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Tim Zimmerman, Owner First Choice Drug Testing

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  • The Importance of Gross Margin
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Tim Zimmerman Owner First Choice Drug Testing

Tim Zimmerman currently owns and manages First Choice Drug Testing in Little Rock Arkansas. First Choice manages drug testing programs for clients including employers, schools, courts, and rehabilitation facilities. He became involved with the Company in 2010 as a minority partner and has since purchased the stock of the other shareholders and is the sole owner.

Prior to First Choice he spent 25 years in the industrial distribution business here in Arkansas. He started at the age of 19 as the delivery driver, opened a grass roots location in Ft. Smith at the age of 23, and when he left in 2007 was Vice-President of a $48 million sales entity with 160 employees in 12 locations across 6 states.

He was a graduate of Catholic High School for Boys here in Little Rock and chose not to attend college. He grew up in Saline county and currently resides in North Little Rock. He has been married for 33 years and has 3 grown children. He has volunteered for Score (a non-profit that gives FREE mentoring to those who want to start or grow a business) for 3 years and most recently was named Chapter Chair for the organization.  


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Up In Your Business is a Radio Show by FlagandBanner.com


EPISODE 126

[INTRODUCTION]

[0:00:08.5] JM: Welcome to Up in Your Business with Kerry McCoy, a production of flagandbanner.com. Through storytelling and conversational interviews, this weekly radio show offers listeners first-hand insight into starting and running a business, the ups and downs of risk-taking and the commonalities of successful people. Connect with Kerry through her candid, often funny and informative weekly blog where you'll read and comment on life as a wife, mother, daughter and entrepreneur.

Now, it's time for Kerry McCoy to get all up in your business.

[INTERVIEW]

[0:00:41.9] KM: Thank you, Jayson. Like Jayson said, I’m Kerry McCoy and it’s time for me to get up in your business. Before we start, I want to introduce my co-host who you just heard from, Jayson Malik from Arise Studio in Conway, Arkansas. Say hello, Jayson.

[0:00:55.3] JM: Hi, Kerry.

[0:00:56.9] KM: If for some reason you missed any part of today’s show, or you want to hear it again, or you want to share it, there is a way and Jayson will tell you how.

[0:01:08.1] JM: Listen to all UIYB past and present interviews by going to flagandbanner.com and clicking on Radio Show. There, you may join our e-mail list, or like us on Facebook, thus getting a reminder notification of the day of the show and a sneak peak of that day’s guest. If you’d like to be an underwriter of any UIYB shows, send an e-mail to marketing@flagandbanner.com. That’s marketing@flagandbanner.com.

Back to you, Kerry.

[0:01:39.3] KM: If you’re tuning in to this broadcast for the first time, welcome. If you’re a returning fan, you probably know this next part by heart and I’m sorry. At the risk of being boring, we must repeat ourselves for the newcomers. Besides that, it gives my guest a chance to seal in their seat.

This show Up In your Business with Kerry McCoy began as a platform for me, a small business owner and a guest, to pay forward our experiential knowledge in a conversational way. Originally, my team and I thought it would speak to entrepreneur and want to be entrepreneurs, and it does, but it seems to have a wider audience appeal to, because after all, who isn’t inspired by everyday people’s American-made stories.

To see people in their totality is humanizing. We all thirst to connect and make sense of an over-complicated world. On this show, we have the luxury of time to go deeper than a mere soundbite or headline. My favorite part, we always learn something.

It’s no secret that successful people work hard, but other common traits in many of my guests are the heart of a teacher, belief in a higher power and creativity, because business in of itself is creative.

My guest today, Mr. Tim Zimmerman is a self-made American entrepreneur. He began work at age 19 as a delivery driver of a large industrial rubber distribution company in Arkansas. He worked his way up the corporate ladder at said company, eventually becoming vice president to this 48 million dollar entity, with a 160 employees across six states.

As we say at the end of every one of these shows, if you have a great entrepreneurial story that you would like to share, contact me. Well, Mr. Zimmerman did just that. Tim’s e-mail to me included a sentence that read, “I’m a volunteer for SCORE.” This is an acronym for Service Corps Of Retired Executives; a long-standing, well-respected, nonprofit that gives free mentoring advice to those who want to start or grow a small business.

Having once in my early career been a recipient of SCORE’s helped in expertise. I was immediately intrigued by the thought of Tim sharing his business knowledge with our listeners. I wanted to hear his rags to riches, American-made story.

He went on to say that in 2010, he took the entrepreneurially by becoming a minority partner in First Choice Drug Testing of Little Rock, Arkansas. Today, he is the sole proprietor having since purchased the stock of the other shareholders and is living the American dream as owner and operator of his very own company, First Choice Drug Testing. As I said a minute ago, he is paying it forward with his volunteer work at SCORE.

It is a pleasure to welcome to the table, American dreamer, hard worker and entrepreneur, Mr. Tim Zimmerman.

[0:04:39.3] TZ: Thank you, Kelly. It’s a pleasure to be here with you.

[0:04:41.3] KM: It’s Kerry. I love that.

[0:04:45.6] TZ: What a way to start.

[0:04:49.4] KM: I’ve been called Kelly all my life.

[0:04:50.5] TZ: Kelly really.

[0:04:51.6] KM: Or Terry.

[0:04:53.0] TZ: They call me Kim a lot.

[0:04:55.8] KM: What? Oh, Tim. Tim, Kim. Well, it’s nice to meet you, even if you didn’t get my name wrong.

[0:05:00.8] TZ: It’s all about being alive.

[0:05:01.8] KM: It’s all about what?

[0:05:02.8] TZ: Being alive.

[0:05:03.6] KM: Oh, no. It is life. I love it. From ringing your history that you began work at age 19 as a delivery driver. I take it, you didn’t graduate from college?

[0:05:13.1] TZ: I did not.

[0:05:14.0] KM: did you even try?

[0:05:14.9] TZ: No. I knew college was not for me. I went to 12 years of Catholic parochial school right here in Little Rock and graduated from Catholic high and just absolutely hated high school. I just knew it wasn’t for me. I knew I wouldn’t apply myself, so I didn’t even attempt to go to college. Just back then, 81, unemployment was 10%, remember that?

[0:05:36.4] KM: Mm-hmm.

[0:05:37.1] TZ: Could hardly get a job. Was working part-time when I got at in at high school with safe away. My dad came to me one day and he opened up an electric bill and he hand it to me. He said, “Here Tim. This one’s got your name on it.”

[0:05:50.4] KM: Because you were living at home?

[0:05:51.3] TZ: Exactly. At 18 I moved out and finally landed a full-time job with this rubber company as a delivery driver. One of my buddies worked there. That was at the age of 19.

[0:06:03.8] KM: Did you think, “I really want to work at that company,” or did you think, “That company is close to my house,” or did you think –

[0:06:13.8] TZ: It was a fulltime job.

[0:06:15.5] KM: That’s all you thought?

[0:06:16.3] TZ: Yeah. Back then, those were hard to come by. My buddy worked there. He’d been there about six months. It was a job, that’s what I thought.

[0:06:27.6] KM: Too many people have too many choices. When you have to have a job, it takes the pressure off you to have to go, “Oh, I should take this job, I should take that job, should I not? Or should’ve worked?” When you have to work, you’ll take a job, any job and you never know where it leads you, because the opportunities lie within the effort you put out. If you're not putting a lot of effort out, because you don't have to, or you've got choices, sometimes you miss opportunities.

