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Matt Shoup graduated from Colorado State University in 2003 and settled down in Fort Collins to begin a corporate career in mortgage banking, but was laid off suddenly in 2005. Matt then founded M & E Painting that same year with only $100 to his name, a passion for entrepreneurship, a dedication to service and excellence, and a pressing need to support his family.
M & E Painting provides residential and commercial repainting services in Northern Colorado. M & E Painting has quickly grown to become Northern Colorado’s most recognized and reputable painting contractor.
Matt founded Shoup Consulting in 2009. Shoup Consulting Inspires Entrepreneurs through Matt Shoup coaching, writing and speaking. Matt’s passion for entrepreneurship shines through in all the work he does with helping entrepreneurs form and grow their companies.
MO: How and why did you establish two such seemingly different companies? Did the development and success of one business inspire the other?
Matt: Yes it did. As M & E Painting started to become a success, many other entrepreneurs started to take notice of me, and called me for advice. At first I would sit down for coffee or lunch to let them pick my brain. As this began to happen more and more, I turned it into a business which Shoup Consulting is today. The two businesses are different in terms of the services that are offered. The one thing that is kept very consistent is the idea, passion, and dedication to entrepreneurship and growth. I love what I do, whether it is running or growing the painting business, or helping other entrepreneurs grow theirs. Although they are different, the energy and synergy of entrepreneurship is very prevalent in both. Every day we strive to serve our customers with excellence and inspire them with our service!
MO: Where does your clear love of entrepreneurship come from? Did you have any early influences or inspirations?
Matt: Yes I did. When I was 10 years old, I wanted my parents to buy me a $200 CD player. When I asked them for $200, they told me to “go find a way to make your own money”. So I did. I borrowed their lawnmower and went around my neighborhood mowing lawns during the summer. I made well beyond my $200 I needed for the CD player. That money was reinvested into a candy peddling business I ran out of my middle school locker. I had a passion for entrepreneurship and the results it can create for somebody willing to take the risk and work hard from an early age. I also worked for others and saw the future I would have had exchanging my hours for dollars to make money for somebody else. I decided that entrepreneurship was for me. When I found myself working in a corporate banking job I was not passionate about and knew there was no future in, the entrepreneurial bug kicked back in. To my surprise, I was let go from the bank without notice, but it was the best thing that ever happened to me. I just saw it as my kick in the butt to get started back to being an entrepreneur quicker than I planned. Looking back, it was the best day of my life when I got let go from that bank.
MO: M&E Painting won the INC Magazine and Wining Workplaces Top Small Workplace Award in 2011 last year. How have you created a work atmosphere worthy of such recognition?
Matt: We are very much a family at M & E Painting. When we bring people on board to join the team, we recruit diligently to find and attract others that meet up with our values. We are more than just a company that paints houses. We are constantly focusing on growth, both personal and professional. We are also focusing daily on being a better company than we were the day before. This is also true when it comes to creating an environment our team is passionate about working for. We always strive to foster a winning workplace where our team raves just as much about working here, as our customers rave about the work we do for them. I am a big believer in taking care of the people that take care of you, and when you do that with excellence, you will have a winning workplace. It was a huge honor to receive the award because the organization giving the award interviewed and surveyed our team. The award was based purely on their feedback, and I was proud to know that working here meant so much to the team.
MO: Congratulations on publishing your first book. Can you tell us the process behind writing it and what insights you felt you had to offer the greater public?
Matt: As Shoup Consulting began to grow and I was speaking more and more, one of the topics I spoke about was “Becoming an Award Winning Company”. As I continued to develop and deliver the talk, more and more people were giving me feedback about the value that it brought to them and their business. I had a goal set to write a book by 2013, but just not the inspiration of a topic. I knew this topic was the one. It is unique, and no other speakers, coaches, or consultants talk about this concept. So the writing began. I started the book (Titled: Become and Award Winning Company) towards the beginning of 2011, and had it finished by December 2011. I went the self publishing route which gave me more control of the message, content and time frame of distributing the book. I learned a lot from other authors through this process, and it was a very big growing experience for me. Writing a book is a very personal thing, I was so passionate about the message, and I wanted it to be perfect for my readers. I enjoyed interviewing other award-winning entrepreneurs about how they did it, and made these interviews a part of the book. By time I had the final pages done, it was off to press and ready to be purchased on Amazon. The feedback I have received so far from readers has been excellent. They were very open to the topic and applying it in their business, and I already have a few companies applying the principles and processes into their business.
MO: How has M&E Painting been able to maintain a 98.6% customer satisfaction rating with since first starting out in 2005?
Matt: One of the big core values we live by at M & E Painting is to do what you say you are going to do. We know and understand that keeping our customers happy is one of the biggest things that will make or break us. At the end of the day, we are people serving people, and we do business by treating our customers with respect. We never promise that things will always go perfect, but we do promise that if they don’t we will make things right. This is one of the big reasons we have such a high satisfaction rating. If we ever drop the ball, we pick it up and hit a homerun with it. Our industry is very fragmented with painting contractors who do not understand how to work well with people, so many times we walk into a situation where our potential customers have their guard up. Once we show them our friendliness, and true willingness to serve them with excellence, they are immediately relieved. Then when we deliver on the promises made, they are ecstatic.
MO: You’ve actually gained an impressive amount of recognition and awards for your business efforts over the years. Which award has been the most meaningful to you?
Matt: Yes, we have thanks. The award that has been the most meaningful ties down to two. The first one is the INC Magazine and Winning Workplaces Top Small Workplace Award. This one was the most meaningful from the standpoint of the award being given based on feedback from the M & E Team to the awards organization. With many awards, your award may be given based on your responses to questions, interviews, and essays, but in this case, the majority of the award was determined on the feedback from the team. This award increased morale dramatically within the organization and let continued to let the team know that they were a part of something bigger than just working for a painting company. The second award that really meant a lot to me was the Colorado Biz Top Young Professional Award which I received in 2010. It is always an honor to work alongside other young go getters in the entrepreneurial industry and to be on the stage, standing next to so many that have made a positive impact on the Colorado business landscape was truly inspiring. Being able to get to know all the nominees and network, and connect with them was really fun. At the end of the evening to know that Colorado and Colorado Biz honored me as one of the Top Young Professionals in the state continued to fuel my passion and drive to do what I do.
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