What's New: Technical Threads

November 9, 2011
Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share

Welcome to What’s New Wednesday, a new feature profiling local startups—and the entrepreneurs behind them. This week, we meet Adam Howell and Matt Simon, who opened Technical Threads in Greenwood in May.

Type of business: industrial fastener distributor

Address: 1729 S. U.S. 31, Suite F, Greenwood

Phone: 215-4781

E-mail: adam.howell@tech-threads.com, matt.simon@tech-threads.com

Website: www.tech-threads.com

Founded: May 10, 2011

Owners: Adam Howell and Matt Simon

Owners’ background: Business partners Matt Simon and Adam Howell met while both were working in sales for construction-supply behemoth Ferguson Enterprises, which has more than two dozen locations in Indiana.

Matt Simon, co-owner, Technical ThreadsMatt Simon, above, and partner Adam Howell sell industrial fasteners at startup Technical Threads. (IBJ Photo/Perry Reichanadter)

Simon, 30, is a St. Louis native who earned a business degree from the University of Evansville. He stayed there after graduation, selling specialized steam equipment before joining Ferguson. Simon moved to central Indiana in 2008 and now lives in Greenwood with his wife. They are in the process of adopting a baby boy from Ethiopia.

Howell, 28, started studying business at Franklin College and finished up at Ivy Tech Community College’s Bloomington campus. He started his career with Fastenal, the giant of the fastener industry, before moving on to Ferguson. He lives in Franklin.

Why started business: The men were working 70 hours a week in a “high-dollar, high-profile and high-pressure” sales environment, Howell said, and they simply couldn’t imagine keeping it up for another 30-plus years.

So they began talking, casually at first, about how to break free. They spent Saturdays at a Starbucks in Franklin, putting together what would become a 50-page business plan that addressed every contingency they could imagine.

“We talked about everything,” Simon said. “We do business the same way.”

With potential vendors and clients identified and cash flow projections in hand, they set out to sell fasteners—think screws, bolts, nuts, washers and the like—to industrial customers. In the past three months, they’ve established a “laser focus” on serving heavy industry, including power plants and oil refineries.

Competitive advantage: The partners believe their small size gives them an edge. They are able to work directly with customers to find the right part for the intended use, including specialty pieces.

“Big companies are the best competitors for small businesses,” Howell said. “They’re not as efficient, and they can’t react as fast.”

Simon cited Technical Threads’ attention to detail: Order accuracy at the six-month mark stood at 99.7 percent.

That’s where their pre-launch planning helped. Before they hung out their shingle, the men spent countless hours figuring out how they’d track products as they come in and out of their Greenwood warehouse.

”On Day 1 we had 14,000 part numbers set up,” Simon said. “We wanted to have  systems in place. The first day, we took orders and were able to process them in an efficient manner.”

Startup cost: $32,000

Funding source: personal savings

Potential problem and contingency plan: Cash flow is important to any small company, and getting paid is a primary concern. Howell and Simon said that hasn’t been a problem for them so far, but they’re in a good position to handle slow payments since the business does not have any debt.

That, too, was intentional.

“We wanted to do something that was scalable and sustainable for our lives,” Simon said. “A lot of people invest money in the stock market. We decided to invest in ourselves.”

And they spent the bare minimum, using most of their seed money for technology. Their office is utilitarian at best, furnished through Craigslist.

“I’d rather spend money on stuff that makes us money,” Simon said.

First-year goal: Business has been brisk—enough so that Simon and Howell say they’ve already exceeded their expectations for the year.

Both owners are drawing a salary, and they’ve met their profit goals for 16 weeks in a row—and counting. Now they’re looking to hire someone to help out in the warehouse.  

“We’re basically where we projected we’d be in years two and three,” Simon said.

“We keep raising our personal goals,” Howell chimed in.

The men declined to share specifics of their financial plan, citing competitive factors.

“When you’re starting out with no market share, you don’t need the whole pie,” Simon said, “just a piece of it. We just need to sell more of X than we pay out of Y.”

ADVERTISEMENT
  • Pirates
    Men, congratulations and keep up the good work. Our country was built on small business owners such as yourselves and it make me happy to see you;re succeding.
    • Keep it Up
      Guys,

      Keep up the great work, you have been amazing to work with. We look forward to continuing our relationship for the years to come.

