Mark Douglas is the president and CEO of LCPtracker, Inc., a privately-held company providing cloud-based software services for construction compliance and workforce development. His vision for LCPtracker is to empower people to build better communities, and this begins with his company’s flagship product, which helps government agencies and contractors maintain and enforce prevailing wage provisions for state, local, and federal law.
Mark graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from Central Michigan University. After college, he jumped right into the professional world and quickly grew a record of success building startup companies before founding LCPtracker.
Today, Mark is taking his company to new heights – transforming LCPtracker into one of the fastest-growing companies in Orange County, California. He prides himself in fostering a team of over 80 highly-motivated and dedicated employees and building a reputable organization in the construction industry with over 2,500 clients and 100,000 contractor users nationwide, including 20 of the top 50 cities in the US.
How did the concept for LCPtracker come about?
Just before the light bulb lit up for LCPtracker (about 18 years ago), I was running another business as a re-seller for a facilities management software. The supplier went bankrupt, and it completely wiped out our sales pipeline. Coincidentally, right around the same time, I had come across an article in the newspaper about a new labor compliance law in California requiring all K-12 school districts to comply with prevailing wages on construction projects. This exposed a need in the market for a software to help these schools monitor compliance.
I had run into many obstacles as an entrepreneur in previous ventures – all of which demanded tough decisions. And although it was very hard to move on from this business as a re-seller, the bankruptcy of the supplier made it a simple decision: a swift change was necessary. I made a choice to jump on this new opportunity to create my own software – this time, for a labor compliance system. I got started with just a single developer and knew I had three years to phase out the previous business’ existing service contracts and replace the revenue with this new idea. This was when LCPtracker was born.
How was the first year in business?
It was extremely stressful. When the sales opportunities for the previous business dried up, it meant that our current operations were unsustainable and that we didn’t have secure jobs for our staff. Over a two-year period of fading out service contracts, I had to lay off 35 deserving employees. Meanwhile, LCPtracker was in development and wouldn’t be ready as a product for some time. I had to carefully manage the cash flow to allow for a stable transition.
What was your marketing strategy?
When LCPtracker was ready, it was one of the first web-based SaaS (Software as a Service) products to hit the market. I identified the 1,100 school districts in California that needed to comply with the new labor compliance laws. Over a span of two years, I called them every day until I closed enough deals to create enough monthly revenue that would sustain the new venture.
How fast did the company grow during the first few years?
From 2003 to 2005, we grew to $500,000 in SaaS revenue, and 2005 was the first year when we had to rely solely on the new revenue from LCPtracker.
From there, we grew to $1.2 million by 2008 – which is when the country was hit with the recession. The financial crisis put a halt to virtually all new construction, and we were in a complete meltdown. I cut 30% of my expenses, we strapped in, and held on for the next two years. Finally, in 2011, we began to grow again and now have revenue approaching $14 million with over 80 employees.
How do you define success?
For me, it’s when your life purpose that God designed for you becomes clear, and you consciously know it and are striving to “live it.” Once you do that, you gain the peace, fulfillment, and joy that makes life so wonderful.
What is the key to success?
I would attribute our success to behaviors and integrity. When you consistently do what you say you’re going to do, people trust you and are very motivated to work with you and be on your team. They know you will honor them in the same way you’ve demonstrated to others.
What is the greatest lesson you’ve ever learned?
Taking responsibility for your emotions. In any given situation that stirs up your emotions, it only reveals things about yourself – not anyone else. Until you recognize this, you have a limited ability to grow and mature.
What are some quotes that you live by?
“A person may not remember what you say, but they will always remember how you made them feel.” – Carl W. Buehner
“Just Do it.”
What are some of your favorite books?
Daily devotional publications (I like to start every day with a life lesson).
Start with Why by Simon Sinek.
Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell.
Tell me about one of the toughest days you’ve had as an entrepreneur.
In 1997, I was faced with losing the three most important parts of my life all at once: 1) my marriage, 2) my business (losing out on a $1.6 million proposal that the survival of the business was dependent on), and 3) my business partner (and friend), who was diagnosed with stage four cancer.
I was at my breaking point. As a Christian, I got down on my knees in my office and cried out to my Father. This was truly the first time in my life that I gave up and simply asked him to lead me.
Three days went by… and nothing. But at the end of the third day, my business partner called and told me we were awarded another proposal that I was unaware of – one that was worth twice as much as the previous proposal). A few days later, my wife and I agreed to reconcile. And a few months after that, my business partner was cured of cancer. My walk with God became clear to me; I must learn to live the way He wants me to. And so today, I strive to live in obedience to the biblical teachings every day. This was the beginning of learning my true purpose.
When faced with adversity, what pushes you to keep moving forward?
Adversity, to me, is the process by which I am being shaped into being more effective at what I do. I always look at adversity as a growing opportunity, because every challenge I have had has made me a more-refined person.
What advice would you give to young entrepreneurs?
1) I would tell them to work on finding and becoming aware of their life purpose – and to build it into something that you can do for a living. And don’t expect (nor plan) to accomplish it quickly. Focus on doing a little better every year. Before you know it, your blessings will be immense.
2) Always remember to live with the utmost integrity.
3) Enjoy life, laugh a lot, and be nice to everyone.
4) Read books and listen to educational podcasts; don’t waste your time on silly television shows and other unprofitable distractions. Own your day.
This interview was conducted for research purposes by author Jason Navallo for his upcoming book, Underdog.
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