November 16, 2021
Why I Will Never Sell My PEO
BY BRITT LANDRUM, III, SPHR
Never is a very strong word! I always stay away from using superlatives because we never know what the future will hold. Seriously though, these past 18 months have taught all of us that it is good to prepare and make plans. However, the most well-intended strategic planning may not always prepare you for what happens next. We must have the ability to pivot and modify plans, if necessary. While I cannot foresee a time when we would ever sell the PEO division of LandrumHR, the unexpected (and uninvited) is always a possibility.
When someone asks me how long I have worked in the “family business,” oftentimes I tell them 51 years. That’s how old I am, and that happens to be how long ago (1970) my father started the company. From the time I was a child, I was enthusiastically hanging out and spending my free time with my father at his downtown office. I grew up observing the critical role he played in the formation of the PEO industry and establishing the legal foundation in Florida, which has been expanded upon and modeled throughout the country. I played lots of sports and lots of music growing up, and our family temperament (ups and downs) revolved around the health of our privately held business.
There was a brief period when I considered performing music full-time and possibly teaching, but I knew I would miss the ever-changing excitement and evolution of our company and the PEO industry. Although the spectrum is vast and unique with each PEO, I love the solutions we provide small and mid-size businesses. For example, I teach high schoolers the fundamentals of business in our local community. When asked what our company does, I tell them (in simple terms) that we are like the sanitation workers of the business world. In other words, we take care of the garbage that most business owners and operators simply do not want to deal with. Other clients choose to partner with us to assist them with providing an enhanced experience for their workforces.
I love our team at LandrumHR, our national association (NAPEO), and our accreditation association (ESAC, the Employer Services Assurance Corporation). The people involved are (in a very literal sense) the best friends I have on the planet. Even though in NAPEO and ESAC we are competitors by day (technically speaking), we all have similar struggles and we collaborate effectively to provide solutions and help resolve them.
Moreover, our company’s size, breadth, and longevity make us a niche player within the industry that provides us with many strategic advantages that would be extremely difficult to replicate. I will continue to use those advantages to expand our company and provide unique solutions for customers within our space. To that end, we have turned away several acquisition prospects over the years because they were only interested in maximizing their dollar value. However, in my view, we are the perfect fit for sellers when they care most about their internal employees and retaining their client bases. Due to our private ownership, we can make decisions based upon what is best in years to come, rather than what will provide the best return for the immediate quarter.
In college, I attended a very large state school (FSU), then transferred and graduated from a small liberal arts school (Oglethorpe University). So, I know and understand the advantages and disadvantages of being both smaller and larger. I enjoy providing the “Goldilocks” solution in the PEO space for clients that want much of the technical ability the larger players provide, while still having the personal contact and customization smaller PEOs provide. I plan on delivering those same unique, customized solutions for our clients as long as they are valued in the market, and therefore, do not plan on ever selling our PEO!
BRITT LANDRUM, III, SPHR
Chief Executive Officer
LandrumHR Pensacola, Florida
Read in NAPEO's PEO Insider November 2021 Issue on pages 30 & 31.