[0:06:55.2] TZ: Had a great mentor tell me one time and you've heard it, the harder you work, the luckier you get.

[0:07:00.4] KM: Oh, I've never heard that.

[0:07:01.7] TZ: Have you not?

[0:07:02.5] KM: No, but that’s true.

[0:07:04.5] TZ: Very true.

[0:07:05.4] KM: You took this job because your friend was working there and you didn't know what you were going to do.

[0:07:14.6] TZ: Yeah. I progressed quickly. I was the delivery driver. From there, they put me in the warehouse where we fabricated and pulled orders. From there in just a few months, I went to inside sales. It was a few months later an outside sales position came open, because at the age of 21 I went into outside sales and I couldn't even put two sentences together, but I had to do it. I absolutely had to do it. I probably made – a slow day would be 15 sales calls and there would be days I would make 30 and 40, most of them –

[0:07:51.0] KM: Driving around?

[0:07:51.9] TZ: Yes. Yes. Outside sales.

[0:07:53.8] KM: Door-to-door.

[0:07:55.2] TZ: Going to these factories trying to get in and 90% of them said no.

[0:08:00.8] KM: Did you have to pay for your own gas?

[0:08:02.7] TZ: No. The company was good. They provided a car and expense account, but it was just –

[0:08:09.1] KM: I know how hard that is.

[0:08:11.0] TZ: It’s very difficult.

[0:08:12.1] KM: Why did you keep doing it?

[0:08:14.9] TZ: Because I had to.

[0:08:16.8] KM: Because you had to have money.

[0:08:17.9] TZ: I had to have income to support myself. There was no choice and there weren't a lot of other options out there. Outside sales was a pretty good gig. You could make some good money if you could sell, or if you could get orders. I had seen folks in front of me do well and I saw a good opportunity and I went for it.

[0:08:41.7] KM: Tell me about the first person you called on.

[0:08:45.5] TZ: I don't know that I remember the first, but I certainly remember the first week when I knew nothing about the product I was selling.

[0:08:53.2] KM: What product were you selling?

[0:08:54.3] TZ: Industrial rubber products. We were selling conveyor belt, hose, gasket materials. I knew a little bit about it, but I really didn't know a lot about it.

[0:09:03.2] KM: You knew about it, because you've been pulling product and held at your hand.

[0:09:06.7] TZ: Sure. We had sales meetings every Monday night. A lot of times, the salesman would have to give the meeting and there's no better way to learn something than to teach it.

[0:09:19.0] KM: Oh, I’m writing that down.

[0:09:20.6] TZ: If you want to learn something, go teach it. The first product I had to teach was just flat rubber stock, just plain old rubber, red rubber, neoprene, just the various rubbers that we sold in sheet form. That first week, that's the product that I presented to my customers. Again, I was 21, I looked 17 or 16. I was calling on people that were probably 40, but look 60. The few that would even see me, I can see it now, they would just set back in amazement and watch this kid fumble all over himself, while I tried to sell a product he didn't know much about. I had perseverance and a few of them – a few of those folks took me under their wing. They treated me – it was like a father-son relationship.

Through sheer numbers of cold calls and through sheer perseverance, I got orders. Every once in a while, I would just happen to be at the right place at the right time and somebody would, “Yeah, I need this hose today. I'm glad you're here.”

[0:10:34.6] KM: I don't think people realize that youthfulness that you felt was a handicap was probably an asset to some of these sales that you made, because they saw a young whippersnapper trying to do good in their life. “Look at this kid working hard.”

[0:10:50.8] TZ: I remember a guy one time, I made a sales call at 4:00 on a Friday afternoon. The guy came out holding my card and he said to me, “I knew you were young. Nobody makes sales calls at 4:00 p.m. on Friday afternoon.” He didn't give me an order, but he didn't forget me.

[0:11:11.9] KM: I love that. Who was your first sale and when did you start making commissions?

[0:11:17.6] TZ: We had a program where you were able to grow into commissions, so you got a fake commission check for a few months.

[0:11:24.7] KM: Oh, a draw for them.

[0:11:25.5] TZ: Yeah. Then you had an opportunity. It was really quite ingenious. You get to choose when you went on commission. Once you went, you couldn't go back. You had the opportunity. A month or two, you would see that, “Wow, if I was on real commission, it would have been more money.” It was within six months.

[0:11:44.9] KM: I don't think they do draws very much against commissions today.

[0:11:47.5] TZ: Yeah. I we can't see that. Probably within six months, I took in over a territory from a fellow that was 20 years my senior and he just wasn't making his calls. In about six months, the territory doubled, which wasn't a lot. Probably did 5,000 a month and I got it up to 10 in six months, just simply from making calls.

[0:12:12.3] KM: You got noticed.

[0:12:13.9] TZ: Yes.

[0:12:15.4] KM: When you were a delivery driver, how did you get noticed to move into the warehouse?

[0:12:21.9] TZ: Just working hard. I never stood still. I can remember, there was one day there was nothing to deliver, nothing to do and I'm not one to sit still, so I just got a rag and started cleaning an inch of dust off of all the shelves in the warehouse.

[0:12:38.6] KM: The warehouse manager saw it and said, “I want that guy in my department.”

[0:12:40.8] TZ: Yeah.

[0:12:42.2] KM: Then from the warehouse, they were impressed with you and the sales manager saw it and said, “I want him. Put him into sales.”

[0:12:48.2] TZ: Put me in inside sales on the phones.

[0:12:50.2] KM: Because you have to be a self-starter to be in sales.

[0:12:52.4] TZ: Yes.

[0:12:53.6] KM: You never know who's watching, do you?

[0:12:55.4] TZ: No.

[0:12:56.9] KM: Just always work hard at whatever you do.

[0:12:59.1] TZ: Exactly.

[0:13:00.3] KM: Then you doubled the sales in your new territory, in this old territory that was new to you. You doubled the sales and you got noticed again. Then what happened?

[0:13:11.2] TZ: Well, they decided to – we were doing a lot of sales in Northwest Arkansas. At that time, Fort Smith was an industrial mecca, with whirlpool and things like that over there. There was a lot of business over there. The salesman that called in that area kept telling the owner, “We need a store there. We need a store there.” Fort Smith is cliquish. They like to buy local. They decided to put a store and there were two people in front of me. Both of them turned it down. Then they finally got to me and –

[0:13:38.5] KM: Because they didn't want to move?

[0:13:39.7] TZ: They didn't want to move. They asked me and I jumped all over it. Yeah, moved by six-month-old bride, who is an only child.

[0:13:52.6] KM: Oh, Matthew you hear that? He’s married not knowing my job.

[0:13:56.7] TZ: At the time, I had no idea how hard that was for her parents, but they were so supportive. That's so important too, if your family's not supportive, you're going to struggle. We moved to Fort Smith. I was 23-years-old. We opened a branch operation and I hit the ground running, made sales calls seven, eight hours a day, then came back to the warehouse and did the warehouse work, because I only had myself, my wife and one other person.

[0:14:23.7] KM: She was working for you?

[0:14:24.5] TZ: She was working for me. She did all the books and –

[0:14:26.6] KM: For free, or –

[0:14:27.9] TZ: No.

[0:14:28.7] KM: You’re paying her?

[0:14:29.3] TZ: Right.

[0:14:29.5] KM: Oh, good.

