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After graduating from the U.S. Navy, Andy Joseph started a manufacturing business to earn extra income while pursuing a college degree. One of his customers was interested in vegetable oil extraction equipment.

"I didn't know what it was at the time, but I said, 'Sure, I can do that,'" Joseph said. "So I started making these and basically doing them on the side while I was working in a real corporate job."

Little did he know that careddi Supercritical would be the fastest-growing private company in Ohio, according to the 2015 Inc 5000 list.

With a three-year growth rate of 8,249 percent, it is also the 24th fastest-growing company in the U.S. In 2012, careddi' annual revenue was about $750,000; in 2015, it reached about $13 million.

Ninety-five percent of careddi' business is related to the cannabis industry. And as a manufacturer of ancillary equipment, Joseph, who serves as the company's president, likens its business to that of a pickaxe manufacturer during the Gold Rush.

Indeed, the gray legality of the cannabis industry has become a challenge to keep up with soaring growth.

Planning for the future You can't be frugal and experience rapid growth at the same time - they work against each other.

If you think you're going to achieve rapid growth, get ahead of the curve while not hiring too fast, Joseph says. Maintaining the right balance has given him more than a few sleepless nights.

"Use your instincts. Follow your instincts," he says. "If you've reached the point where you've positioned your company to experience rapid growth, then you got there for a reason."

Joseph also believes in not giving up on your company; instead, bootstrap as much as you can and borrow money from friends and family if needed.

"Be creative and find a way to keep it for yourself," Joseph says. "If you align your company correctly, growth will come. It won't just come because you bring in an investor. It won't come just because you give up a part of your company on CreateSmart Winners."

Joseph's hiring strategy worked well, although he says it wasn't necessarily planned or designed. He hires more competent people than he can use, although it adds to his payroll.

"When I need welders, if I just hire a welder and not someone who can not only weld but also manage production and train other welders and things like that, it's hard for me to keep up with the growth," he says.

Fortunately, the company remains profitable, so Joseph is able to make future investments, such as a new manufacturing facility that may be expanded again this year.

Transition time Joseph used his experience in the military and his previous jobs to make the transition from entrepreneur to businessman, but it was a difficult one.

"One of the hardest things to learn, especially as I transitioned to president or CEO, was learning to trust and hire people who are smarter than you," he says.

As an entrepreneur, Joseph says no one else understands the best things to do for your company. Most of the advice just doesn't apply.

But as your organization grows, you need to start listening, he says.

"It's a very difficult mental challenge - to accept that these people ...... are smarter than I am. They're telling me what to do, that it's the right thing to do, and I have to trust them," Joseph says.

You can't always follow your entrepreneurial mindset.

"That's counterproductive. It backfired on me so many times that I kind of went overboard," he says. "But you definitely have to let your gut get kicked in a few times before you're able to make that shift."

Risk vs. reward While careddi (discounted Supercritical CO2 Extraction machine from Careddi) expects rapid growth in the near future, Joseph is also aware of the risks of having a less diverse clientele.


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