Episode 87 – Mike Hunter, Domtec International
From Manure to Domes
Storing large quantities is a good application for a dome building as well as hurricane and tornado shelters, but in the beginning, they started out as potato storage in East Idaho.
As a young, newly married man, Mike had purchased some farmland in Hamer, Idaho. One day, while hauling manure from the feedlot pens and spreading it on the farm fields, he had the thought that there had to be a better way of making a living. He envisioned himself traveling the world making business deals. He left working on the farm and tried his hand in sales, eventually finding himself working for a company that made the dome potato storage units.
After the original owners decided to move to California, Mike and another employee of the company decided to break off and do their own business. They were successful but within the first couple of years, it was clear to Mike that the partnership wasn't going to work long term.
His jumping-off point to create Domtec International came when Mike was in Germany negotiating a deal. The German company wanted Mike's and his partner's company to be the general contractor, a role they had not previously played. When Mike approached his partner about taking that role he said no and as a result, Mike decided to do it on his own, and Domtec was born.
One of the biggest challenges that Mike faces in the business is finding, training, and keeping staff to work on the domes because they can be working on a project for months away from home.
When asked about whether or not a college degree is needed to have a successful business, Mike replied, “A university isn't the only place you can get an education. If you're a hard worker, and if you really pay attention and if you're really observant. If you want to learn, if you're just naturally curious and you'll try to learn what you have to learn, you can learn it.”
Domtec International frequently does work in foreign companies. The secret to success of working internationally is partnering with local experts. “If you know how to do it, it's not that hard. It was daunting but now that I've been through it several times it's not all that difficult,” Mike said.
His advice to those considering self-employment is to believe in themselves and sell a product that other people need to solve their problems. “If you take the time and do the hard work to be an expert in that then it's just a matter of sticking with it and working it out,” he said.
Mike also advises business owners to embrace delayed gratification. Many of the profits that come from a business need to be reinvested into the business. Mike repeated the quote by Dave Ramsey, “If you will live like nobody else then eventually you can live like nobody else.”
Mike is open about how he felt like a fraud at the beginning of his business. “In time you start to get comfort in your own skin,” Mike said. He shared how he's learned, in his own experience and from other leaders, that a little bit of fear is a good thing.
When asked what motivates Mike after all these years he said, “I've met some great people in different parts of the world. That's probably what motivates me the most now.” He attributes much of his success to surrounding himself with amazing people that work for the company.
The future of Domtec includes bringing up new leadership. “As long as we are going forward and upwards that's all that counts,” he said. Mike admitted that his days at Domtec are winding down and he's working on what his future days will look like on the golf course or in his backyard bird watching.
To find out more about Domtec, visit their website at https://domtec.com/.
Business Leadership Moment
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