[0:14:30.8] TZ: She was our delivery driver.

[0:14:32.4] KM: Oh, good. You got to see each other in the day, because I was going to say, “You moved me to Fort Smith and then worked 12 hours a day. I feel a little bit mad.” You got to see her at work at some time.

[0:14:39.9] TZ: Not really, because I was out making calls all day long every day.

[0:14:43.9] KM: Yeah, but you were together.

[0:14:44.2] TZ: We were talking all the time. We were talking all the time.

[0:14:45.3] KM: Yeah. Are your parents entrepreneurs?

[0:14:48.6] TZ: Yeah. My dad's an entrepreneur. He worked for Safeway for a lot of his life. He was a store – a meat cutter manager. He managed the meat market. They started downsizing, cutting people out. At the age of 55, he told him to take this job and shove it and he went and bought a sporting goods store. You may know it, McSwain out on the England Highway.

[0:15:12.0] KM: No way.

[0:15:13.6] TZ: He bought it from Mr. McSwain at the age of 55.

[0:15:18.4] KM: Good for him.

[0:15:19.5] TZ: Did a really bang-up job with it.

[0:15:21.9] KM: Is he a hunter?

[0:15:23.0] TZ: Yes. Hunter, fishermen, whole family yes. He is an entrepreneur.

[0:15:29.8] KM: What highway did you say McSwain’s was on?

[0:15:31.3] TZ: On highway 7. Yeah. Off of 440 out there.

[0:15:35.2] KM: Going to Stuttgart.

[0:15:36.8] TZ: Exactly. Cater to the duck hunters.

[0:15:40.7] KM: Wow. That's cool. That's really great. This is a good place to take a break. When we come back, we'll continue our conversation with Mr. Tim Zimmerman, President of First Choice Drug Testing in Little Rock, Arkansas. We'll talk about why drug testing is important to businesses, schools, courts and rehabilitation centers and maybe to your business. We're here about Tim's decision to leave the comfort of a very successful corporate career and strike out on his own. Last, we'll find out about his volunteer work at SCORE, the Service Corps of Retired Executives, who mentor budding entrepreneurs and how you can get in touch with them. We'll be back after the break.

[BREAK]

[0:16:19.0] KM: Boost morale and patriotism with a new flag or flagpole from Arkansas’ flagandbanner.com. We have poles, hardware, accessories, maintenance support, installation and custom flags. We have flags of all kind; for the sports enthusiast, the world traveler, or history buff, we have them all. Bring in your old flag and get $5 off a new one. Consult the experts at Arkansas’ flagandbanner.com. Come shop at our historic location at 800 West 9th Street in Little Rock, or visit us online at flagandbanner.com.

[0:16:53.4] JM: You're listening to Up In Your Business with Kerry McCoy, a production of flagandbanner.com. Over 40 years ago with only $400, Kerry McCoy founded Arkansas Flag and Banner. During the last four decades, the business has grown and changed, starting with door-to-door sales, then telemarketing, to mail order and catalog sales, and now a third of their sales come through the internet. This past year, Flag and Banner added another internet feature, live chatting.

Over time, Kerry’s business and leadership knowledge grew. As early as 2004, she began sharing this knowledge in her weekly blog. Then in 2009, she founded the nonprofit Friends of Dreamland Ballroom, and in 2014, Brave Magazine was launched. Today, she’s branched out to the radio with this very production, podcast and live stream on Facebook.

Each week on this show, you'll hear candid conversations between her and her guests about real-world experiences on a variety of businesses and topics that we hope you'll find interesting and inspiring. If you'd like to ask Kerry a question, share your story, or underwrite any of her past or present shows, send an e-mail to questions@upyourbusiness.org, or message her on flagandbanner.com’s Facebook page.

Back to you, Kerry.

[INTERVIEW CONTINUED]

[0:18:15.2] KM: Thank you. You're listening to Up In your Business with me, Kerry McCoy and I'm speaking today with Mr. Tim Zimmerman, President of First Choice Drug Testing in Little Rock, Arkansas. Before the break, we learned that Tim's dad bought McSwain Sporting Goods out there on highway 70. I just think Little Rock is so small.

Last week, the girl I was interviewing it turned out her daughter was my granddaughter's birthday pal at school. Follow that. I mean, try to follow that. Little Rock is so small. I do love that about our town.

We also talked about how you didn't go to high school, how you – necessity was the mother of invention and that you had to reinvent, or invent yourself after high school and took a job as a delivery boy, that you worked hard and got noticed by the warehouse manager, moved into warehouse. Then you moved up to sales where you are back in the old days when you used to actually able to make cold calls and go in and talk to purchasing agents. I really relate to that. That's exactly how started my business, and that you were doing that. At the age of 23, you've been noticed and we're third on the list to be offered a store in Fort Smith, Arkansas. What was the name of your – do you mind saying the name of your company?

[0:19:36.2] TZ: No, no. We were part of about a 50 store group and we all went by the name of the city, so it was Fort Smith Rubber and Gasket was the name of the company.

[0:19:45.3] KM: Oh, okay. In the beginning, I thought maybe you would tell people that if you want to get noticed, I knew you would say work hard and get noticed, but I didn't know if maybe you – another option would be to go to the human resources department. Back then, I don't guess that's really what you did. I don't even know if they had a human resource departments, to say, “I want a raise. I'm doing good,” or call attention to yourself. That's not how you did it.

[0:20:11.9] TZ: No. I just worked hard and –

[0:20:14.2] KM: Got noticed.

[0:20:14.9] TZ: Got noticed. They had a fair pay scale and they compensated fairly.

[0:20:20.3] KM: I love this about Warren Buffett. He is this geek that I am in love with this geek. I love watching all the things he's – just the worst speaker that ever walked the planet and I just love watching his YouTubes. I was watching one of him while he was speaking to a group of MBA students at Harvard. One of the students asked how to go about getting a job after graduation?

He said and I'm paraphrasing. He said, research the company you would like to work for. Find one that fits you. It can be the location, it can be the product they sell, it can be the company's personality or the policies that they have that you like and then get a job there of any kind, even if it's a janitorial job and work hard, get noticed and work your way up from within. That is exactly what you did.

[0:21:07.5] TZ: Exactly.

[0:21:10.8] KM: You moved to Fort Smith, you've started your own division, because they gave it to you. You didn't have to put any money up.

[0:21:17.8] TZ: We actually were a branch and a couple years later, they decided to incorporate. The company did very well, so I had to put very little money in it to get my ownership.

[0:21:27.5] KM: Oh, you did get some ownership.

[0:21:28.4] TZ: Yes.

[0:21:29.1] KM: You were 23. How did you begin to – you started with your wife who was working with you and you –

[0:21:37.7] TZ: One other fellow that moved with me from Little Rock.

[0:21:41.1] KM: How many employees did you end up with?

[0:21:46.6] TZ: About 15. I left in ’94, so around 15.

[0:21:52.9] KM: You've had no management training.

[0:21:55.1] TZ: None.

[0:21:56.9] KM: How did you end up being a – learning to be a business leader?

[0:22:01.8] TZ: Well, you make a lot of mistakes. You just don't make them twice. That's how it works. Now I had some folks. Some of my partner's investors that you could call and get some advice from. Mostly, you just did it by hard knocks.

[0:22:18.1] KM: What do you remember being the hardest thing when you first started? Because even though you're part of another company and you know the products and you're trained, you're still pretty on your own.

