Who are you, and what do you do?
My name is Tom Kula and I’m the President of The Tax Doctors Inc. We operate 44 Jackson Hewitt Franchise stores in Montana, North Dakota, Minnesota, Wyoming and Nebraska.
What has been one insight or lesson that has been most helpful in your career?
Don’t be afraid to fail. Businesses need to keep reaching for higher marks and unless you’re not afraid to fail, you may never take that chance. Had we not taken risks, we’d still have 2 stores in Kalispell, MT.
What has been your favorite mistake? A mistake that in retrospect led to a great lesson and progress.
Expanding in the middle of an industry shakeup. We had to completely revamp our business from head to toe and what came out of that is a lean machine.
Project forward ten years. How will your industry or field be fundamentally different then? What opportunities do you see?
We are seeing that if you don’t continue to grow, you are moving backward. Our industry will remain the same. We will have over 100 locations in 3 years and have a greater geographic footprint.
What are some bad recommendations you hear in your profession or area of expertise?
We continually hear people try and get us to grow too big too fast. You have to have managed growth and you must have the cash to do it.
In the last two years, what have you become better at saying no to?
Everything! In the past I’ve tried to satisfy people far too much. I’m finally in a place in my life where other’s needs fall behind the needs of the company.
What is the one book you recommend most often and why?
The Hero Effect. It’s an inspiring book which if you’re able to convince your employees of the values in the book, your business will thrive like no other.
What advice would you give a smart and ambitious recent college graduate? What advice should they ignore?
Work your fingers to the bone and absorb every bit of knowledge you can. Do not look for the shiny item. Put the hard work in now and in due time the riches will come.
Don’t follow advice that only revolves around pay. You must love what you do and if you’re doing a job because of a fat paycheck, then you won’t be happy.
What is your favorite quote, one you aim to live by?
“Due unto others…….”