Josh Stover | Crain's Atlanta

In this ongoing series, we ask executives, entrepreneurs and business leaders about mistakes that have shaped their business philosophy.

Josh Stover

Background:  

In 2015, Josh Stover founded 3D Printing Tech, a store in Midtown Atlanta offering services including 3D printing, scanning, modeling, training and repair. He also serves as CEO of Blue Media Supply, an audiovisual equipment and recordable media supplier. In addition, Stover and his wife purchased SweeTreats, an ice cream shop based in Highlands, North Carolina, in 2017. SweeTreats has two additional locations in Marietta and Milledgeville, Georgia, and Stover and his wife plan on further expanding the franchise.

The Mistake:

I started my first business, Blue Media Supply, in 2004. I definitely had mentors and financial assistance and other business associates that I learned from and worked with. But I always refused to take on a partner. I wanted to do everything myself. Part of the reason was I wanted to experience the profits myself. The other part is I’m a natural do-it-yourselfer, so it came naturally to me to do that.

As I grew the business, we had successful growth year over year and everything was going fine. But four or five years into running Blue Media, I realized that in order to scale big, it would take more efforts than just my efforts. It would take multiple people pushing toward it.

One of the things I realized was how valuable partners can be. They’re someone who can help move your business forward and cares about the business like you do. Mentors and associates are great, but at the end of the day, they’re not benefiting from the business.

Partners help a business grow. ... What two people produce is more than what one person can produce.

The Lesson:

Partners help a business grow. Everybody has strengths and weaknesses, and if your partner’s strengths are your weaknesses, everything will go faster. What two people produce is more than what one person can produce.

After Blue Media, I made it a point to seek out partners. That’s what I did with 3D Printing Tech. Right now, my partner Jason Daenzer is great because his skillset is the opposite of my skillset. He works on the back end. He makes everything happen. He has an engineering background, so he’s good at figuring out how we’re going to solve clients’ problems. He also guides our research and development, so if we want to get into another service offering, he figures out how to get that done.

With the ice cream business, SweeTreats, it was the same situation. In that regard, my wife Caron and I have partnered on that. Caron has a full-time corporate job as a vice president at AmericasMart, a wholesale trade center, so SweeTreats is a side business for us.

Our vision is to have it as our family business—have it something that can be a recognizable brand and something our children can take over. Ice cream is ice cream. It’s not like technology that will change by the time my children would take over.

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