[0:22:29.0] TZ: The hardest part is making that next sales call, forcing yourself. You have good days, you have days wouldn't – you think, “I could make a thousand calls today.” The emotion is there, you're ready. You've got those days you don't want to leave the office. Just forcing myself to make that next call.

[0:22:47.1] KM: On the days when you're full of self-doubt.

[0:22:49.0] TZ: Yes.

[0:22:52.9] KM: Your sales start going through the roof.

[0:22:55.8] TZ: We did very well within six months over in the black. I had a pretty keen understanding of for my age of gross profit and that's what it takes a gross profit to float a business, at fairly low overhead. Within six months, we were in the black.

[0:23:12.9] KM: Gross profit is not net profit. Why do you think it takes gross profit? That's just sales.

[0:23:19.7] TZ: Well, it's your percentage of sales.

[0:23:22.3] KM: Well, true.

[0:23:24.0] TZ: If you've got a low gross margin – if you have 25% gross margin, your cost is 75%, you only got 25% left over to get the net out of. It's a lot easier if you – One of my mentors told me, the higher your gross margin, the more mistakes you can make.

[0:23:44.0] KM: Oh, that's good. That's tweetable right there.

[0:23:46.9] TZ: It allows you to make more mistakes and still be okay.

[0:23:51.6] KM: I don't think I learned to look at the gross profit for a while. I think I always looked at sales. “Oh, look. I'm selling a lot. Oh, look. I'm selling a lot.” A lot of times, I would maybe sell the product too low and it took me probably – I mean, almost probably 20 years to realize there were some sales you did not even want to get if the gross profit was not there.

[0:24:15.4] TZ: As I mentioned, I was very blessed to get that very early in my business career and those folks who put me in business taught me that very early.

[0:24:26.5] KM: You kept your margins high.

[0:24:29.2] TZ: Correct. We kept our margins – We were competitive, but we didn't leave any money on the table.

[0:24:36.3] KM: Did you have a lot of competition? It was before the internet.

[0:24:41.1] TZ: There was lots of competition in that. Our products were being bought through normally bearing supply chains. Most of our customers had never dealt with a company that just sold rubber products.

[0:24:56.2] KM: What’s a bearing supply chain? You mean bearing-bearings? Like little round bearings?

[0:24:59.5] TZ: Yes, yes. Industrial supplies.

[0:25:01.4] KM: I got you.

[0:25:02.0] TZ: When you needed a hose or a piece of belt, you would normally go to a bearing place to get it. That's where they always went.

[0:25:08.4] KM: Is that like phones brothers? Remember phones brothers?

[0:25:10.5] TZ: No. It’s like motion industries today. Dixie bearing. Just large industrial distributors who – Granger would be a competitor.

[0:25:21.9] KM: Okay. Right. Mm-hmm.

[0:25:25.1] TZ: We have the task of educating our customers, that you should really buy your bearings from a bearing company and your rubber products from a rubber company. We had to educate them, because they weren't used to doing that. We were the very first company that sold rubber products in the state of Arkansas.

[0:25:44.7] KM: That was a new concept. Because today, people specialize a lot.

[0:25:49.3] TZ: Yes. Back then it wasn’t, especially in our industry. Now if you went to a much larger city, you would find companies that were devoted –

[0:25:59.1] KM: Were your products made in America?

[0:26:03.7] TZ: About half and half. Yeah.

[0:26:06.1] KM: Are the company that you used to work for still around?

[0:26:08.4] TZ: Yes. My two brothers still work for them.

[0:26:11.5] KM: Oh, really. You got the whole family to come on.

[0:26:13.5] TZ: At one time, I had four brothers working.

[0:26:15.2] KM: All in Fort Smith for you?

[0:26:15.9] TZ: No. At all different locations. We're down to two.

[0:26:20.5] KM: What do you think was your biggest strength? Well, I already heard you understood gross profit. As a manager, what do you think your biggest strength was?

[0:26:31.7] TZ: Perseverance and just handling people and treating people like people, like they would want to be treated and trying to make them as happy as possible, because happy employees are productive employees.

[0:26:47.6] KM: You're not talking about customers. You're talking about – so you had perseverance at going out and getting new business.

[0:26:52.2] TZ: Right.

[0:26:53.2] KM: You had understanding for your employees, because you had been an employee.

[0:26:59.0] TZ: Right.

[0:26:59.6] KM: I think it helps a lot when you've worked and you've been an employee.

[0:27:03.6] TZ: And you've had good and bad bosses.

[0:27:07.8] KM: Mm-hmm. Your weakest link when you're managing.

[0:27:14.1] TZ: Oh, I'm a little indecisive. I know that about myself. I sometimes doubt my decisions and I don't like that about myself, because most of my decisions are right. If I would immediately go with what I'm thinking, I'm going to be right most of the time, I will make mistakes.

[0:27:36.7] KM: By the time you left, you had 15 employees. No, you didn't go to that. After that, you moved up and became the CEO of this company.

[0:27:47.5] TZ: Exactly.

[0:27:48.3] KM: That was only one part of your job. How did you become the next and what was your next title?

[0:27:55.1] TZ: In ’94, there were seven of these rubber stores throughout Oklahoma, Arkansas and Memphis who had common ownership. Some of the older gentlemen wanted to be born out. One of the CPAs came up with the idea of creating an ESOP. Are you familiar with ESOPs?

[0:28:09.7] KM: Mm-hmm. Employment – go ahead and tell right what it is.

[0:28:12.3] TZ: There's a lot of tax advantages for exiting owners. We put together an ESOP. We merged these seven companies with 14 locations together. I was one of the key figures in that. We decided to put the corporate headquarters in Little Rock, where one of the stores was in the store I started at. I knew eventually I was going to have to move back to Little Rock. My children were very young, fixing to start first grade and I wanted to go ahead and move back before they got older.

[0:28:41.1] KM: Tell our listeners what an ESOP is.

[0:28:44.3] TZ: ESOP is Employee Stock Ownership Program. When you see a company that says employee-owned company, that means they're an ESOP. It means that some or all of the stock is owned by the employees. They're given stock each year based on their salary and a lot of other formulas that are very strict, held to strict code by IRS.

[0:29:08.7] KM: I thought when a business owner sold, decided to get out of the business and did ESOP that they didn't get very much cash when that happened.

[0:29:19.6] TZ: No. These guys got all their cash.

[0:29:21.3] KM: Because they had a bunch in the bank, I guess.

[0:29:23.2] TZ: Well, we had to borrow the money to buy amount.

[0:29:25.9] KM: The employees borrowed the money.

[0:29:26.7] TZ: Well, the ESOP borrowed the money. The ESOP borrowed the money and the company collateralized it through their assets. They were the guarantor of the loan. The company is a guarantor, the ESOP is the borrower. They got their money. As long as they invest that money in approved securities, they avoid taxation.

[0:29:49.0] KM: Oh, I see.

[0:29:50.3] TZ: We were able to buy them out for about 80 cents on the dollar. It's a good deal. The hesitation with ESOPs is you have to get – you have to give stock to employees. It's why a lot of people don't do it.

[0:30:04.0] KM: Why would that be bad?

[0:30:05.8] TZ: It's not bad if you believe that, but there's a lot of owners who are not going to give up anything.

[0:30:13.8] KM: Well, but these owners were leaving.

