As one of the founders of eeko Couriers Inc., a 100% hybrid courier company based in Vancouver, Joe defines his company’s success in one word — sustainability — and his personal success in another — fulfillment. He shares his thoughts on doing well by doing good business, and lessons learned along the way.
Q. Your company is known for being a business innovator and agent for positive change. What’s been the key to its success?
We saw an opportunity to improve things in an outdated industry by providing great service with dramatically less impact to the environment. But one of the biggest factors to building our company has been our focus on team. The traditional courier business model is to have a fleet of owner-operators, but this often fuels harsh competition amongst drivers within the same company. We do something different. We provide 100% hybrid cars to our driver-employees and this allows us to build a team philosophy and positive company culture. In the end, it’s all about the people.
Q. What have you learned about building a company?
That the strength of your foundation is everything. To our company, that means our values of honesty, teamwork, environmental ethics and being a good corporate citizen. When we run into challenges, we always go right back to those core values to resolve the issue.
Q. What does it take to make that happen?
Number one, patience. Building a business takes a lot of hard work and things don’t happen overnight. Number two, build a good foundation. Make sure your partners and your team are on side, informed and engaged. Number three, do your research and get set up intelligently. As an example, our operations are almost 100% paperless and that makes us extremely efficient.
Q. You started this business with two brothers and you all still work together. So we’re wondering if that makes family get-togethers better or worse.
[laughs] Well, family dinners are more about enjoying time with our growing families than talking business. But honestly, there’s nobody I’d rather have by my side through all the highs and lows of running a business than my brothers. We all bring something different to the table.
Q. Your company manifesto is to combine practicality with progressive environmental ethics and an innate sense of social responsibility. Where are you going from here? Do you see any other industries in particular that could benefit from this kind of reinvention?
We’re making sure that we stay ahead of the curve, so we’re watching the progress of electric vehicles and Vancouver’s charging-station infrastructure. But other than that, I think any industry could benefit from being more innovative and using resources efficiently. Our delivery operations are almost 100% paperless and the efficiencies far exceeded our expectations. I’d love to see more companies get on board with that.