Right in the middle of all the bustle of Salt Lake City, you’ll find an amazing Utah company that is bringing events, entertainment and style to Utah and beyond. You may already know Sack Lunch Productions by their events like Color Me Rad®, The Lantern Fest®, The Dirty Dash®, and Slide the City®. They’ve even added another cool event called Trike Riot®. We suspect the impact that Richard Surber and Sack Lunch Productions has had and will have on Utah is yet to be seen.
As an attorney, Richard brings a lot of experience to the table. He shares some of his legal knowledge at Richardsurber.com on topics such as Investments, Fraud, and more.
We were grateful for the opportunity we had to take some of Richard’s time to ask him some questions to help us find out a little more about who he is and gain some valuable knowledge from his experiences and perspective that could be valuable to other small businesses.
RICHARD SURBER INTERVIEW:
Q: What inspired you to launch Sack Lunch Productions?
The management team at SAKL Includes: TR Gourley, John Malfatto and David Wulf. They were instrumental in not only creating the events that make up Sack Lunch Productions, but actually founded or created each of the current brands.
Q: Do you have any recent success stories that you’d like to share with our readers?
The acquisition of Color Me Rad®, and the The Dirty Dash® have proven to be hugely successful acquisitions. These acquisitions plus the results of the innovative Slide the City® and The Lantern Fest® drove SAKL’ stock price from a low of $.005 to a high of $.15. We are seeing successes every day at this point in SAKL’s development. Its very exciting to be involved at this early growth stage.
Q: What do you feel has been your biggest challenge as a business owner and how did you meet that challenge?
The single biggest challenge is the multitude of issues that arise on nearly an hourly basis. We doubled the size of the company in 2015. We are on the verge of again doubling the size of the company in 2016. As you can image, there are thousands of moving parts and 100’s of people to manage.
The logistics of hosting never before seen or understood events like Slide the City® and The Lantern Fest® have a whole host of issues that arise because of the innovative nature of the events. Pulling permits, changing weather patterns, differing laws, and differing tax structures are just a few of many regulatory related issues that we have had to contend with on an a local and international level. A month at this stage of our development can be like an eternity.
Q: How do you measure success for you and your business?
All of our companies are in the business of connecting with people. Success is measured one participant and one guest at a time. Giving our guests and participants an experience that has real meaning and value to them is the goal. Creating memories and fun experiences that can last a life time or just simply making them feel good for a moment in time is essential to the success of our businesses. I am a finance guy as well. I realize that the bottom line and cash flow are the lifeblood of our businesses that allows us to innovate and deliver on those experiences. For this reason, success is also measured empirically based upon the financial health of each division of SAKL.
Q: What brings you balance in your life and in your business?
I will write a book when I discover “balance.” At this stage of the business, my life can seem like a roller coaster ride of peaks and valleys. The business affects most aspects of my life currently. Not necessary in this order are people and things that help even things out a bit: Triathlon training, my partner and my bulldogs. I am always learning new tips and trick on how to achieve balance and harmony in life. I believe more balance will come with at least another year worth of developing the business.
Q: Based on what you’ve experienced and learned, what advice do you have for other entrepreneurs and business owners? What do you wish someone told you?
Being a triathlon junkie, I’m going to give a sports analogy. Business is not a sprint. It’s an endurance sport which requires lots of interval training. It is a mind game of epic proportions that requires a strong mind. Find the right coach and do your homework. Be relentless. Choose carefully who you listen to and at all costs guard your reputation. I was actually told many of these things but had to experience much of it first hand before I understood the advice.
Q: With a company that has a reach all over the US and the world, what made you choose Utah?
The University of Utah is what brought me here and a desire for change. The great outdoors and awesome people are what have kept me here!
Q: What’s the most exciting thing on the horizon for you/your Company?
An uplisting and secondary offering on the NASDAQ small cap or first tier NYSE listing is what I hope is on the horizon.
Q: What is the future of Sack Lunch Productions?
We will have to wait and see. It’s a secret at the moment. It definitely will involve growth and refinement.
Q: Have you had any mentors or role models that have influenced you? Describe the impact they had on you.
At least a dozen. Each of them have in their own way provided a model or pieces of a model that I have augmented and made my own. A few have been models of what not to do, as well which has allowed me to avoid the same mistakes they made.
Q: What’s the biggest risk that you’ve ever taken and how did it turn out?
The biggest risk from a business perspective is the current incarnation known as Sack Lunch Productions. Its a big bet. So far so good.
Q: What is something that makes Sack Lunch Productions unique from other businesses in Utah.
We are in the business of selling fun. We are like a mobile amusement park which makes us unique.
Q: What role do you see your business playing in the community? Environment?
One of our core values is to give back to the communities that we serve and serve us. We do this through a host of non-profits that are meaningful in the communities that host us. Clean air and water initiatives are two very important environmental areas that we have done our part in. Our flagship location just went solar, that’s a major recent development.
Q: What motivates you to go to work at Sack Lunch Productions every morning?
It’s simple really; I like a good challenge.