[0:30:15.2] TZ: Right, but I'm talking the ones that stayed.

[0:30:17.7] KM: There were some that stayed.

[0:30:18.6] TZ: Yes. I was one of the owners, that we had about six or eight guys. What happened is when these guys sold their stock to the ESOP, that was about 40% of the company stock. The other 60% was retained by about eight or 10 of us. We still had that.

[0:30:34.1] KM: You had the control of the interest, so you had –

[0:30:36.1] TZ: Yeah. The ESOP was what we call pass – had only pass-through rights, so they had no voting rights. The only time an employee would vote their stock is if the company had an offer on the table to sell, then they got the opportunity to vote yes or no.

[0:30:51.4] KM: Then when the employee retires our leaves, can they sell their stock back?

[0:30:55.0] TZ: That’s exactly what happens. The ESOP is valued every year. We go through an audit and an evaluation that has to be approved. Then when an employee leaves, they sell their stock back to the company based on a set value.

[0:31:08.1] KM: It's expensive to maintain, isn't it not?

[0:31:11.2] TZ: It is expensive.

[0:31:12.1] KM: That's the reason that I would think people would know and it is, because it's an actually an expensive – operating expense that’s expensive.

[0:31:18.0] KM: Probably a 100 grand a year is what cost –

[0:31:21.2] KM: Yeah, you got to be a really big company.

[0:31:22.2] TZ: You got to be pretty good-sized. You'd have to do five million plus to consider an ESOP, I would think.

[0:31:28.3] KM: At least. You did move back to Little Rock?

[0:31:32.2] TZ: Moved back to Little Rock. We set up corporate headquarters here in Little Rock. Came back as a vice president of operations and continued to basically – at that time we had seven stores, we grew when I was there up to 12 locations and I managed the managers. Some of the stores were just a couple of employees and some of them were like Fort Smith that I left. I had 15 employees. Actually, my brother still runs that store.

[0:31:58.4] KM: All right, I got to find out why you decided to leave. This sounds like a dream job come true. You've been there, I don't know probably 20 years by now. How long?

[0:32:05.6] TZ: 25.

[0:32:06.3] KM: 25. Look, this is a great place to take a break. When we come back, we'll find out why he left and why he went out on his own. We'll continue our conversation with Mr. Tim Zimmerman, President of First Choice Drug Testing in Little Rock, Arkansas. We'll talk about why drug testing is important to businesses, schools, courts and rehabilitation centers and maybe insurance companies and maybe you. Last, we'll find out about his volunteer work at SCORE, the Service Corps of Retired Executives who mentor budding entrepreneurs and how you can get in touch with them. You can hear that he is smart. He may not have an MBA degree, but he can talk the talk. We'll be back after the break.

[BREAK]

[0:32:44.9] KM: Boost morale and patriotism with a new flag or flagpole from Arkansas’ flagandbanner.com. We have poles, hardware, accessories, maintenance support, installation and custom flags. We have flags of all kind; for the sports enthusiast, the world traveler, or history buff, we have them all. Bring in your old flag and get $5 off a new one. Consult the experts at Arkansas’ flagandbanner.com. Come shop at our historic location at 800 West 9th Street in Little Rock, or visit us online at flagandbanner.com.

[0:33:17.8] JM: Flag and Banner is proud to underwrite Up In your Business with Kerry McCoy. This weekly radio show and podcast offers listeners firsthand insight in starting and running a business, the ups and downs of risk-taking and the commonalities of successful people shared in a conversational interview with Kerry.

Along with this radio show, flagandbanner.com publishes a free bi-annual magazine called Brave. First published in October in 2014, this magazine celebrates and inspires readers through its human interest in storytelling. The Department of Arkansas Heritage recognized Brave magazine’s documentation of American life and micro-fishes all additions for the Arkansas state archives. Free subscription and advertising opportunities for the upcoming spring 2019 edition are available at flagandbanner.com by selecting Magazine, where you can read previous stories and learn about advertising opportunities.

Back to you, Kerry.

[INTERVIEW CONTINUED]

[0:34:16.2] KM: Thank you. You've been listening to Up In your Business with me, Kerry McCoy and I'm speaking today with Mr. Tim Zimmerman, President of First Choice Drug Testing in Little Rock, Arkansas.

Before the break, we talked about Tim going up through the ranks at this rubber company and ended up getting to be an owner of it and moving in – living in Fort Smith with his wife, who was an only child who moved there with him. We just got to give kudos to her. Then into her father and mother and then they moved to Little Rock and he's now working at this rubber company. It's 48 million dollars in sales, am I right?

[0:34:56.5] TZ: That's what I left. That's what we were doing, 48.

[0:34:59.7] KM: You're living in Little Rock, your kids are probably pretty grown. You told me before the break that your dad at 55, quick corporate Safeway stores where is a manager of the meat department and bought McSwain’s Sporting Goods in Stuttgart. Now I got to figure out why you're leaving this great company that you're part owner in to go out on your own.

[0:35:24.3] TZ: It was involuntary.

[0:35:26.5] KM: Oh, who'd you make mad?

[0:35:30.0] TZ: Well, the fellow that was the president.

[0:35:32.5] KM: That’ll do it.

[0:35:33.7] TZ: He is the one that hired me.

[0:35:34.5] KM: You were the vice president.

[0:35:36.0] TZ: Correct.

[0:35:38.1] KM: You all had a disagreement.

[0:35:39.9] TZ: Yeah. We started not getting along.

[0:35:42.2] KM: You didn't like his business practices?

[0:35:45.9] TZ: I don't know. We were going in different directions. I'm not sure. We've been together a long, long, long time and myself and three or four guys that grew up together, we're in upper management. My theory is he was threatened by that. He got rid of all of us.

[0:36:05.5] KM: Every one of you all?

[0:36:06.4] TZ: Within a two-year period.

[0:36:07.6] KM: Did it hurt the company?

[0:36:09.5] TZ: I don't think so. I don't really know. My brother still work there. You would have to ask them.

[0:36:16.6] KM: Well, you didn't get rid of one of your friends. You left your brother.

[0:36:20.4] TZ: Yeah. Two of my brothers are still there.

[0:36:22.3] KM: You all don't talk at Christmas dinner about how the company is doing?

[0:36:24.7] TZ: I don't. No, I don't bring it up. That's no longer a part of my life and he just – even when we do talk about, I talk about with when I run into old friends that are still in it, I don't even like to talk about it.

[0:36:39.2] KM: That's been there, done that.

[0:36:40.4] TZ: Yeah, exactly.

[0:36:42.8] KM: That is my mantra. So what? What now? That is my mantra.

[0:36:48.1] TZ: You mentioned the higher power, that happened July of 07 when everything crashed in 08. I mentioned the ESOP earlier. They had to buy my stock out. I had a considerable amount of stock. The next year of the stock dropped 40%. Somebody was looking out for me.

[0:37:09.0] KM: Wow.

[0:37:10.0] TZ: If it was going to happen, that was the year it happened.

[0:37:12.2] KM: That was right at the peak, right before the bottom fell, right before the correction, or the banking crisis, whatever you want to call it.

[0:37:18.7] TZ: Right.

[0:37:20.7] KM: Well, I wondered when I was researching you if something like that happened, because before you started the business, you have called First Choice Drug Testing. You went to work for two years as the general manager at CC Commercial Cleaners.

