Barrett Ersek

Holganix

http://www.holganix.com/

What’s your business, what makes it special?

At Holganix, we manufacture and sell bio-nutritional turf and plant fertility products. Holganix is able to help large fertilizer users (lawn care companies, golf courses, sports turf managers and farmers) reduce their chemical inputs (fertilizers and pesticides) by up to 75%. 

In our industry, there is a huge opportunity for organic products due to environmental concerns and government regulations in the fertilizer space. We are able to partner with our clients in unique ways, providing them with a solution to fertilizer obstacles in the industry.  We are also providing educational support in turf science and business strategy to help them grow their business and personal brand. 

What is the history or background of this business, why did you start it?

Before Holganix, I was running a growing and successful lawn care company called HappyLawn out of the Philadelphia region. In the summers, I would go striper fishing in the Chesapeake Bay. Each year there was more and more conversation about the detrimental effects chemical fertilizers were having on fish populations and marine life at large in the Chesapeake. The more successful I became as a lawn care provider, the more fertilizer I used and the more run off into the bay I generated. I became obsessed with the idea that there had to be a better way to service my customers. 

In 2008, synthetic fertilizer costs were skyrocketing. As a result, I stockpiled my warehouse with $500,000 dollars worth of fertilizer to keep costs down. Unfortunately, the warehouse storing the fertilizer burnt to the ground. Although no one got hurt, I didn’t have nearly enough insurance to cover the cost of fertilizer we lost. Furthermore, I would be forced to purchase additional fertilizer at much higher costs. I was desperate and that turned out to be a good thing. 

The desperation forced me to look for alternative solutions to synthetic fertilizers. Eventually, I teamed up with Stephen T. Lange the inventor of the Holganix product, which allowed me to drastically reduce the use of fertilizers. Realizing the opportunity for such a product, I sold HappyLawn in late 2009 and teamed up with Lange to form Holganix in early 2010.

Today at Holganix, we have a powerful objective we call our Greater Green Goal. This means, we aren’t just providing an affordable organic approach to fertilization, but are also introducing a product that helps eliminate nitrates, phosphates and pesticides (the chemicals leading to negative environmental effects) from running off into our water ways. With the Greater Green Goal, by Earth Day 2020 we have pledged to eliminate: 

  • 100,000,000 pounds of nitrates
  • 25,000,000 pounds of phosphates
  • 100,000,000 ounces of concentrated pesticides. 

Why did you join EO?

I joined EO because I was looking for people who could relate to my experiences and better yet, people I could learn from as a fellow entrepreneur. My Hungarian grandfather had a saying: “Wise men learn from their experiences; but super wise men learn form the experiences of others.” EO allows me to live up to that saying!

What has been the greatest impact on your life since joining EO?

EO and especially forum, has greatly impacted my life. My forum brothers have become my closest friends and advisors. I owe them so much! 

However, I would have to say that the greatest impact came from EO’s Entrepreneurial Masters Program (previously called, Birthing of Giants). I had tried for several years to get into the program and when I did, I was introduced to the founder of EO: Verne Harnish. Verne introduced me to a concept called the X Factor. An X Factor is a 10x competitive advantage over your competition achieved by breaking your industry bottleneck (a barrier in your industry stopping your business and your competitors’ from succeeding). As a class, we went through a series of exercises to help lead us to our X Factors. 

That day, after discussing ideas with all of the other attendees, I had an eureka moment. I had discovered my X Factor! Instead of staying for the rest of the program, I stood up and high-tailed it out of there. I had to take action on my X Factor right then and there. As a result, while previously it had taken me 10 years to reach 1 million in revenue, I was able to build to 10 million in revenue in 5 years. 

Another hugely impactful figure that I’ve met through EO and The Entrepreneurial Masters Program is Brother David Steindl-Rast. Brother David introduced me to the concept of gratitude. I learned that if I was grateful for adversity in my life and business, then opportunity and creativity are everywhere. 

What would you tell others who are considering joining EO?

EO has the ability to change your life. Why would you turn an opportunity like this down?