish story? Because the fish is  a metaphor for all businesses trying to survive and thrive.

 

  1. Enclosure: All businesses have to start in a particular environment. Depending on the current time, political and social movements, Economic boom or down turn, all businesses are born into the eco-system. It can be a micro or macro-ecosystem.
  2. Acclimation: As businesses grow they will have to acclimate to the enclosure, potentially share resources, or compete for resources from other businesses. After a while the tank might be too small for the business and then it will have to make a decision on stunted growth, or taking risks and growing the eco-system.
  3. Oxygen and Nitrates: Might seem funny to relate cash flow to oxygen and waste, but that’s basically what it is for businesses. If your business has great cash flow (oxygen) being pumped into the eco-system that will give the business more freedom. If there is less cash flow (nitrates) then the eco-system will feel toxic and suffocating. There is a fine balance on understanding how to control cash flow for a business, and every time you take the risk of growth, you will always have more nitrates than oxygen in the beginning.
  4. Stability: As businesses take the risks, figure out their cash flow, increase sales and minimize debt, it can take shape and start on the path to grow again and larger than it’s previous size. Each new stable level provides the platform businesses to grow and reach their targeted goals.

Image result for business growing

There is no growth without risk. With risk comes danger. If you survive the danger you usually develop the right tools to fight and win which will allow the company to accelerate forward. We can probably count 3-4 times in BOA’s history where the expansion was either thrust upon us, or we chose to grow. The reality is most of the time you may not have the choice to move forward, you are just adapting to the current landscape. 

 

 

Why are we telling you all this about goldfish and expansion? Easy, because our company had to take risks on several occasions to grow and it was important for us to do it at the right time so not to pollute the environment and create toxicity. In the beginning, BOA was primarily 99% LTL common carrier shipping. As we took new shape we adopted new skills and services. Today LTL common carrier shipping takes up 20% of our revenue while we have strong emphasis on temperature controlled supply-chain, warehousing, Port Logistics and Drayage, and now we embark on the International Air and Ocean so we can become a total end-to-end  solution for our clients.  

 

So let’s go back to the day I first saw INC magazine and the new companies who had at least 3 years of staggering growth. We had said one day we would make the list and three years from that day BOA made Fastest Growing Companies in 2014 and also ranked #167  out of the top 5000 privately owned companies in the US, making us part of the elite INC500. I remember they even put a small snippet in the magazine where they interviewed us here. After that, Walter and I said…”Ok, now how are we going to do that again?!”. We also made a promise after seeing a select few of the companies on the list, that one day we would also make the INC5000 honor roll. In order to make that, your company had to have upward growth and had to have qualified for INC5000 5 years in a row. I said to Walter, “Not only are we going to make it next year, but we are one day going to have that title too for BOA, INC5000 Honor roll”. 

Image result for inc 5000 honor roll

Fast forward 9 years into BOA’s existence. We got word August 1st  2019 that BOA had finally reached INC 5000 Honor roll. Making the list gets harder every year as our starting base grows. Of the tens of thousands of companies that have applied to INC. 5000 over the years, only a fraction have made the list more than once. A mere four percent of companies have made the list 5 times. We give respect to first our team, past and present, who fought besides us night and day to get us here. We thank our clients for believing in us and giving a boutique brokerage a chance to do more and fight against the old guard and show improvement in service, technology and communication. Lastly, we could not have done it with our vendors and carriers. Without them there would be no BOA Logistics. 

 

We propose a toast to another 5 years of growth and innovation. BOA thanks everyone for their contribution and will continue to fighting the good fight. After all, we still have more of the journey to go, and the adventure that awaits us all. 

 

Get a Quote Now