Business Management

Driving to Success: Rob Alexander ’88

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    Robert M. Alexander '88
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    Robert Alexander at his Rockville service station
October 22, 2013
Robert Alexander ’88 didn’t realize, when he was working on his senior thesis at Washington College, that he was actually writing the business plan for a $25 million business. But that’s how it turned out.

25 years later, he presides over more than 250 employees of RMA Worldwide Chauffered Transportation. RMA, centered in Montgomery County, Maryland, provides high-end transportation services in the greater Washington DC area.

On Tuesday, October 22, Robert came back to Washington College to share his thoughts on entrepreneurship, careers, and running a successful business. He spoke to students in Prof. Joseph Bauer’s Entrepreneurship course, as well as to a college-wide audience in the Egg. His path to success, he told students, was to focus on great service: “I wanted to be known for having the cleanest cars and the best chauffeurs.” Like other great service companies, he emphasizes strong culture and giving his employees the power to solve problems on their own.

One of Rob’s big lessons for budding entrepreneurs: “Cash is king. Positive cash flow is critical. I’ve faced situations where I had lots of accounts receivable—clients who owed me money—but no money in the bank. That’s not a good place to be.” But his main point: An entrepreneur must be prepared to work hard: “To be great at anything, it takes time. For me, it took seven years. I worked 12 hours a day, seven days a week, for seven years.”

During his visit, Robert also spoke to business students at Kent County High School, about what it takes to build a business. For an entrepreneur, he told students, marketing is an all-the-time task. “I practiced guerrilla marketing”—constant grassroots marketing efforts. For instance, he named his labrador retriever “Limo”: “You wouldn’t believe how many conversations it started—Why’d you name him “Limo”?’—when I was out walking the dog. Then I had a chance to talk about my business.”

But being an entrepreneur, he emphasized, goes a lot deeper than being individually successful: “As an entrepreneur you go from creating a job for yourself,” he told students, “to doing the most wonderful thing you can do: creating jobs for other people.”

Last modified on Oct. 22nd, 2013 at 2:44pm by Michael Harvey.

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