The Kind of Guy who can’t Avoid Success
Profile: Tom Kruse, Iowa Veterinary Supply Company (IVSC)
Tom Kruse is the kind of guy who probably couldn’t avoid success, even if he tried. After working as an accountant for the Iowa Veterinary Supply Company (IVSC) for thirteen years, Tom and Ken Meadow, the company’s operations manager, were given the option of buying the business, because the owners were retiring. The price? Just $25,000 each with only $100 down! Neither Tom nor Ken took time to blink before agreeing to the deal. “The salesmen promised to stick with us, and we promised them the same salary, and that’s how we got started in 1966,” Tom says.
Another opportunity falls in their laps
As if this opportunity weren’t enough, two years later, Tom and Ken were offered the chance to buy yet another company, the Milligan Corporation
And so Tom and Ken were off. For the next 17 years, they ran the company with moderate success. Then in 1983, Ken decided he’d had enough and sold his portion of the company to Tom. Finally able to make all the decisions himself, Tom decided to position IVCS for rapid growth.
Realizing that the exchange of accurate and timely information was the key to providing good customer service, Tom invested heavily in a computerized ordering system that revolutionized the way their company operated. He also expanded IVSCs line of products. “The company’s growth, at least in some part, can be attributed to the fact that it was able to visualize a market beyond just animal health products,” Tom says. Indeed, IVSC soon began to carry everything from toilet paper to overalls in addition to animal health products and equipment. This commitment to diversity made them a convenient, one-stop shopping centre for their growing list of customers.
But in addition to their advances in order management, Tom says the other key ingredient to the success of IVSC is the Christian faith shared by Tom and his family, many of whom also work for the company. “The fundamental principles of Christianity – honesty, integrity, and truth – are the things that work in business,” Tom says. He cites Proverbs 3:5-6 as an example: “’Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding, and he will make your paths straight.’ It’s hard to go wrong with advice like that!”
Clients like the ethics
Joe Kerns, Director of Purchasing for Iowa Select Farms, one of IVSCs biggest customers, agrees. “In dealing with the Kruse family on a nearly daily basis, their spiritual background is evident in how they handle themselves and how they treat us as customers. Ethical is perhaps the word that comes to mind most often. It makes you feel good about doing business with people that seem to be looking out for your best interest.”
Although Tom has taken the business from $13 million in annual revenues to $140 million during his time at the helm, his experience has taught him one thing for certain: “Money does not buy happiness. It doesn’t matter how much of it you have. The only thing that’s going to buy you happiness is faith in Jesus Christ.”
Does it feel like you’ve been leaning too much on your own understanding sometimes? Perhaps it’s time you asked Jesus to reveal the path you should walk. If you don’t know Jesus, we encourage you to pray the following prayer:
Lord Jesus, I want to know You personally. Thank You for dying on the cross for my sins. I open the door of my life and receive You as my Savior and Lord. Thank You for forgiving my sins and giving me eternal life. Take control of my life. Make me be the person You want me to be. Amen.