    Post a comment to this story

    COMMENTS POLICY
    We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
     
    You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
     
    Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in IBJ editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
     
    No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
     
    We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.
     

    Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

    Sponsored by
    ADVERTISEMENT
    1. Good Day I am Mr (Victoria Wright) from United state of America, i stayed in NEW YORK, and i have a broke up business, until i found this company email who help me to gain a loan for business,, and now i want to used this short medium to congratulate the below company for the fast and safe money they loan to me without any form of collateral, i loan 500,000USD from the company to save my business and lots more, i saw their mail on the internet, everyone always give testimony for what they did, so i quickly contacted them and they all did everything for me without stress and my money was sent to my account just 3 days later, i was surprise and i feel so glad, now i have a standard business control agent who help me, now i will advice those who need urgent loan to contact him at the bellow email:zenithfirm12@gmail.com

    2. NOTICE:This is to inform the general public that Vampires are real. My name is James Franklyn.,am an agent of vampire,am here to introduce our new world trend to you,a world of vampire where life get easier,we have made so many persons vampires and have turned them rich,you will be assured long life and prosperity,you shall be made to be very sensitive to mental alertness,stronger and also very fast,you will not be restricted to walking at night only even at the very middle of broad day light you will be made to walk.In case you are wildly oppressed by some unscrupulous persons we can still help you fight them.Your protection is assured immediately you join.Just contact the bellow email if you are interested we are here to attend to you anytime you want us. Contact the bellow email for more details. Email:vampirescreed@hotmail.com Sincerely: James Franklyn.

    3. Bravo! Someone else that is willing to speak the truth! Bravo!_____NBCSN is available in almost 2 MILLION more homes than just a few years ago, but Indycar STILL gets less total viewers than it did just a few years ago when NBC took over Versus. Attendance and ratings cratered with the end of season races (just when the title battle got "interesting" HAH!__________And now...new race in Basilia, where Miles celebrated the "rich history" of Indycar racing there. Rich history? What, 7 events in the 100 years of AOW? Yep, some history. Well, at least its an oval. It's not??? Are you kidding me??? Gosh darn road racin furriners.

    4. PURITY RAY LOAN OFFER........ Have you been denied by your banks,or are you in need of of an urgent loan to pay of your bills we are capable of giving loans @ cheaper rate to interested individuals, student, companies and members of the public in need of finance to settle bills, we do offer considerable loans which you can count on. For more information on our various types of loan,then you will have to contact PURITY RAY LOAN FIRM, to help you achieve your desire LOAN APPLICATION FORM TO BE FILLED BORROWERS INFORMATION * Full name:………………………. * SEX * ……………………………. * Country………………………….. * State:……………………………. * Land:…………………………….. * Occupation:…………………….. * phone number:…………………. * Telephone: ………………………….. * Age:………………………………. * Amount needed as loan:……… * Loan Duration:………………….. * Propose of Loan:……………….. * Annual revenue:………………… * Monthly Income:……………….. * Guarantee:………………………. * Payment: monthly or annually Email.....purityrayloanfirm@gmail.com Thank you and God bless Mr Purity Ray PURITY RAY LOAN FIRM we tend to serve you better

    5. Problem: most of the people responding to this article don't know about this service AT ALL! Why? Lack of awareness. This isn't IndyGo. This is CIRTA: might as well be the mattress company because they are asleep at the wheel - something like 3 directors over the last year? Playing with federal grant money is great! This "region" wants commuter rail service, has spent MILLIONS on Transportation studies yet can't even support a commuter bus line? This is largely for suburban riders to get to downtown - not for "service people to work in our hotels and restaurants" ! Get your head out of your backside!! These are professionals, students etc. that don't want to fight traffic, save some money on parking, gas, stress.... if CIRTA would put their federal money into widely promoting the sevive to Greenwood, Fishers & Carmel instead of finding directors and studies - this would be a successful service. Our family uses(d) it daily for the last several years - but the recent uncertainty & now unreliability due to cuts from Carmel has been a problem. Now, costs us an additional $350/month for gas & parking ( $4200/year) plus vehicle wear, service, environmental impact ... YES - this REGION needs this this type of service in order to keep growing and getting the people it needs to fill skilled positions in downtown Indianapolis. Think outside of your own car !!!

    ADVERTISEMENT