Tom Mims discovered his penchant for entrepreneurship at only 23 years old. After graduating with his Bachelor of Science in Accounting from the University of Florida and working for a CPA firm, he realized his fulfillment lied in the autonomy of self-employment and thus founded T. Mims Corp.
What is now 18 different Limited Liability Companies (all managed by T. Mims Corp.) began as Tom Mims buying and repairing homes for resale after graduating from college. As Mims’ ventures progressed, the company expanded into several other industries and businesses: cattle and haying operate under Mims Ranch, LLC, sand mining operations are under Florida Sand and Fill, LLC and property management, financing and real estate are engaged by The Mims Group, LLC. The remaining businesses involved in construction, real estate brokerage and the management of over 10,000 acres which Tom acquired over the years through his various companies. In the midst of sizeable company growth, Mims also obtained his master’s degree in accounting from Florida Southern College.
Approximately 20 years ago, Tom Mims bought his first orange grove which was later converted into a development project as the economic conditions in the early 2000’s were prime for that endeavor. At the same time, he acquired large tracts of land that led into the cattle business.
“At the time, I had no experience in either of these businesses, but I spent a lot of time learning them and understanding the intricacies of both industries,” said Mims.
His tenacity to familiarize himself with the industry resulted in business success. Savvy business skills, an effective business model, an ability to learn from others and a commitment to community and giving back, have served him well.
“We attempt to position ourselves for economic downturns, which are simply business cycles,” said Mims. “Our company doesn’t pursue highly leveraged ventures and we focus on opportunities that are conducive to internal funding. Over-leveraging is a death sentence for most businesses over time, since it’s difficult to predict when the economy will slide into a recession. We focus on a strong business model that helps us take advantage of market in any condition.”
Tom Mims also manages his ranch’s risk with a Pasture, Rangeland and Forage (PRF) crop insurance policy with Farm Credit of Central Florida.
“It is a huge success in our ranching operation to offset the financial needs of the cattle operation during times of droughts,” said Mims. “I looked into other crop insurance programs and determined none of them provided the benefits that I found with Farm Credit. The Farm Credit Patronage Program is a significant benefit to using Farm Credit over other crop insurance providers. I would highly recommend any ranching operation, small or large, to use the program.”
T. Mims Corp. is flexible and insightful in searching for ways to progress their business as cycles change, but being calculative comes with its fair share of challenges.
“Most challenges in my business are overcome by persistence, hard work and determination,” said Mims. “I certainly have put in my fair share of long hours.”
The influence of T. Mims Corp. is far-reaching, and there are inevitable lessons that are gleaned from running a corporation.
“My late father-in-law told me that if you turn over enough rocks, you will eventually find gold,” said Mims. “However, he ended the adage by warning the minute you ‘bet the farm’ and lose, you won’t have any capital left to turn over rocks. I took this advice to heart from the beginning and avoided it at all costs.”
With extensive experience in the business, Tom Mims has plenty of advice to anyone with entrepreneurial aspirations.
“Work hard and eradicate or minimize your debt so it is manageable,” he said. “Don’t be in debt to the extent that you are losing sleep every night worrying about how you are going to pay it off. Life is too short to worry about that.”
Tom Mims is very passionate about his work, and sees the benefit of “loving what you do.”
“People spend more time working than almost anything else, so it’s important to love what you do,” he explained. “I love all aspects of my work, from working on the ranch, building new developments, or compiling a project. If you find the job you love, you’ll find success and fulfillment. Success is much more complex than simply monetary success. To me, it’s happiness. It makes quality time with family and friends so much better.”
Family is paramount to Tom Mims, and ultimately, the reason he pursues so many opportunities. “My parents have been great role models.” said Mims. Recently, Tom’s son, Patrick Mims began working with T. Mims Corp. after graduating from the University of Florida with a master’s degree in International Business.
“Nothing is more important than family. It’s family that’s with you at the end of a long, challenging day,” said Mims. “The real rewards are at home.”