Ryan Jackson is an entrepreneur. He loves buying and growing a business and then selling it. At a young age, he’s already done so three times. Five things make him really good at it: a commitment to excellence, a deep trust in God, great mentors and partners, a heart for giving, and always preparing for a sale.
Ryan has a background in disaster restoration. So, when the opportunity to purchase a local disaster-restoration business became available in 2016, he jumped at the chance. He invested with partners and worked to revamp the company. He gave it a new name and a new logo. He brought in the best and most-experienced people he knew to work for him.
Then they put their heads down and just did what they knew how to do. “It just took off from there,” Ryan says. In six years, RestorePro had opened six new locations throughout North Carolina and eastern Tennessee. The staff has expanded from about 30 employees to 110. The business is flourishing. “If your home or business has a water leak or catches on fire, we’re the company you call right after the fire department,” Ryan says.
Mentors and helpers
Ryan’s commitment to excellence led him to seek out strong mentors. In 2017, he joined a local C12 business mentoring group to learn how to apply Christian principles to his business. “C12 was life-changing for me in the way that I looked at my business,” Ryan says. And though he’d always been a giver, he felt called to be more generous.
He considered setting up a nonprofit to help his community, but his C12 chair told him about some of the things the National Christian Foundation could do and introduced him to Richard Newton in NCF’s Carolinas office. As Richard explained things, Ryan was really interested. “I had no idea the things Richard was saying were even doable,” he says.
Not long after, Ryan opened two Giving Funds, one with his wife and another for his business. Then, he invited his employees to participate in giving with him.
Because of the work they do, RestorePro employees are sometimes aware of dire circumstances people find themselves in. When a fire nearly destroyed a home in their community – just months after the couple’s homeowners’ insurance had been cancelled – RestorePro reached out to Helping Hands, a ministry that helps support individuals in need.
Helping Hands carefully reviewed the situation, established a charitable project, and came alongside the couple to help with their needs. RestorePro employees and other local businesses gave to RestorePro’s Giving Fund at NCF, then RestorePro made grants to Helping Hands to help support the charitable projects. As a result of the compassion and generous support of RestorePro’s team and other local businesses, the disaster of the fire did not turn into a personal financial disaster for this couple.
As the business grew, Ryan recognized the company would need to do some financial restructuring before it was ready to sell. “We wanted a partner to help prepare for a sale when the time became right.”
As Ryan and his partner began to research, independently, how they might do this, both came to the same conclusion. They wanted to work with Sovereign’s Capital, a faith-driven investment firm that customizes solutions for the business owners they invest in. The deal with Sovereign’s happened early in 2020.
Ryan says the men from Sovereign’s weren’t just investors. They came alongside him to mentor, and especially to help him structure RestorePro financially for sale. “I know my limitations,” Ryan said. “God put Sovereign’s Capital in our path.”
And then the pandemic hit.
While many small businesses were severely impacted, RestorePro was in a unique position, and it thrived. As an essential business, the company’s work increased steadily. “Businesses and homes still flooded and caught on fire, and they still had to be put back together,” Ryan says. Office buildings and large businesses, like their local Walmart, needed cleaning after exposure to COVID-19. With steady steps of excellent, day-to-day work, RestorePro continued to grow.
By 2021, the small business was ranked on Inc. Magazine’s list of fastest-growing private companies in the country, with 145 percent growth over three years. They were ranked both the number-one restoration company and the 23rd fastest-growing business in North Carolina.
Ryan had a three-year-old daughter and newborn son. “I have a young family,” Ryan says. “At the stage RestorePro was at, if we were really going to take it to the next level, I was going to have to grind it out, working and traveling more.”
The choice seemed obvious. Ryan sought wise counsel and made the decision not to put his family on the back burner to oversee a growing business. “You never hear someone on their deathbed say, ‘I wish I had worked more,’” he says.
Ryan and his partner knew they wanted to give from their business. So, they decided to make a gift of business interests to NCF as part of their restructuring. Not long after this was completed, what they had prepared and hoped for happened. Someone was interested in buying the business. RestorePro was ready to sell, and Ryan was ready to pass the business to a new owner.
When the business sold, a portion of the proceeds went to a Giving Fund to support ministries doing the work of God’s kingdom.
It was an easy decision, Ryan says. “I feel like God led me into this business, and he has given it to me to be a good steward of. I wanted to set aside a portion for him.” He hopes his kids will one day know about his decision to sell and have this time with them, but also to be generous toward God.
So, what does an entrepreneur do when he’s just sold his business?
Ryan says he’s dabbling in a couple of other businesses and waiting patiently to hear what God has next. In the meantime, he and his wife are working on their Giving Strategy™ and taking trips to visit some of their favorite charities.