Kurt Witten has been an entrepreneur in the pool building industry for a long while. He has worked his way up this industry to become the leader of Seventeen Pools, one of North America’s best pool builders. This company specializes in the design and manufacture of customized container pools. Kurt’s success has a lot to do with his background. He holds a degree in communication from Bradford University, a degree that equipped him with the skills to communicate his company vision to employees and other relevant stakeholders. It has also been instrumental in developing the company’s highly successful customer service strategy. Kurt also has a rich family business background that plays to his advantage in running his current business. His entrepreneurial experience helps him manage a team of skilled and dedicated individuals that help him deliver pools to his customers on time. His passion and his team of professionals have seen his business grow significantly from a small start-up to a significant industry player in the container pool market. Apart from his business ventures, Kurt is also a philanthropist known for giving vast sums of money to charities that support homeless people. He is also a family person, often finding time to spend quality time with his wife and two children.
How did you get started in your industry?
I always knew that I wanted to get involved in real estate in one way or the other. Then one day I visited a friend and I found him relaxing at a beautiful pool made from a cargo container. I was in awe and I knew immediately that I wanted to do something similar not just as for my home, but as a business as well. I researched on the idea and a few months down the line, Seventeen Pools was born.
How do you make money in your field?
I make money by selling container pools. It’s quite a straightforward business model. We have production systems that allow us to produce cost-effectively and make a reasonable margin off every sale.
How long did it take for you to become profitable?
It took the business about a year to turn profitable. The first few months were tough but we ultimately managed to reign in on the costs and turn profitable.
When you were starting out, was there ever a time you doubted it would work? If so, how did you handle that?
After the first two months in business, I had some doubts, but this did not deter me from pushing on. I kept on reminding myself of the reason I started in the first place, and it helped.
Do you remember how you got your first client?
My first client was through a referral. I made a container pool for a friend and he was so impressed that he referred two of his friends for similar services.
What is one marketing strategy that you’re using that works really well to generate new business?
Facebooks ads have been the best of all. They allow us to target the demographics we want, and it’s easy to do interactive engagements with clients.
What is the toughest decision you’ve had to make in your professional life?
Having to lay off some staff due to COVID-19 was the toughest. It hurt me letting people that worked really hard for the business go, even if it’s temporary.
What do you think it is that makes you successful?
It’s a combination of many factors, but the most important one is that I never give up. Once I set my eyes on a goal, I work relentlessly to achieve it.
What has been your most satisfying moment in business?
The day I landed my first client was the most important one to my business. It gave me the motivation to keep going, and get to where I am today.
What does the future hold for your business? What are you most excited about?
The future is bright for my business. The uptake of container pools is on the rise and that points to good fortunes for industry players.
What business books have inspired you?
The most inspirational book I have ever read is
Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman. It improved my thought process and decision making significantly.
What advice would you give to your younger self?
I would advise my younger self to focus on a goal, and pursue it aggressively. Persistence always pays off big time.