How one fuel dealer’s strategy secured a prosperous future

August 3, 2023 By    

In the ever-changing fuel industry, hope alone is no longer enough for dealers seeking to retire and secure their financial future.

While many fuel dealers aspire to sell their businesses and generate retirement funds, others strive to find secure investment opportunities amidst economic uncertainty. Additionally, the prospect of passing the torch to family members and ensuring the survival of the business for future generations holds immense appeal. However, hope must be supplemented with a well-thought-out strategy to overcome the challenges facing the fuel industry and achieve desired outcomes.

Mark Thompson, a seasoned fuel dealer with over three decades of experience, had always dreamed of retiring comfortably and passing on his business to his son, Ethan. He believed his hard work and dedication would be enough to secure a prosperous future for himself and his family. However, as economic uncertainties and industry challenges mounted, Mark realized hope alone wouldn’t guarantee the desired outcomes.

Driven by his determination to protect his family’s legacy and ensure a smooth transition, Mark sought the guidance of industry experts. Collaborating with consultants specializing in strategic planning and succession, Mark gained valuable insights into the changing landscape of the fuel industry and the crucial factors necessary for a successful transition.

Mark’s inspirational journey and his experience highlight the importance of a growth-oriented approach for fuel dealers, propane marketers, wholesalers and service contractors. By leveraging the expertise of external advisers, dealers can identify untapped growth opportunities within their businesses. They can diversify their offerings through strategic planning exercises and explore new revenue streams while leveraging existing strengths.

Mark’s collaboration with industry consultants resulted in a well-structured strategy for his business. Through careful analysis, the business identified the potential to expand its services to include renewable energy solutions. By investing in solar and wind energy technologies, Mark’s company diversified its offerings and tapped into a growing market demand for clean energy alternatives.

Moreover, Mark’s advisers helped him implement effective leadership development programs. This ensured that Ethan, his son and the future successor, received proper training and mentoring to navigate the challenges of the evolving fuel industry. By investing in his son’s growth as a leader, Mark secured the long-term sustainability of the business and instilled a sense of confidence in its customers and employees.

Photo of Kendall Rawls


As the transition approached, Mark and Ethan worked closely with their advisers to create a comprehensive succession plan. The plan involved outlining clear roles and responsibilities for Ethan, setting up transparent communication channels and establishing a governance structure that facilitated smooth decision-making.

After Mark’s retirement, Ethan took charge of the business and successfully steered it through further growth and innovation. Building upon the foundation laid by his father, Ethan expanded the company’s presence in neighboring regions, establishing strategic partnerships and leveraging technology to streamline operations. His commitment to embracing change and staying ahead of market trends propelled the business to new heights.

Mark’s journey exemplifies the transformative power of a well-structured strategy in achieving the desired outcomes for fuel dealers and their families. Inspired by his experience, fuel dealers must embrace growth strategies, balance family and business dynamics, and invest in leadership development. Seeking expert advice ensures informed decision-making and maximizes the potential for success. By adopting these approaches, fuel dealers and related businesses can confidently navigate the future and achieve their aspirations.

Kendall Rawls is director of development with The Rawls Group. Visit, call 407-578-4455 or email

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