Al Perkinson is founder and CEO of Bajio Inc., a maker of premium, polarized sunglasses for fishing and for people who spend time on the water. The New Smyrna Beach company launched in April 2021.
What implications do you see for your organization resulting from the coronavirus and how are you mitigating the potential risks and challenges?
The biggest challenge is supply chain related. We have manufacturing partners on four continents. Getting our goods produced and shipped on schedule during a global pandemic has been a challenge, with factory closings, part shortages and clogged shipping channels. But we’re lucky to have minimized the impact on our business through good planning and great partners.
What actions have you taken or will take to return to the growth expectations you had as 2019 ended? When will it be achieved?
We launched in April 2021, so that question doesn’t exactly apply, but our sales in 2021 were double what we projected.
An organization’s culture flows from the top down. What leadership skills do you find effective in promoting the agency’s mission and vision to employees, clients and customers?
We’re small, so we’re able to talk regularly with all our employees. Face-to-face is the best. Culture is also driven by the types of people you hire. We’ve been careful to only bring in folks that will be a good fit with the people already here. We’ve also made a point of hiring people from diverse backgrounds and celebrating their cultures.
At EVOLVE we have a shared belief that leaders develop their success skills by overcoming the challenges and adversity they face. Do you believe that hypothesis and if so, what adversity have you faced and overcome that helped put you where you are today?
Yes, that’s probably true. I don’t think we’ve known anything but adversity since we’ve started. We developed the plans for the company, raised the money for it and launched it in the middle of a global pandemic, which created new challenges every day. We also entered a highly competitive market and went head-to-head with some giants. The leaders must initiate the can-do attitude, but it will spread with every success. Our whole team has met every challenge with optimism and energy. Each challenge that is overcome creates more belief that the next one can be overcome as well.
What closing comments or counsel would you offer to emerging business leaders and entrepreneurs to continue their path to success?
Have a clear vision and a belief in that vision. Articulate the path to achieving it and believe in that path. But, don’t be afraid to make mid-course corrections and to walk away from investments you’ve made. It’s what’s in front of you that matters. What’s been spent are sunk costs. It’s all about how you’re going to spend the next dollar.