For Chris Hunter, running an HVAC business in a small rural town didn’t stop him from taking his company from a weekend gig to a 10-million dollar operation. Chris is incredibly well-respected in the trades, and for more than just being founder of Go Time Success Group and Director of Customer Relations at Service Titan. He’s just an incredibly humble, genuine human being that we were lucky to have the chance to sit down and figure out what makes Chris successful.
Hailing from Ardmore, OK, Chris grew up in a pretty rural area. After graduating from Ardmore High School, he worked for AT&T as a service technician, fixing air conditioners all across Southern Oklahoma. He credits his former boss for continuously pushing him to become better, and for encouraging him to get his contractor’s license. Initially, the license was just a fallback in case anything ever happened with his AT&T job, but Chris started doing some heating and air jobs on the weekends for friends and family. It didn’t take long for his side-hustle to become a second full-time job, and despite working around the clock he wasn’t really making much money. He didn’t know anything about business, he just knew how to be a good service tech. Eventually, working two jobs caught up to him, and Chris knew he had to give something up. Chris talked to his wife and decided he wanted to leave AT&T and try to do heating and air full-time. The first year of Hunter Super Techs was a struggle, but as Chris says, “you gotta give up to go up”.
Chris knew he wasn’t an expert in business, so instead of leaning on his technical expertise, he identified his weaknesses and worked hard to strengthen them. He read books like Ron Smith’s HVAC Spells Wealth, and surrounded himself with people like former To The Point guest Lou Hobaiaca, putting in the hours of learning from those who had already paved a path for success.
It didn’t take long for Chris to realize the limitations of his small community. With such a small population, he would have to get creative to bring Hunter Super Techs to his exit strategy mark of 10 million dollars. One thing Chris did know is what mattered in his community. Attending church, football games, and being friendly with his neighbors was a start to networking and expanding his reach. He remembers reading the E-Myth, and having a revelation when learning The People Law which states, “Each time you add a new person to your business using an intelligent turn key system, a system that works, you expand your reach”.
His vision for growth at Hunter Super Techs was to develop great leaders and processes, and duplicate their system in different areas. As he was growing and multiplying in different areas, the most gratifying part was giving technicians just like he was a career path. Chris enjoying setting them up by giving them the chance to run a business (a different location of Hunter’s) with all of the benefits and perks of being an owner while handling all of the stuff owners don’t like, from dispatching and billing to marketing and insurance. He just had his leaders focus on becoming a part of their community, giving back, and building a great team. This approach grew the business to the 10 million dollar mark, and Chris reached out to experts like Ken Goodrich, Ron Smith, and other industry legends to figure out how a liquidity event should best be handled. At the end of 2018, Hunter’s was successfully acquired and all of those employees that were running different Hunter’s locations have ownership in the company now!
Just after finalizing the acquisition of Hunter SuperTech, everything was going incredible for Chris. He was on the top of the world, enjoying the culmination of all of his hard work. He was enjoying his family, including some new grandchildren. Suddenly, one night Chris fell to the floor in convulsions. His wife rushed him to the hospital, and the doctor found something in his lungs that looked concerning. After a PET scan, they told Chris he has 8 large masses on his lungs that they thought was Stage IV cancer. It didn’t look good. The trades community rallied behind Chris and prayed for him. After having the growths biopsied, Chris had some great news. It was a rare fungal infection that was curable! It was a long year of treatment, but Chris made it through.
Chris highlights that if he hadn’t put himself in a great position with his business when his lung issue happened, it would have been so much worse. He considers having an exit strategy and working towards that goal of utmost importance, because one way or another, you’re going to have to leave the business. He has a renewed passion, and every day when he wakes up, he thanks God for another day. He’s not done, and now it’s Go-Time!
At Go Time Success Group, Chris teaches businesses how to grow. There’s a community of shared experiences, and helping each other get from point A to point B as quickly as possible. The name “Go Time” comes from the secret to Chris’ 10-million dollar growth in smalltown, and is a helpful acronym that gives a guideline for executing the strategy that brought Chris to where he is today.
You have to step outside your business and dream a little! Where do you want to go? Your first step is figuring out where you want to be. Start at the end and work your way backwards, creating baby steps to get to that eventual finish line.
You may have your own ideas for how to take each step you’ve laid out, but the wise man learns from those who have already figured it out. Observe and learn from those who made it to where you want to be. Once Chris hit 1 million, he was looking to learn how someone got to 3. From 3 million, to 5, and so on.
This is the most important part of the acronym. You can’t just sit around. If you have your goals and you know the steps you need to take, what are you waiting for? Go out and conquer!
Inspect means having programs and systems in place. You have to have a way to measure your progress. This includes KPIs, numbers, and learning from the actions that you’ve taken.
Modification is your daily huddle, and should involve your inner-circle leadership team. It’s looking at yesterday’s results and figuring out how to improve on them. How can you make your processes better?
The E is the secret sauce, and it’s the engagement. It’s all about the people. Chris knew if he was going to achieve his goals, he would need a team. He poured into developing leaders, building his team, and surrounding himself with leaders.
Chris admits, it’s tough being on the sidelines as a former owner. What helps bring Chris solace comes from something Ben Stark taught him. Even though he gave his heart and soul into the business, “a business is a vehicle. It’s not who you are, it doesn’t define you, it’s not who you are. It’s a vehicle to help you accomplish your personal missions.” For Chris, his personal mission is to gain influence to point people to Jesus, and now his platform is bigger because of his former businesses.