Tell us your name and a little about yourself.
My name is Steve Houle, Founder and CEO of Parkit360. My entire life I’ve enjoyed two tasks: fixing things and helping others. Over the years, I’ve built a variety of unique inventions for friends and family directly out of my own garage.
Furthermore, I enjoy the outdoors – I simply love adventure activities like boating and camping that allow me to get in touch with nature. Parkit360 is the natural progression, allowing me to turn my passions into an occupation by helping others have a more positive experience when they decide to go camping or boating.
What exactly does your company do?
Parkit360’s electric trailer dolly aims to help anyone with a towing vehicle by making the process of parking a lot easier. If you’ve ever tried parking a boat, RV, or any other kind of trailer you know how tedious and time-consuming the process can be. When all you want to do after a long trip is get some rest, parking your trailer can take a long time. Our trailer dolly allows trailer owners to park much more easily, even in the tightest of spots, giving them much needed peace of mind.
What were the biggest challenges you have faced and how did you overcome them?
As with any business, we’ve run into several challenges throughout the years. Dealing with product design was really tough for us at the beginning. As a team, we had to develop the prototype, test it with customers to make sure their needs were fully met, and continuously tweak the product until we could release something we were proud of. This took a lot of time and effort from our end.
Other challenges came by way of seasonal ups and downs. Because our product is geared towards spring and summer activities, sales tend to drop come winter. It took a few years to learn how to manage cash flow so we could keep all our employees during the slow times.
The question of growth is something we’ve worked to overcome as well. We went through growing pains with cash flow due to having to increase our inventory. We also had to deal with changes in the market – during our 11 years of existence, our target audience has changed drastically and we’ve had to adjust for these changes. When the company started in 2009, most of our sales came through magazines, eBay, and third-party website traffic via Google Adwords. As the years went, our customers began to migrate to shopping mostly online and we got the majority of sales through our online platform – well over 90% of it, in fact.
What piece of advice do you wish someone had given you at the start of your career?
The most significant piece of advice that I wish I knew before I started my career was that competition is not your enemy. So often in the business world, we look at other similar brands as a threat – but this is a mistake. I myself was guilty of this. A better viewpoint is to see these other brands as a learning experience. See what’s out there, figure out what they do right and wrong, and improve your own product. Competition is a growth hormone and creates a larger awareness of the product that you couldn’t create yourself.
Who are your biggest influences and people you admire and why?
There are so many, but the two best influences of my career are my close friends who are also business owners: Doug Martin, Owner of Talent Lab in Kanata Ontario, and Caine Ruckstuhl, owner of Toletta. Just being able to bounce ideas off both of these guys has been monumental in helping my business succeed. I can confidently say that I wouldn’t be where I am right now with the help of these two great individuals.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are?
I am fortunate enough to have a beautiful family that is very supportive and has full confidence in my abilities. The pressure to not let them down is a great reason for my success and drives me each and every day.
I’ve even directly worked with some of my family. In the early years of my career, my brother Mark was my business partner and instrumental in helping me navigate the business world.
Lastly, I truly believe that I had divine help along the way. It’s hard to quantify of course, but I’m grateful for all the help God has given me. It’s helped me stay grounded and always live up to my true potential.
What do you see as your greatest success in life?
My proudest success by far is the fact that I’ve put together such a wonderful team here at Parkit360. We’re more than just a team – at this point we’re family!
Every single member on my team is valuable in some unique way. I truly can’t imagine losing any of them. We’re all working towards the same goals and celebrate once whenever we reach one. Every success in our company is not just a success for me, but for everyone. And you can really feel it at Parkit360.
My team is my biggest asset. Everyone is loyal and loves working on this amazing product. When you get a bunch of people together who are passionate about what they do, the effects are significant and team-wide. I invest a lot in my employees and enjoy spending time with them outside of work.
How can people follow your journey? Please list your social media URLs
https://instagram.com/parkit360Set featured image
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