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Trexlo Values Article

At the age of 41 and with a wife and young daughter to support, I left a cushy job in the “corporate” world to start my own business. I purchased the license to operate a franchise in the property damage restoration business and although I had been managing people for big corporations for the past 16 years, I was all of a sudden, getting a wake-up call in the area of leadership.

I had hired a couple of young guys to help me, in this physically demanding business, and it immediately became apparent to me, that “my” guys didn’t have the same understanding of business protocol that I left in the “corporate” world. They didn’t show up on time, that didn’t do what they said they were going to do, they just didn’t follow my unspoken “rules” of how to conduct yourselves in business!

By God’s grace, the business that I had purchased was a franchise license from a values based, franchisor, who is now called Neighborly Brands. And by God’s grace I had fourteen years previous to this, married a “rule following” wife who had visited the franchisor’s office with me during Initial training. While at the initial training, my wife, had without me realizing it, picked up a framed copy of those Values and hung them, on the office wall of my new business right above the water fountain. I drank a lot of water in those days as I was often overheated from my newly chosen career that called for physical labor or from being so frustrated with my employees that I internally overheated!

One day, as I was fuming about one of my employees being 15 minutes late, I was drinking water at the fountain, and it hit me that my new company needed some “rules”. I lifted my head to contemplate this newly developing thought, and I saw the Neighborly Values hanging on the wall, just where my wife had hung them. Not remembering what those Values were, and trying to figure out my first rule, I began reading the Neighborly Values, and the first line under Respect read, “Treating others as you would like to be treated”. I said to myself, “that’s a good rule, I think I will steal that one”. I skipped down to the section title Integrity and the next line read “making only make agreements that you are willing, able and intend to keep”. I again, had the inspired realization of that too, being a good rule to use. As I continued to read, every Value made sense as rules for my new company! Then it hit me. We didn’t need a set of rules… we just need these Values! I realized that these same Values could help frame and shape the type of company culture that I had been struggling to instill on my own.

On that day back in 2004, I began to understand that having a culture with a strong set of VALUES as the foundation of the business is the best way to build a company or organization’s culture unique to the business leader’s vision and congruent to his or her personal values.

The property damage restoration business that I started in 2004 flourished and I believe that having a Values based culture as the base of the business was a key to the success.  In 2016, when I purchased the 30 year old FASTSIGNS businesses in Richmond and Fredericskburg from the original owner, one of the very first actions was to establish values to be the foundation of this business. I realized that although these FASTSIGNS businesses had been successful for close to 30 years, the culture was destined to change under my new ownership, and I needed to start right away to establish the type of culture that fit me personally and as a business leader.

I named the LLC that purchased the business TREXLO, an acronym for the Biblical principles of Truth, Excellence and Love. Even if you don’t believe in the Bible, I don’t think you could argue that TRUTH, EXCELLENCE and LOVE and not three good things upon which to base a lifestyle. These three lifestyle principles were translated into a business Value set, by adding CLIENT FOCUS as the foundation and enhancing TRUTH with INTEGRITY and LOVE with PASSION and RESPECT. The four values of FASTSIGNS Central Virginia are now:



It has been a thrill for me to watch these TREXLO Values not only impact the business and personal practices of my 25 team members at FASTSIGNS, but also continue to challenge and impact me, as a person and as a leader. I love it when my FASTSIGNS teammates call me out for not acting in a manner consistent with one of our values! I love it when they challenge each other (and me) in regard to EXCELLENCE or CLIENT FOCUS, and I love it when they proudly recant stories of when a FASTSIGNS associate filtered a decision through the Values in a time of business or personal uncertainty. I’ve learned that these values help cover some of my weaknesses as a leader, and I’ve learned that by having these Values as the base of our culture, I have ample opportunity and challenge to work on “getting better” everyday!