[0:37:37.6] TZ: Yes. A good friend of mine that I had met, his son actually worked for us at the rubber company. It's how I met him. We both are car guys, had a passion for cars. He worked about a block from the rubber company. I went over there and introduced – actually, I gave him a ride in my Dodge Viper one day and we just became instant friends. When I lost my job, I floundered for a while. I had a non-compete that we wound up going to court over. I couldn't do a whole lot of anything. Finally, after six or eight months he said, “Why don't you just come to work for me?” I went to work for him.

[0:38:11.9] KM: Do you sell cars on the side?

[0:38:13.5] TZ: No, but I know the folks that do.

[0:38:16.0] KM: There's a Tim Zimmerman online that sells cars.

[0:38:19.4] TZ: Yeah. There's a Zimmerman Motors as well.

[0:38:21.6] KM: Oh, that's what it must be. Zimmerman Motors.

[0:38:23.4] TZ: Yeah. I know John and those folks, but we're not related.

[0:38:26.6] KM: Well, when you said you loved cars I thought, “Are you the Zimmerman – how many businesses do you have?” You go to work for this guy. Let's tell everybody what this company does.

[0:38:38.8] TZ: They sweep parking lots. They’re a parking lot – he's the largest parking lot sweeper in the state of Arkansas. He's got about 20 trucks. If you see a sweeper truck running around a Walmart parking lot in the middle of the night, that's his guys.

[0:38:51.0] KM: Yeah, it's a cool business.

[0:38:52.9] TZ: Yeah, it really is.

[0:38:53.9] KM: I have a friend that works for a sweeping. I don't know if it's this one. It's perfect for their marriage, because she works in the day and then comes home and he leaves at night and goes and sweeps parking lots all night, and so then they see each other on the weekends. I thought, I've never ever thought about that, about somebody's got to be cleaning those parking lots.

[0:39:13.4] TZ: They do. You don't think about it.

[0:39:14.9] KM: You worked there for two years and you did a lot of good things for his company.

[0:39:20.8] TZ: I worked with sales. I worked with the guys. I just treated it as if it were my own, because Jim's just such a great and he really had it in mind for me to take it over. It's really what he wanted.

[0:39:35.8] KM: You didn't want to. Why?

[0:39:38.1] TZ: Oh, in that business all the work is not done Monday through Friday, 8:00 to 5:00. It's all done other hours. I'm a firm believer that if you're going to run a business, you should be there when the business is being run. I didn't want to work –

[0:39:57.4] KM: Nights.

[0:39:57.8] KM: I did not want to do it.

[0:39:59.3] KM: It didn't fit your lifestyle.

[0:40:00.3] TZ: It did not.

[0:40:00.9] KM: I agree. I wouldn't have done it either. There's not enough money in the world to make me want to do that. Some people are night people though, but I'm not.

[0:40:06.6] TZ: Right. I'm not. Unfortunately, I didn't have to do it.

[0:40:09.8] KM: Yeah. How did you find out about First Choice Drug Testing?

[0:40:15.0] TZ: Well, some fellows that I grew up in the same neighborhood with had this little drug testing company.

[0:40:21.1] KM: You have a lot of successful friends in your life.

[0:40:24.0] TZ: They knew me. They knew my background and knew where I'd been. The company was struggling and they just fired their manager, so they came to me and asked me to run it for them.

[0:40:37.0] KM: They got a great guy for probably cheap.

[0:40:40.1] TZ: Well, I told him no. First, I told him to bring me the financials, because I'm a numbers guy. It's all about the numbers. There was nothing there. I said no. They kept asking me and I kept saying no. Then finally one day they said, “Well, what if we gave you part of it?” I said, “I'm interested.” They gave me 25% and I started running it.

They had a lot of things going for them, a lot of tools in the shed, so to speak. I did a little research on the market and the competitors and the gross margin. I could see there was some opportunity in the city, so I started writing it and over time bought them all out.

[0:41:22.2] KM: That list you just said is a great list for people to use when they want to look at buying another business. You looked at the competitors?

[0:41:29.8] TZ: Got to look at competitors. I looked at that harder than anything.

[0:41:33.6] KM: Looked at the market.

[0:41:35.3] TZ: Looked at the market.

[0:41:36.0] KM: Looked at the gross profit.

[0:41:37.1] TZ: The gross profit.

[0:41:39.0] KM: Said okay.

[0:41:40.5] TZ: Yeah.

[0:41:42.7] KM: Let's talk about that business. How old is it now?

[0:41:46.3] TZ: It was started in 06, so it's –

[0:41:48.4] KM: Oh, it's getting old.

[0:41:49.2] TZ: Yeah, 13-years-old. I've been there since 10, 2010.

[0:41:53.7] KM: Tell me about the market.

[0:41:56.2] TZ: Drug testing is – we primarily test mostly for employers. We do do some criminal, or some court testing, some personal testing, but the bulk of our business is employers. There are lots of employers that are mandated to test, all federal employees, truck drivers, train operators, airline pilots, they have to be tested.

[0:42:17.6] KM: Thank goodness.

[0:42:18.1] TZ: Right, exactly. More and more companies, I would say the trend is ticking up on who does test versus who doesn’t.

[0:42:27.2] KM: Pharmacists need to be tested.

[0:42:28.2] TZ: Yeah, all medical nurses, doctors, anybody who has access to prescriptions, you'll find that they normally have a fairly robust testing program.

[0:42:38.4] KM: We don't drug test and I'll tell you why, because marijuana is one of the things that you test for, right?

[0:42:44.7] TZ: Correct.

[0:42:46.1] KM: They can use that against one of my employees, if by chance they happen to get hurt on the job and had to go to the emergency room. If we had drug testing in place, they would drug test them and the insurance company could use that against them if they found marijuana or something in their bloodstream, right?

[0:43:07.2] TZ: Correct.

[0:43:08.4] KM: It could be marijuana from two days ago.

[0:43:11.1] TZ: That’s correct.

[0:43:11.3] KM: It doesn't mean they were high at work.

[0:43:13.2] TZ: That's correct.

[0:43:13.5] KM: I don't feel like Flag and Banner should be in people's lifestyle that much.

[0:43:18.8] TZ: Everybody has a different opinion on that.

[0:43:22.5] KM: Oh, sure. Not that I'm right.

[0:43:25.0] TZ: Yeah. The drug testing industry's stance on medical marijuana, any type of marijuana, legalized marijuana is that it's illegal federally. The problem with it is if you test positive just as you said, I don't know if you smoked 5 minutes ago, or five days ago.

[0:43:46.5] KM: That stay in your system that long? How long does it stay?

[0:43:48.6] TZ: It can stay I say 30 days.

[0:43:52.4] KM: Oh, look. Radio, Jesus. No, he's already researched it.

[0:43:56.8] TZ: We've had folks that it's stayed up as long as 90.

[0:43:59.8] KM: Oh, that's – they're lying.

[0:44:01.0] TZ: No, we tested them every week. No, they're not lying. It just depends on your metabolism, your body weight, the strength of the marijuana you use, how much you use.

[0:44:10.5] KM: Oh, and it's good these days.

[0:44:12.0] TZ: Yeah.

[0:44:13.8] KM: I wouldn’t go –

[0:44:14.5] JM: Closer to Kerry.

[0:44:15.3] KM: I wouldn’t go near that stuff. That’s not like it was when I was in high school.

[0:44:18.8] TZ: Exactly.

