What is your full name, title, and business name?
Becky Webb, CEO / Business Owner, Bob Webb Group
Give us a summary of your business in 200 words or less.
We build residential homes and we do some development work for single family homes.
How did the idea for your business come about?
My dad, Bob Webb, started the business around 60 years ago. His dad was a builder so he’s been around construction all his life. He just had an interest in it, he sold real estate for a while and then he started building homes. But he’s always been around it.
What does it mean to you to be an entrepreneur and business owner?
It’s just a great opportunity to pursue what your vision is. We build homes so it’s a place for families and it’s an important thing to people which is fun to be a part of.
What does the city of Columbus mean to your business?
The city is growing so fast and I think it’s really progressive. It’s exciting to see so many jobs and it’s such a great place to live and raise your family. For us, that’s the kind of community that a new home builder would want to be a part of because, obviously, people come into the city or are staying in the city. It’s an opportunity to sell homes, lots, and all that.
Are you from Columbus? If not, please explain what brought you here and ultimately what made you stay.
I’ve always lived here. I went to Ohio State and my family is here. I started working for my dad right away and I liked it. I like Columbus so I stayed.
What’s the number one piece of advice you’d give to anyone wanting to start a business?
Love what you do because you’re going to be doing it a lot.
What do you wish you knew about entrepreneurship before starting your business?
I don’t know that I appreciated how much time it takes and it can be very stressful. It can be, at times. But I think it would be the time commitment, I think about it all the time.
What’s the most challenging part of your business (i.e, what keeps you up at night)?
Probably the time. And of course staying current with what’s going on in the industry and what your clients want. So, I’ve been working for my dad since I was a teenager so I’ve been around the industry for a long time. I’ve never seen things and trends change like they are now. What people want as far as decorating rooms, it’s really evolving everyday differently.
Why do you think most business owners fail? What has made you different?
I think not being willing to change with what is changing in the industry. We are always trying to improve our product and stay current on what people want. It takes a lot to stay current and I think that’s really important.
What was your biggest mistake and what did it cost you?
I don’t know what our biggest mistake was but I mean sometimes you build the wrong house at the wrong place and it just costs you money. But as far as making a huge mistake, I’m sure we’ve made some but I don’t know what they would be.
What tool has helped you the most for your business (invoicing, accounting, shipping, plugin for website, etc.)?
I think our best tool really is our people. The people in our office, we use a lot of subcontractors for our homes and we always try to have the best subcontractor base. We really are only as good as our people.
What is something that you did that was a game changer for your business?
Recently, a couple years ago we built this show home in Jerome Village. It’s probably the most expensive model in the city-I’m guessing it is, if not it has to be one of the most expensive. It was kind of risky building a big building like that but it’s given us the opportunity to meet a lot of potential home buyers. It’s also a good place for our buyers. We think of it as an idea center where they can go and get different ideas. We try to do a lot of different things in that house. So, I think that was a big one for us, it shows people what we can do.
What was an idea that you spent a lot of time on or thought would make a big difference in your business that didn’t pan out?
Well we’re always trying a new plan and sometimes you think it’s gonna be awesome but it’s really not received by the public as well as you might have thought. That certainly does happen.
What is something that your business spends a lot of money on that’s worth it?
We spend a lot of money on our plans and we spend a lot of money on putting good products into our homes. That’s what gives us the quality that we’re known for, we think that it’s worth investing in our homes.
What is something you’re working on now that you’re very excited about?
We’re working on a new show home, we just started framing it. So we’re super excited about that, we’re just trying to introduce some new product, new ideas, new floor plan and we have a couple other models that are going to be opening in the next few months. That’s what I really enjoy; the new models and new products, I love that.
What form of marketing is the most valuable for you?
I guess our website is probably the most valuable. We get so many hits on it, people are so informed now and before they go to a model I think a lot of people are on our website and looking at it first to make sure it’s a place they want to go. So we try to keep our website very current with our inventory and product so for us that’s probably the best.
Who do you vent to when you have a business problem?
It depends on when it happens but I would vent to my family. My dad still comes into work everyday so it could be him. My mom has been around it my whole life, it could be her. Or my work family because we all know what’s going on so we all get each other. So, if I’m mad about it, they get it because they’re probably mad about it too.
Where do you see your business in the next 10 years?
Well, we’re always looking ahead. I see us growing but at a reasonable pace. We don’t want to quadruple our business in the next year or so, we want to grow at a reasonable pace. We like the types of homes we’re building-we’re in the custom home market and we really like that. We’re doing a lot of empty nester products, we like that. We have a broad inventory, we like that. We do enjoy the custom market, we’re definitely not production builders.
What’s one component of entrepreneurship that’s much different than what most people think?
I think it takes a lot more time and energy than people would think. I think people think that it’s really glamorous but it’s just a lot of work.
What’s your end goal with the business? Is this something you want to pass down to your kids or would you like to eventually sell?
I’m second generation, this is my dad’s company and I have one daughter that I would love to pass it down to if that’s what she wants to do. I don’t want her to feel like she has to do it. Our family has put a lot of heart and soul into the business so if she would like to carry it on, I would love for her to be able to do that.
What other entrepreneur do you look up to most?
My dad. I’m sure there’s a lot of them but my dad would be my number one.
If you had to tell a visitor one thing to do/see/eat in Columbus, what would it be?
I do love the Columbus Zoo, I think it’s awesome. So I guess that but there’s so many great things to do here and it’s just getting better all the time. I like Hyde Park and Moretti’s.