In 1994, soon after his father’s death, Ged King was called upon to lead his family’s ten year-old marketing firm, The Sales Factory (TSF), in Greensboro, N.C. Soon after, King was running from vendor to vendor negotiating debt re-structuring, battling mortgage claims and trying to save a firm that was going downhill.
Within a year, King had not only saved his marketing firm but also made it profitable. In the last 12 years, King has re-organized the business and led the marketing agency to a 1,400 percent increase in profits. The agency has run marketing campaigns for brands such as Craftsman, Texas Pete and Wrangler. King’s business continues to expand and he is trying to broaden its regional niche into a national presence with new offices planned in New York and San Francisco.
“When I took over the company, we were still grieving my father’s death and due to inexperience and greed we blew through all of my family’s money,” he says. “I remember two days before Christmas, my mom called me and said that the bank has called and asked for the house. That was an acute moment.”
Turning things around is not new to King Before joining TSF, King was involved in the business transformation of a $5-million metal stamping company to a $50-million consumer products enterprise.
King also underwent a personal transformation when he and his employees at TSF teamed up to encourage each other to become physically fit. The result was significant weight loss, reduced blood pressure and increased productivity.
“My dad died when he was 54, I am 45 and I am getting close to the age my dad died,” King says. “And I do not want that. So that’s how it started, instead of going to the bar after work, we go to bike.”
In the last 3 years, King’s wellness initiatives have led the company’s employees to quit smoking, run marathons and take up endurance biking. King provides his employees with free bikes to cement his commitment to the cause.
King always knew he was going to go into sales and marketing, a passion passed on to him by his father. But, he says, his company benefits by what he learned at NC State while pursuing his degree in engineering. King is also exploring collaboration opportunities with the College of Management.
“I use a lot of quantitative research and statistics that I learned at State … that has helped make the difference for my company,” he says.