Welcome to ValiantCEO Magazine’s exclusive interview with Lisa Merry, the president of Junk King, one of the leading junk removal companies in North America. In this insightful conversation, Lisa Merry provides a glimpse into her remarkable journey and shares valuable insights into the world of business leadership.
With almost four years at the helm of Junk King and a previous position as the Chief Operating Officer, Lisa Merry brings a wealth of experience and expertise to the table. Having witnessed the company’s expansion from its inception in 2005 to its current status with 100 franchisees and 175 units, she unveils the secrets behind their success.
From discussing Junk King’s unique services and distinguishing factors to shedding light on the company’s greatest business achievements, Lisa Merry offers a comprehensive overview.
Furthermore, she delves into critical topics such as employee satisfaction, adapting to shifting workplace dynamics, and the underestimated challenges of running a company.
Join us as we delve into the mind of a visionary leader, learning from Lisa Merry’s insights, experiences, and aspirations for the future.
Check out more interviews with entrepreneurs here.
WOULD YOU LIKE TO GET FEATURED?
All interviews are 100% FREE OF CHARGE
Table of Contents
We are thrilled to have you join us today, welcome to ValiantCEO Magazine’s exclusive interview! Let’s start off with a little introduction. Tell our readers a bit about yourself and your company.
Lisa Merry: “Happy to be here! I’m the president of Junk King. I’ve been here for almost 4 years, and my previous position was COO up until November 2022.
Junk King is the second-largest junk removal company in North America. Our company was started in 2005 by Mike Andreacchi. Since then, we’ve expanded and now have 100 franchisees and 175 units.
What advice do you wish you had received when you started your business journey and what do you intend on improving in the next quarter?
Lisa Merry: So the advice I wish I had received is that as a leader of an organization, you don’t have to always have the answer to every question or problem. Part of the process is collaborating with the team that you have around you.
This means continuing to ask questions together until as a group, you actually come up with a solution that you’re able to execute on. If I had known that earlier – as opposed to always trying to find the answer to every question or every problem – that would have been huge.
For the next quarter, I intend to give more space to team leaders. When I give a person a task or when they go to execute whatever those initiatives are, I will give them the runway to be able to go and do their job and not get too mired in the details. The goal isI don’t end up becoming a hurdle in the process.
Here is a two-fold question: What is the book that influenced you the most and how? Please share some life lessons you learned. Now what book have you gifted the most and why?
Lisa Merry: For the first part – A book that has influenced me the most is Good to Great by Jim Collins. What he talks about in this book is striving to become a level five leader – someone who is very driven, very ambitious, but at the same time, makes sure that they keep the needs of others above their own.
It really focuses on having very strong professional will, but at the same time keeping personal humility a core part of leadership. It really is your job to make sure that you have the right people leading departments so that when you set out to accomplish a task it’s going to take your company from good to great.
As for the book I gift the most, that one would be The Wealthy Franchisee by Scott Greenberg. The reason is simple: 98% of my career has been in the franchise space, so a lot of my connections are franchise busines consultants or franchisees which make this the most gift-worthy read for them!
Business is all about overcoming obstacles and creating opportunities for growth. What do you see as THE real challenge right now?
Lisa Merry: There are two main aspects to consider when it comes to the profitability of any organization. First and foremost, staffing is a major concern for almost any organization that relies on a basic labor force.
However, there’s another significant issue plaguing many companies right now: the dominance of digital advertising. Nowadays, digital advertising accounts for about 90% of most advertising budgets, with traditional methods like newspaper ads, direct mail, and traders guides taking a backseat compared to 10 years ago.
The problem is that a large portion of these digital advertising dollars is controlled by tech companies, which means the costs keep rising. It’s becoming increasingly expensive just to reach potential leads or customers and cut through the noise.
So, the biggest obstacle we face is finding the right balance between having enough staff to support business growth and controlling the soaring advertising costs. It’s a delicate juggling act that requires careful management of both aspects.
In your experience, what tends to be the most underestimated part of running a company? Can you share an example?
Lisa Merry: The most underestimated aspect, in my opinion, is the art of communication. It encompasses both internal and external communication, including how we convey information within our organization and how we interact with customers.
Let’s start with internal communication. At the beginning of the year, when we’re setting budgets and planning exciting initiatives, it’s important to involve a large portion of the organization in these discussions.
We want everyone to feel like they’re part of a collaborative effort and understand the company’s direction. However, there’s a delicate balance to strike. We don’t want to share information too early, as it can lead to constant questions about timelines and potential delays.
Unexpected hurdles always arise, and we don’t want to disappoint our internal team or develop a reputation for promises that are never fulfilled or take much longer than anticipated. It truly becomes an art to keep our team excited and motivated while also ensuring they understand the intricate steps involved in the process.
When it comes to external communication with customers, consider how your brand handles societal influences and global issues. Let’s take COVID-19 as an example. We had to swiftly adapt our services, such as junk removal, to accommodate the shift to home-based operations.
We assured our customers that they didn’t need to be present while we handled their removal needs. They could simply communicate what they wanted to be removed, and we would take care of it from the outside. We ensured a touchless experience, from making appointments in our call center or online to providing invoices.
This clear and reassuring communication allowed us to not only survive but thrive during a challenging time when the world was uncertain. While many businesses faced significant difficulties, our ability to pivot and effectively communicate with our customers enabled us to grow
On a lighter note, if you had the ability to pick any business superpower, what would it be and how would you put it into practice?
Lisa Merry: My superpower would be to be able to clone and merge resources. For example, you know, you have one amazing IT programmer, and you have this huge initiative that needs to be done and it needs to be done in four months.
I’d want to be able to clone that person 12 times to be able to meet all the deadlines and sprints to completion but then merge back to one resource when the project was complete. The easiest way to solve headcount issues!
Jed Morley, VIP Contributor to ValiantCEO and the host of this interview would like to thank Lisa Merry for taking the time to do this interview and share her knowledge and experience with our readers.
If you would like to get in touch with Lisa Merry or her company, you can do it through her – Linkedin Page
Disclaimer: The ValiantCEO Community welcomes voices from many spheres on our open platform. We publish pieces as written by outside contributors with a wide range of opinions, which don’t necessarily reflect our own. Community stories are not commissioned by our editorial team and must meet our guidelines prior to being published.