With big risks, come big rewards. EO San Francisco’s Kevin Balestrieri took the risk of a lifetime by fully committing to his startup in 2013. In the process, he sought to create a fun, dedicated workplace that cultivated what many construction firms lack— culture.
1. When did you choose to fully commit to your startup?
KB: “I was working a full-time job when I started BALI Construction, and it wasn’t something I was passionate about. My wife and best friend helped me realize how much potential the company had to be successful, so I quit my job and put all of my energy into it.”
2. How do you set your business apart from the competition?
KB: “What differentiates us is our pre-construction process— it’s very detailed. If clients don’t have an architect or drawings for design concepts, our team helps them create their ideal space and then realize it.”
3. What are the defining components of your company’s design aesthetics?
KB: “Our work can be described as very detail-oriented. I am a finish carpenter by trade, so I understand the importance of quality craftsmanship. We love to take on projects with detailed components, like restaurants, and use as many sustainable products as we can.”
4. Speaking of sustainability, how do you keep your company culture sustainable?
KB: “Our business is special because of the wonderful employees who work here. They are passionate and talented in their trade, so I try to create an environment that both supports employees and holds them accountable for their part in the company.”
5. How, exactly, do you keep your employees accountable?
KB: “I encourage consistent and open communication at all times and have frequent team-building activities outside of work. I also help my staff set quarterly business and personal goals. We have quarterly check-ins about them. Also, each year we hire a facilitator to lead a meeting that determines our revenue goal and topic for the year.”
6. What was your topic this year?
KB: “‘Keep Kevin selling.’ That was a huge deal because it made everyone realize they are all accountable for the company’s growth. Our employees understand our desire to expand, so that was a great team-building moment for us.”
7. Does your community play a role in your company culture?
KB: “Absolutely. We reach out to the community in several ways. Namely, we keep a strong connection with businesses whose buildings we helped create. That’s another reason why we love doing restaurants— we can go back to see our work and visit our clients. We also love to promote their businesses and recommend them.”
8. How are you using your experiences to give back to your community?
KB “I hold information sessions for construction management students at two local colleges, and I’ve implemented an internship program for the company. The interns are a part of our company culture and learn a variety of skills from our employees.”
9. What are your future goals for BALI Construction?
KB “We’re looking to expand our business nationally. In the short-term, we’re doing projects in Los Angeles, Las Vegas and Arizona. I want to have projects in all 50 states by 2020.”
10. What tips can you share for those who want to marry their passion with purpose?
KB “Figure out what niche your passion could fit into; you have to differentiate yourself from the crowd. If it’s your passion, it will come naturally to you. Seeing the concept as successful will be hard at first, but don’t give up— it will pay off!”
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