[0:44:21.3] KM: You can smell guys in the grocery store walking by and you're like, “What?”

[0:44:25.7] TZ: There's some things that consider, a lot of companies have moved towards saliva testing, especially for marijuana, because it only has a detection window of two or three hours. A lot of companies are starting to move towards that.

[0:44:37.8] KM: Well, it lowers your insurance rate doesn't it, if you drug test?

[0:44:42.0] TZ: Insurance carriers like for employers to drug test. There is a program, Arkansas workers comp, a drug-free workplace program. If you follow that program, the insurance carrier has to give you 5% off your insurance.

[0:44:56.8] KM: If I had a lot of employees and I offered a lot of insurance, I would have to do that. It would just make good business sense. I don't have that problem.

[0:45:08.7] TZ: In a lot of cases, that 5% would cover the cost of your drug test.

[0:45:12.4] KM: Oh, would be just enormous.

[0:45:14.1] TZ: Yeah, lots of money.

[0:45:15.3] KM: It could be really big. You've implemented operational efficiencies, like what? You've provided employee motivation to help form a company culture of growth and prosperity, you've improved and reflected on increased sales and improved the bottom line, because that's what you do. Like you said you bought, or did you say it you've bought everybody out then?

[0:45:37.8] TZ: Yes. Yeah. My son decided he wanted to get involved. When that happened, I didn't – I knew I could grow it. I just hadn't really focused on growing it when I had partners, because that would just increase a higher deficit for me to buy them out in the future.

[0:45:54.8] KM: Oh, that's a good point.

[0:45:56.3] TZ: When he decided to get involved, then I approached my last partner and we struck a deal and I bought him out. That was about a year and a half ago. Now we're in growth mode.

[0:46:06.1] KM: With your son.

[0:46:06.7] TZ: Yes.

[0:46:07.2] KM: Just like me with my sons. Ain’t it nice?

[0:46:09.7] TZ: Yes.

[0:46:10.7] KM: I like it too. You get to see your family and work with them. Is your wife still working there?

[0:46:15.0] TZ: No. She does not work there.

[0:46:18.5] KM: I know you're creative. I know you're always thinking. What are you thinking you're going to do with the company next? What's your plans for you and your son? What are you all cooking up?

[0:46:27.7] TZ: We're just growing it. We’re getting involved in more occupational health. We just purchased a van that has six hearing booths of it. We're doing here a lot more occupational stuff, doing hearing site – testing on-site.

[0:46:41.9] KM: It’s nice.

[0:46:42.4] TZ: We do a lot of physicals. I've got a couple of docs and a APN who work for me on a 1099 basis, so we do –

[0:46:48.6] KM: That’s nice.

[0:46:50.7] TZ: We're looking at growing the occupational side and what that's going to do as we get more occupational work, it's going to drive the drug testing. We're going to be able to get those people's drug testing business by getting in there on the occupational side.

[0:47:02.3] KM: Do you give flu shots?

[0:47:03.5] TZ: Yes.

[0:47:04.0] KM: You'll come out to a job site and give flu shots to everybody?

[0:47:07.0] TZ: We do a lot of on-site work. We will come out and do anything that you – as a matter of fact, we're doing 10 physicals. I'm dragging a doc out next week to a company and we're going to do all these people's physicals.

[0:47:17.9] KM: Why? For insurance purposes?

[0:47:19.9] TZ: These are for DOT physicals.

[0:47:22.0] KM: What’s DOT?

[0:47:23.3] TZ: Department of Transportation. If you drive a commercial vehicle that is over 10,000 pounds, you have to have what's called a medical car. A lot of people call it medical car. You have to have a physical in order to get that medical car.

[0:47:36.0] KM: We don't want you having a heart attack when you’re driving a big rig.

[0:47:38.0] TZ: Right, when you’re driving. Exactly.

[0:47:39.5] KM: Who else needs your services? Insurance companies, doc –

[0:47:44.2] TZ: Trucking, airline, any of the DOT, which is trucking, Coast Guard, pipeline.

[0:47:52.6] KM: This seems unlimited to me.

[0:47:54.6] TZ: It really is. Anybody who's in a safety-sensitive position, most manufacturing plants who have manufacturing equipment, they want their people drug tested for safety. Most people who are – that's primarily it is safety – anything safety sensitive. Any drivers. A lot of companies who even drive personal, or company vehicles, they want them tested. A lot of people, when they have an accident they need a test. I've got collectors that are on call 24/7, 365, so we get called out in the middle of the night. If you if you see on the news big truck, big wreck, it might be us out there doing the testing, because they have to be tested quickly.

[0:48:38.7] KM: The EMTs can't do that?

[0:48:40.4] TZ: No. If it's federal DOT testing, you have to be a DOT certified collector and you have to have the training and you have to have the breath alcohol device that is DOT approved.

[0:48:50.6] KM: Are these people all have training to do that? I mean, what training do they have to get to come to work for you?

[0:48:55.3] TZ: Yes, we train them.

[0:48:56.3] KM: You train them?

[0:48:57.1] TZ: Yeah, we train in-house. The DOTs training is fairly loose. It doesn't specify. It gives you some pretty broad guidelines, so we do our own training.

[0:49:07.6] KM: How many employees you have now?

[0:49:09.1] TZ: I've got six full-time and then I've got about eight that work on a 1099 basis when I need them.

[0:49:17.5] KM: You're just going to keep – blowing and going. Did you get any surprises when you started this business?

[0:49:26.2] TZ: None that come to mind. Well, shouldn't have been a surprise is how weak the competitors are.

[0:49:34.6] KM: Oh, thanks for bringing that up. I was going to ask you, who are your competitors?

[0:49:38.1] TZ: A lot of drug testing is done at urgent care centers, which are really medical facilities that do drug testing. When's the last time you went into one of those places and got service? How long did you have to wait when you went in there? Did they really treat you like a customer?

Well, what I've done is I've brought my industrial – my level of service in the industrial world. If you didn't have customer service, you didn't have a business. You said yes to everything. I brought that level of service to this little drug testing company, which nobody had seen, and so now people love us.

[0:50:20.7] KM: You're going to go across state lines, or can you?

[0:50:22.7] TZ: Not I want to.

[0:50:23.8] KM: You don’t?

[0:50:26.4] TZ: I learned a long time. I mean, I did all that. We did the 160 employee thing. You look back and –

[0:50:37.0] KM: Lost its fun.

[0:50:39.1] TZ: Yeah. I was a lot happier when I had 10 or 12 people there in Fort Smith, when it was just me.

[0:50:46.5] KM: Let me take a break and say you're listening to Up In your Business with me, Kerry McCoy and I'm speaking today with Mr. Tim Zimmerman, President of First Choice Drug Testing in Little Rock, Arkansas. I want to talk about SCORE. You started working for, or volunteering for SCORE. Tell our listeners what SCORE is.

[0:51:07.1] TZ: SCORE is a non-profit. We are a resource partner for the Small Business Administration, so our funding comes from the SBA what little we get. They've been around since the early 60s.

[0:51:19.6] KM: I've tried to figure that out. I could not figure out when they were – Hey listen, Tim. Before we go on, tell people how they can get in touch with you and we're going to wrap it up again. How do people call your SCORE services? Not your SCORE services, your drug testing services.

[0:51:33.3] TZ: Just firstchoice-testing.com. Get anywhere there, or the numbers 501-661-9992.

