More than the American Dream

Situation:

Located in the Crossroads of America, Maurice Dunn owns the successful Indianapolis-based MBE construction management firm The Carpenter’s Son.  To say Dunn’s childhood  in the crossroads was the opposite of  what most consider the American Dream is an understatement.Maurice Dunn, owner of The Carpenter's Son, an Indianapolis-based construction firm.

"I didn’t have my father in my life," Dunn said.  "I had my mother in and out of my life.  I missed fifth grade, sixth grade, seventh grade, I lived in abandoned buildings, ate food out of the trash can, drank out of the fire hydrant, lost my baby brother to the City of Chicago…(I’ve) just been through a lot of bad things in terms of my youth."

One might assume that a boy with this kind of background would never succeed. 

But he did. 

How?

Because he had mentors.

"Some of the most influential people in my life are guys like Reggie Jones and Tim Harris," Dunn explains.  "Reggie Jones is the owner of McDonald’s and my first job was at McDonalds.  He took me under his wing.  Tim Harris was my pastor and also an entrepreneur who came up from the streets who also took me under his wing and taught me some things," Dunn said.

So when Dunn decided to start his own business in 2012, he knew having a mentor would be his best bet.

 

Solution:

"My first job as The Carpenter's Son was with a church in Baltimore that had been burned down," Dunn said.  "I knew how to manage construction projects, but I didn't know how to translate that ability into running a business." 

"The first place I went was SCORE in Washington DC," Dunn continued.  "I sat in on classes and I spent kind of that whole first year really just learning what the whole world of business is and how it’s supposed to function.  They had a lot of good free sessions and it was a really exciting experience just to learn stuff.  From that experience, when I came back to Indianapolis in 2014, I already kind of knew that SCORE was Maurice Dunn in front of project board on construction sitearound, so I went to SCORE and just started to build relationships there and learn a few things."

It was through his mentors in the Indy SCORE Chapter that Dunn learned about the SBA Emerging Leaders Program.  Dunn graduated from the SBA Indianapolis Emerging Leaders class in 2018 and says that the intensive 13 session executive leadership course was a "pinnacle change" in the way he did business.

"Emerging Leaders taught me to take a step backwards and evaluate my business in its individual parts to find out where our weak points were,"  Dunn said.  What he found was that he needed to put more time, money, and energy into sales and marketing.

"We came up with two acronyms;   CLOP—Contacts Leads Opportunities Projects and BEEP—Bids Estimates Expecting Projects," said Dunn.  "BEEP is more of an electronic way of going after business by looking up bid opportunities via the internet and social media.  CLOP is more going to networking events, door-to-door, cold calls, things of that nature.  We created these two approaches because Emerging Leaders taught us that our market had to be approached in those two ways in order to be effective."

Maurice Dunn with a next generation contractor on a construction job site.

Impact/Outcome:

All the good mentorship has paid off.  In less than a decade, The Carpenter's Son has grown from one employee to 25.  Their new-found sales strategy has increased the number of working contracts they have on the books as well as the number of project bids they have in the pipeline. 

Dunn is also taking time to give back a little of what he has received as a new SCORE mentor in the Indy Chapter.  

"When SCORE approached me and asked if I wanted to become a mentor I was honored because now I get to do for somebody what all these SCORE mentors in DC, Baltimore, and Indy have done for me. I saw it as an opportunity to give back to my community as well as give back to those who had already given to me."

###

Learn more about and register your interest for the upcoming SBA Indiana Emerging Leaders Program here.  You can also find out about SBA resource partners, local assistance, funding, and all the tools you need to build your busines at www.sba.gov.  

Company Name: 
The Carpenter's Son
Location: 
Indianapolis