Innovating & Adapting: Success Tips from a SMB Owner
Geoff Foster is the Founder, CEO, and President of Core Technology Molding Corporation. He has an incredible story to tell, and it starts with his $31 million idea while still in graduate school. Below are excerpts from our podcast conversation. To listen to the entire podcast, sponsored by Pitney Bowes Financial Services, click the link above.
Brian: Can you tell our listeners about your company, what you do, when you got started and why you started your business?
Geoff: When I was getting my MBA at Wake Forest, I also worked as an engineer for a business that had Ford Motor Company as a client. One day, I’m tasked with fixing a leak in one of their car models. I designed a new part and was awarded a U.S. patent for it. My employer gave me the nice $99 plaque from the patent office, and then sold my patent to Ford Motor Company for $31 million.
Brian: Was it then that you realized you needed to become an entrepreneur?
Geoff: It certainly motivated me to start my own company. I knew I had more creative ideas and I wanted to be innovative. Core Technology launched in 2006. Over the past 15 years, we have developed an amazing client list. As a tier one provider, we have customers in 150 countries around the world.
Brian: What kind of year was 2020 for your company?
Geoff: 2020 was a crazy year! We started out busy with our aerospace clients. As we all know, by April, nobody was flying anymore. That part of our business completely stopped, Then, in May, BMW closed all their plants globally. We ship parts to BMW plants in South Carolina, Germany, China, Russia, and South Africa; all of them were closed for 30 days. Whirlpool was also closed for 30 days. Thankfully, we quickly pivoted to address the PPE shortage. In two weeks, we were making face shields and shipping them all over the country to dental schools, medical schools, and colleges and universities.
Brian: What kind of financial strain did the client closings put on your company and how did you respond? Did you participate in PPP or EIDL programs?
Geoff: It put a real financial strain. However, we did participate in a PPP, and that was a blessing. We consume a lot of energy running 24 hours a day. The PPP loan helped us with rent and utilities for two months; we never missed a beat. When our clients reopened their plants. we were ready to go.
Brian: From a financial perspective, do you have one main relationship with a bank? Or, do you have relationships with several financial institutions?
Geoff: We have three financial institutions that we work with on a regular basis. Our main banking partner did not participate in the PPP program. Thankfully, one of our other partners did and helped us get our loan. We were very strategic in setting up our banking relationships years ago. We did not want to put all our money eggs in one basket. Imagine if we had just one financial partner and they weren’t doing PPP loans. Our business would not have rebounded as quickly as it did.
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