From an early age, Nate Stover became involved in the trades from building furniture to eventually building entire homes. His work has taken him through a myriad of crafts which have constantly been stretched to new limits in the small spaces and vintage trailer world. He is well versed in everything from welding aluminum frames and building cabinets to running electrical, setting tile, or a hundred other specialized tasks that go into the renovation process. He loves working on mobile spaces because unlike typical home buildings, trailers and small spaces alternatively provide him with the opportunity to bend the rules of design and assist in the rethinking of traditional processes used in a regular building. The trailers he works on at Innovative Spaces give him the opportunity to stretch all that he has learned and acquired through his years of experience to their full potential.
When speaking to Nate, he mentioned, if nothing else, starting a business is a magnifying glass that amplifies weaknesses. He further addressed that there is nobody telling you that the decisions you are making are the right ones. He sees the scope of operating a business using 50% gut instincts, 40% analytical reasoning, and 10% luck of the draw. If business owners can last long enough, they then start finding out what works and how to work around issues that arise.
Pretty quickly he came to realize his shortcomings. He is not an accountant. He shouldn’t be managing HR, and his organizational skills needed work. However, he did also get to the point where he was confident in his strengths. He is first and foremost a problem solver, there has never been a problem that he couldn’t figure out a solution for. It might be at three in the morning out of a dead sleep, but when there was a problem, his mind worked overtime until he had a solution.
One of the greatest challenges he faced early on was a lack of confidence. He knew he wasn’t an office guy and therefore made the decision to bring in a partner that he thought was. Fast forward a year and a half and he was negotiating how to buy them out of the business. This put a strain on the company and cost money that could have been used in other areas like advertising or growth. The problem wasn’t necessarily having a partner, but a lack of understanding of the other individual, their goals and methods didn’t align with his. He had a vision, and he didn’t want that vision shaped or molded by anyone else. He had to realize that he wasn’t capable of sharing control of his vision. To solve the problems of his weaknesses, he just needed to hire people who had the skills and strengths that he lacked.
On the other side of the coin, the greatest lesson he has learned is to be fluid. By that, he means as an entrepreneur you always have to be growing but cannot be so rigid as to follow down a path that is not succeeding. Over the years, he has had many expansion plans for his business. Some have been completely abandoned, others put on the back burner (because they are good ideas but at the wrong time), and some are in full go mode. He spends a fair amount of time analyzing where the business is at and where it can go. When he tries something that isn’t working, he appreciates what he has learned and what not to do. “Don’t let failure be your guide but your teacher, and never be afraid to fail”, Nate said.
He has been pretty lucky in that he hasn’t made any catastrophic errors in his business. Lots of little ones have allowed him to grow. One area that he recommends to any upcoming entrepreneur is to take the time to develop your core values. This will act as your roadmap and keep you making the right decisions as you build your business. For him, those core values are integrity, quality, and customer service. To his employees, it has been to provide them with loyalty, security, and longevity and for them to know they belong to a family that cares about them and their families.
If you would like to get in touch with Nate Stover or his company, you can do it through his – Linkedin Page