Meet Annette Springer, CEO of Springer Equipment Company, Inc., and Southfork Lift Truck, Inc., forklift dealerships in Birmingham, AL, and Nashville, TN, specializing in the sales and repair of material handling equipment.
Each year, WBENC presents 14 women business owners with the prestigious Women’s Business Enterprise (WBE) Star Award, the nation’s premier recognition for excellence among certified women-owned businesses, honoring female owners for their leadership skills, business success, and ability to serve as an inspiration to others.
Meet Annette Springer, EO, Springer Equipment Company, Inc.; Southfork Lift Truck, Inc.
Annette attended Blue Mountain College, but says she graduated with honors from what she calls “Hard Work University.” That hard work is evident in the story of how her business started.
She and her husband Ted had worked in the material handling equipment industry for years when, in 1992, they decided to build their own business. The company started in their basement with one employee, two customers, and no financial backing. But within three decades, through hard work, patience, customer dedication, and making smart decisions, the venture grew to two companies, nearly 60 full-time employees, more than 500 customers, and $20,000,000 in sales.
Becoming WBENC-Certified 10 years ago contributed to the success of Annette’s two businesses. She credits certification with her ability to showcase a woman-owned business in a predominately male industry.
She says it has given her and her companies a seat at the table they otherwise might not have had, and networking with other WBENC-Certified companies across the country has continued to provide them with opportunities.
Annette is proud to have created a business that has grown into a successful enterprise with several large businesses in its customer base.
Annette is “The Advisor” because she understands her role in moving her businesses forward and recognizes that employees are the backbone of her companies’ success.
Today, Annette shares guiding words for newly certified WBEs, her advice for new entrepreneurs, and what she views as benefits of being part of the WBENC Network.
What guiding words would you like to share with a newly certified WBE who is looking to get involved in the WBENC community?
Network, network, network – be proactive and never miss an opportunity to network. Also be sure to attend every event that is offered because you never know what you’ll learn and who you’ll meet.
What advice do you have for a new entrepreneur?
Mentally preparing for the challenges ahead should be the first step of an entrepreneur’s efforts in building a business to be proud of. The five guiding principles of business development that have worked for me are:
- Always maintain the determination and drive – it’s a “never give up” way of thinking that keeps us moving forward
- Always demonstrate your commitment to the company and follow-through as this can weigh heavily on a customer’s decision whether or not to do business
- Always be confident and know that you can succeed
- Always be creative and think out of the box because often creativity can solve problems
- Always feel comfortable leaning on other business owners by asking for advice.
What do you view as some of the best benefits of being part of the WBENC network?
The sisterhood of the WBEs and getting to know businesses in varied industries gives me insight to business practices that I incorporate into my own business. The major benefit of being in the WBENC Network is the ability to associate with several Fortune 500 companies that I would not otherwise be able to meet.
Springer Equipment Company is a Full Service Cummins dealer with the experience, appropriate tools, technical information and training for diagnosing and repairing internal and external components including fuel systems and electronic controls on Tier 4 engines.
Southfork Lift Truck is a Full Service Cummins dealer with the experience, appropriate tools, technical information and training for diagnosing and repairing internal and external components including fuel systems and electronic controls on Tier 4 engines.