[0:51:42.2] KM: Say the website again.

[0:51:43.5] TZ: Firstchoice-testing.

[0:51:46.8] KM: I hate that dash.

[0:51:47.5] TZ: Yeah.

[0:51:49.7] KM: We're going to put it on the Flag and Banner website, also for people to be able to get it and we'll recap it again here at the end of the show, we'll say it again. Let's go back to SCORE. It started in the 1960s.

[0:52:03.2] TZ: Early 60s.

[0:52:04.1] KM: It's got SBA support, I didn’t realize that.

[0:52:06.8] TZ: We are what's called a resource partner for the SBA. Yes, our funding comes through the SBA. We're very intertwined with the SBA. Our office is at the SBA office. We're a non-profit. What we do is we try to help people who want to grow a business or start a business, and we do that through education and mentoring. We just walk people through the process and try to help them know what they don't know.

[0:52:37.3] KM: Know what they don't know. Boy, ain’t that the truth. Do you help them write a business plan?

[0:52:42.5] TZ: Yes. Yeah, we'll help them with plans. We don't do the work for them.

[0:52:45.0] KM: You don’t?

[0:52:45.9] TZ: We're going to give them plenty of tools to show them how to do the work.

[0:52:49.7] KM: The small, what used to be called the SBDC, now it's something else I think.

[0:52:57.1] TZ: ASBTDC.

[0:52:58.8] KM: Yeah, it's got a T in it for technology now.

[0:53:01.0] TZ: Yeah. Now they're also a resource partner for the SBA.

[0:53:04.2] KM: They will actually help you write your business plan, I think get down in the trenches with you, I believe. Or at least they did for me 40 years ago.

[0:53:11.7] TZ: We work very closely with them, because they are also a resource partner.

[0:53:15.2] KM: What made you decide that you wanted to start volunteering?

[0:53:19.4] TZ: I always had a desire to give back. I always felt like this is something I needed to do. Always. I've never found anything that really spoke to me from a volunteer standpoint. I even thought about going to the ASBTDC and volunteering. Then I saw a commercial one day about SCORE. I had no idea it existed.

[0:53:40.3] KM: What?

[0:53:41.6] TZ: I had no idea. Wish I'd have known when I was 23. I could have used them. Just called them up and volunteered.

[0:53:50.0] KM: Well, maybe today someone's listening that didn't know about them.

[0:53:52.7] TZ: Exactly.

[0:53:54.4] KM: I think that was your big motivation for coming on, or at least that's how you started your e-mail to me. You said you're a volunteer at SCORE. Me having used them when I was in my twenties was like, “I know that.” Oh, I think we're getting a phone call. Do you see a flashing light? Yeah, I do. Let's see if there's a caller there. Do you know how to answer it, Jayson? Hello caller, can you hear me?

[0:54:16.3] AB: Yeah, I guess,

[0:54:17.4] KM: Okay, good. You have a question for my guest?

[0:54:21.0] AB: Absolutely, absolutely. First of all, God first. I want to let you know that I'm Adrian Brewer and I was just listening to the show. and I wanted to find out about that small business.

[0:54:34.0] KM: Yeah, the mentoring, the SCORE, S-C-O-R-E. How do you get in touch with them?

[0:54:39.1] TZ: Just go to Little Rock SCORE – excuse me, littlerock.score.org.

[0:54:44.4] AB: Okay. Stand by. Let me see if I can grab a pen here really quick.

[0:54:50.1] KM: It'll also be on flagandbanner.com’s website too. We'll put a link in there for you. Have you got a pen yet?

[0:54:56.2] AB: Yeah, still grabbing –

[0:54:58.7] KM: Are you in the Flag and Banner Showroom? What you say?

[0:55:02.9] AB: You help with business plans? Because I have a pretty small business.

[0:55:06.7] TZ: Yes, we can help you.

[0:55:09.0] AB: I am so lost. I know how to do the business, but as far as the business aspect and everything – and more.

[0:55:18.1] KM: Come on. You got your pen yet?

[0:55:19.8] AB: Yeah, I’m ready.

[0:55:20.7] KM: Okay.

[0:55:21.9] TZ: Just call – the easiest way to reach us is send us an e-mail and it’s littlerockscore, all rammed together, littlerockscore@sbcglobal.net.

[0:55:34.1] KM: What is the phone number?

[0:55:35.3] TZ: It’s 501-324-7379 extension 302.

[0:55:42.0] KM: Say that again, because I bet he can’t write that fast.

[0:55:45.1] TZ: 501-324-73779 extension 302.

[0:55:54.5] AB: Got it. Thank you so much.

[0:55:56.1] KM: All right. You’re welcome. Thanks for calling caller.

[0:55:57.8] AB: Yup. Bye.

[0:55:59.1] KM: Well, that makes me feel good about myself today. I don't know about y'all. I got a gift for you. Here it is.

[0:56:06.3] TZ: Cool.

[0:56:07.0] KM: It's a desk set for the US and Arkansas flag that you can put in your office at your –

[0:56:12.5] TZ: Awesome.

[0:56:14.4] KM: - First Choice Drug Testing office shelf. Thank you very much for coming on. Boy, I enjoyed talking to you. We could talk a long time, I think.

[0:56:21.1] TZ: Yeah, we could.

[0:56:23.0] KM: I relate to you so much.

[0:56:23.3] TZ: I can see.

[0:56:24.9] KM: Who’s our guest next week?

[0:56:25.9] TZ: We are replaying the interview from one year ago with Mr. Walter Hussman, Publisher of the Democrat-Gazette newspaper in Little Rock, Arkansas.

[0:56:33.7] KM: Walter Hussman is a third generation newspaper man and a giant in the newspaper business. He has two claims of fame. I listened to his show again just this morning when I decided to play him again next week. It is a wonderful show. He has two claims of fame. He merged the Arkansas Gazette with the Democrat newspaper, one of the biggest newspaper wars in America. He navigated that and was a – he was literally David against Goliath and he won. Seriously.

[0:57:07.8] TZ: That’s awesome.

[0:57:08.8] KM: He navigated the business change from print to online subscriptions during the dot-com boom and he mentored other newspapers on how to do it. He is a rock star. Jayson, will you tell our listeners how they can become a part of the show.

[0:57:22.7] JM: If you have a great entrepreneurial story you like to share with Kerry like Tim did today, you can send a brief bio to questions@upyourbusiness.org, message on flagandbanner.com’s Facebook, or make a comment on Kerry's blog.

[0:57:38.0] KM: Thank you, Jayson. Lastly, to our listeners, thank you for spending time with me and Tim. If you think this program has been about you, you're right, but it's also been for us. Thank you for letting us fulfill our destiny. Our hope today is that you've heard or learned something that's been inspiring or enlightening and that it whatever it is, will help you up your business, your independence or your life. I'm Kerry McCoy and I'll see you next time on Up In your Business. Until then, be brave and keep it up.

[END OF INTERVIEW]

[0:58:07.0] JM: You’ve been listening to Up in Your Business with Kerry McCoy, a production of flagandbanner.com. If you missed any part of the show, or want to learn more about UIYB, go to flagandbanner.com and click on Radio Show, like us on Facebook, or subscribe to her weekly podcast wherever you like to listen. All the interviews are recorded and posted the following week with links to resources you heard discussed on today’s show. Underwriting opportunities available upon request.

Kerry’s goal is to help you live the American Dream.

[END]

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