Russell Sergent is the founder of Fleet Feet Sports, a running and athletic gear supply company based in Brookfield, Wisconsin. Sergent grew up in Rockford, Illinois, graduated from Rockford High School in 1988, and founded his first business in 1995. The business, which he still operates, is Pro-Source Distributors, supplying janitorial supplies to over 500 companies in the area. Sergent founded Fleet Feet Sports in 2008 in Brookfield. The company has continued to help people get the right gear for all of their personal distance running and athletic goals because of its focus on the total experience for all of its customers.
Russell Sergent founded Fleet Feet Sports because he found himself enamored with distance running. He participated in his first marathon, the PF Chang’s Rock N Roll Marathon, in Arizona in 2007 and found he couldn’t replicate the feeling of endorphins running through his bloodstream any other way. Russell Sergent had found one his favorite relaxing activities. He founded Fleet Feet Sports because he thought that he could help his community get the best equipment and apparel around at optimal prices. He learned everything there was to learn about distance running gear and used that knowledge to help his employees educated customers on how to get the best gear for their personal needs. Today, Fleet Feet Sports helps many people on an individual basis get the support they need to avoid injury and run to their goals.
Russell Sergent participated in his fist Iron Man triathlon in 2008 and hasn’t looked back.
Russell Sergent has been a successful businessman near his hometown community of Rockford, Illinois for over 20 years. He has made plenty of mistakes over the years, but he has also learned from most of them and now knows how to avoid them in the future. Sergent started with a janitorial supply company called Pro-Source Distributors and now owns several businesses in the area more focused on his personal interests, such as distance running, snowmobiling, and more. He has been able to chase his dreams by avoiding disaster and moving on from his mistakes. Here are a few common mistakes he has made in his early business career that many young entrepreneurs still make:
- Analysis paralysis. Russell Sergent has always been a careful businessman, but early in his career, he was too careful. Sometimes, crunching the numbers endlessly only leads to inaction, which can be the kiss of death for many businesses. Sometimes, you’ll never know how a particular move will pan out until you set it in motion. Running a business involves risk. No amount of analysis will prevent that.
- Forgetting about feedback. Russell Sergent would have been completely lost without client feedback early in his first business venture. Always test your ideas before rolling out a new feature, product, service, or marketing effort with a focus group of some kind.
- Slouching on networking efforts. If you only try to network with people when you need something, you’ll find yourself alone and out of luck. Take advantage of every opportunity to network with others who could potentially help you in the future.
Russell Sergent lives and works in Rockford, Illinois.
Russell Sergent wanted to create early confidence in his brand, Pro-Source Distributors, so that he could get the funding he needed to start the business and create success. Business is all about confidence—customer confidence, brand confidence, investor confidence, and more. Sergent knew that in order to get started, he needed to instill confidence in others. Sergent has founded several companies since he started Pro-Source Distributors, a janitorial supply company serving over 400 companies in Illinois and Wisconsin. For all of them, he built his own confidence first in his brand so that he could create confidence in other people who would help him along the way.
Russell Sergent knew that you can’t just wake up one morning and tell yourself that you’re confident in the project you’re starting, or yourself for that matter. You have to have the pride in your work and your efforts to work hard on creating a business plan that will be successful in the long and the short term. Russell Sergent started by putting in the time to adequately plan for success. He started with a business idea that he felt he could market to investors and eventually to clients. Before he made any moves to secure funding for his first business, Pro-Source Distributors, he sat down and worked out all of the major questions surrounding his business: how would it compete in the market it’s entering? Who will be its main customers? Who is its target audience? How will he and his business reach this audience? Once he had a solid foundation by answering these questions deliberately and carefully, Russell Sergent started to gain confidence in the brand he started to build and himself.
Russell Sergent found that the seeds of confidence were within himself. He had to put forth the effort to know the ins and outs of how he will overcome obstacles and found a successful business that will be successful for decades to come. Pro-Source Distributors has become a trusted name for janitorial companies throughout the area when they need supplies to please their own clients. Over time, Sergent’s confidence in his brand caused him to take measures to protect it as much as possible. He protects his brand and his company by insulating it with the best professionals he could find and by training all of them in excellent customer service practices. With excellently trained and empowered customer service representatives working with clients to ensure their continued loyalty, Sergent’s confidence in his brand only grows.
Russell Sergent, with his confidence in his company and all who work for it, found clients who wanted to be a part of his vision for success and the future. Throughout this customer base, the confidence that Sergent started to exude passed to the clients, business partners, and employees Sergent worked with every day to establish Pro-Source Distributors as a regional front-runner in janitorial supplies.
For Russell Sergent, customer service is an investment in the future. In order to establish a regular client base and consistent customer flow, a company has to be known for providing the best service to all clients who may want its services. Sergent runs Pro-Source Distributors, a janitorial supply company working with over 500 companies in Illinois and Wisconsin. Sergent can help so many regular clients because they all know Pro-Source Distributors can back up their products with excellent customer service.
Customer service for these clients is about more than being nice on the phone, it’s about trust and confidence in the products Pro-Source sells.
Russell Sergent invested early in coaching proper customer service protocol when he founded Pro-Source Distributors over 20 years ago. At the time, Pro-Source Distributors had only a few local clients and it wasn’t well-known at all. Sergent trained his workers to not only speak kindly to customers and work with them through any issues with their products, he empowered them to create solutions for clients on an individual basis. When Pro-Source Distributors began, Sergent lost money on some individual client accounts because of the deals he empowered his staff to give to some of them, but in the long-run, he knew that a reputation for working with clients on an individual level was far more valuable.
Russell Sergent has always seen his company’s relationships with each of its individual clients as more important than any one deal with each client. He has long empowered his employees at Pro-Source Distributors to help clients get the best deals they can on supplies, even if they have to take a short-term hit to keep them working with the company. Sergent and his staff work hard to keep clients loyal to doing business with Pro-Source Distributors however they can. To them, gaining a client’s loyalty and trust is more important than any individual deal or order.
The commitment to customer service that Russell Sergent employed at Pro-Source Distributors helped the company develop a sparkling reputation in the community as one that cares about its clients and is willing to work with them to keep their business. Sergent and his company have helped many janitorial companies throughout the Midwest satisfy their own clients and solidify their own relationships.
This way, Pro-Source Distributors can continue to bring in new customers while reliably helping their loyal roster as well. Empowerment, courtesy, and trust go a long way in building the internal structure of a company that will last for years. These qualities also help customers feel comfortable with a company’s service and develop relationships with clients that are fruitful for all sides. Sergent has established a profitable company built on its reputation for excellent products and customer service.