FLORIDA COMPANIES TO WATCH AWARDS

HOW A PASSION FOR BBQ LIT UP TWO ENTREPRENEURS

To some, the thought of working with your family may sound frightening. On the other hand, for Michael and Roger Collins, working together was exactly what ignited their entrepreneurial journey – Flame Boss.

“This is not our first business together, we sold our first business in 2006. After that, we were always looking for something to do together since we sold it,” Michael Collins said. “We felt that we both appreciated each other’s complementary skills,” he shared.

With a love for smoked BBQ – ribs, pulled pork, beef brisket, you name it – Roger Collins found his grilling passion took off after purchasing his own ceramic smoker. Passionately cooking for family and friends, Roger found himself getting up to check on the smoker’s temperature as it roasted throughout the night.

With a background in engineering, Roger was inspired to build a better smoker temperature controller, and after months of hard work, he did. Shortly after, his friends noticed that he was able to smoke meats without investing all of his attention in the smoker and they began telling their friends. Without any marketing, word-of-mouth allowed Roger’s product to catch fire, eventually founding Flame Boss in 2013.

Growing from startup to second-stage

Over five years later, Flame Boss brothers Michael and Roger are focused three aspects that give them a competitive edge above the rest. “We design our products to be easy to use with innovative technology, all while practicing excellent customer service. Those are 3 things that set us apart,” Michael Collins said.

However, it hasn’t always smooth sailing for the Flame Boss brothers. “I don’t think there’s anyone that’s had a business that hasn’t had any challenges,” Michael laughed. “The most recent year has been the most challenging, though.”

Roger and Michael walked us through the three game-changing transitions they encountered all within a year.

“We had transitions where we replace the old products with a more updated version and we also moved into a building we purchased and renovated. And like most people caution you with real estate renovations, they take twice as long and cost twice as much as you expect,” Michael said. “We took in work that we used to outsource, so now we’re becoming our own in-house assembly, packing and fulfillment manufacturer. It’s all taken place in the last few months, and there’s been a lot to do.”

No matter the roller coaster ride, Roger was certain, “I wouldn’t have attempted this without a partner like my brother.”

Alongside each other, Roger and Michael also have a team of employees behind them who are growth driven and customer focused. Ran by five core values they all share and honor, Flame Boss has created a work culture that has proven successful.

“I think one of the keys is, is that we’re still small enough to where everyone feels like they’re part of one team. It’s given us the ability to see people reaching across different departments to help one another when the work load demands it,” Michael said.

What is means to be a Florida Companies to Watch Honoree

Flame Boss was selected as an honoree for this year’s Florida Companies to Watch, which recognizes second-stage companies located in Florida. Honorees demonstrate high performance, growth and innovation in the market place.

“For us, it’s an honor. It makes us feel proud to have accomplished that,” Michael said.

Alongside each other, Roger and Michael also have a team of employees behind them who are growth driven and customer focused. Ran by five core values they all share and honor, Flame Boss has created a work culture that has proven successful.

“I think one of the keys is, is that we’re still small enough to where everyone feels like they’re part of one team. It’s given us the ability to see people reaching across different departments to help one another when the work load demands it,” Michael said.

“And the employees we’ve shared this honor with, we’ve gotten a very exciting response. We’re planning our own internal event to celebrate it soon.”

 Advice for aspiring entrepreneurs

Looking back on their entrepreneurial journey, the Collins brother’s advice to aspiring entrepreneurs was short, but powerful.

“Work hard and search diligently to have a market advantage. You want to know what your advantage is,” said Michael.

With Roger following, “Don’t go to market without a compelling offer.”

Notable community involvement

Flame Boss has been heavily involve with Operation BBQ Relief, an organization that provides compassion and aid to those affected by disasters across the United States. Flame Boss has donated time, money and resources to help Florida hurricane victims and Texas flood victims.

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