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Last Update: Friday December 6, 2019

Key Idea: Stick to Your Core

Irene Fraga and her husband, Lupe, have grown their business by doing only what they do best. More...

Key Question:

A: 

Keep quality and profits high by only doing what you do best.

Lupe and Irene have succeeded during a time when the number of office supply companies servicing the Houston market dropped from 500 to 50.  There are a number of reasons but certainly Lupe's decision to be a distributor, to operate only as a business to business organization, eschewing the business to consumer side that would require retail stores, was critical to his success. Lupe focused on a particular market segment and operated his business in such a way as to best serve that segment.

Q:
How do you decide what market segment is the best target for your company?

A: Lupe recognized that customer service was the key. He picked the segment he could best serve and was rewarded with 40% growth. His strategy, "We make your business day easier" is the right strategy for all of us. The RIGHT segment is the segment you can serve the best. Outstanding customer service will distinguish you from your competition, just as it has distinguished Tejas Office Products from theirs.

Q:  What should you do when you wander out of your niche?

A:
  When the print shop didn't work out for Tejas Office Products, Lupe got out of the print business. Sometimes it's difficult for a business owner to cancel a product or service line. It's like cutting off an arm or a leg of the business. It may be necessary to terminate long standing employees if there is no other opportunity for them in the business. These are tough calls, but it is the owner's responsibility to make the decisions that best serve the body as a whole, the business, not any particular segment of the business.

Think about it

What are you doing now that does not contribute to the bottom line? What could you do to increase your efficiency?

Clip from: Tejas Office Supply is all Texan.

Houston: Texans are resilient and resourceful, and people of deep faith.  When Hurricane Ike struck, they began turning to each other to  pull through thiat  storm together.  Pictured above is Lupe Fraga.  He came with his family to Houston as a young boy and grew up as a Texan.

He captures the spirit of this part of the world.

In 1962 Lupe Fraga left his bookkeeping job to buy an office supply business but steady profits did not come quickly. Today, over 150 employees turn $40 million a year making Tejas Office one of the largest minority - owned businesses in the greater Houston area.
 
He borrowed some of the start-up capital from Irene, his girl friend; and, the owner financed the purchase. He married Irene -- "the best thing I ever did in my life" -- and then he learned  profits do not come easily.

This is a family business. Michelle is their first born; and the day we met her, she was busy teaching a new manager and leading a customer service training session. Alisa, the middle child, handles human resources and says that caring can be measured on the bottomline.  Stephen, the youngest Fraga says that they all wear many hats. Stephen followed in his father's footsteps and graduated from Texas A & M. Rather than coming to work at Tejas Office right from school, Lupe encouraged him to work for a large company which he did for two years before joining Tejas in 1998.

Named by Governor Rick Perry to the Texas A&M Board of Regents and currently Chairman of the Board of the Federal Reserve Bank Dallas-Houston, Lupe also volunteers for the Greater Houston Partnership and The United Way.

Tejas Office

Lupe Fraga, Owner

1225 W. 20th Street
Houston, TX 77080
7138646004

Visit our web site: http://www.tejasoffice.com

Office: 7138646004

Business Classification:
Office Supplies

Year Founded: 1961

Stick to Your Core

LUPE: And so I said to myself, I said, `Look, I really want this to work.' You know, I don't really need--you know, I mean, I'm living at home. I'm supporting myself.

HATTIE: You're living with your family, your parents?

LUPE: I'm living with my family, with my parents. So I really don't need that much. So really I kind of laugh. I look back at my income tax returns from those early years. I really didn't take hardly anything.

HATTIE: Did your mother say, `Hey, when are you going to start paying rent around here?'

LUPE: But no. My mother, again, was very supportive, also, and she really helped out, too.

HATTIE: Hey, two really fabulous women in your life.

LUPE: Exactly. And you know what, Hattie; I think I'm sort of an intuitive person. I kind of do things on feelings. We had a little printing shop at that time. Some of our business was in printing, which we don't do any more.

HATTIE: When did you say, `That's not driving enough business'?

LUPE: It took us about 8 to 10 years to recognize that.

HATTIE: So 8 to 10 years later you figure out that this is not profitable. You know, let's concentrate on what we're really good at, and that is office supplies. Also, we didn't want to be a retail store. We felt our niche was going to be as a distributor.

HATTIE: A lot of people get spread too thin.

LUPE: That's what's wrong, I think, with some of the business people or entrepreneurs is that they're afraid to admit that maybe you made a mistake.
 
 

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