We are a growing company; have been for 10 years. We didn't start this business to sit around and see how it goes. We started it to grow. BUT, who would have known that those formative years were the ones I look back on and smile...a somewhat sad smile. We were so caught up with wonder: will we make it, will our family and friends be let down, will our kids even realize what we are doing and that we tried...we tried really hard. Will we need to go get a job soon? How soon?
It actually brings a tear to my eye to think back to those questions that we thought about each day and which kept us up at night.
Will Scott, my husband and co-founder, and I started Search Influence with a few thousand dollars, a consulting job in my back pocket for current money, a 4 year old and a pregnant belly. WHAT were we thinking?! We were thinking, let's try. My husband's and my own parents all started businesses and worked together, so if they can do it, why can't we?
It was a struggle. About every other day we discussed the question most entrepreneurs ask themselves - when? When do we call it? When have we starved our finances enough that we really have to say we tried and give up? Thankfully, my husband and business partner is a risk taker and kept pushing me onward - one more week, one more month.
When we were able to hire our first employee, it was, for me, a solid ground. It was a moment of truth. It meant it wasn't just us anymore. We had to fight. Not just for us and our family, but now for someone else as well. Thank goodness we had that push.
Now, as an 80+ person organization, I realize that I should have slowed down, enjoyed the moments of our start-up days. At the time we longed to get bigger, more customers, more employees so much so that I don't think I realized how hard it would get to support a company with more than 80 people. I thought that by that time you would have people to help you and of course, you DO, but it is still your responsibility. It is still you. It is still our family and friends that we could let down, but now it also includes our customers, our employees, their family and friends. It is a great big circle...a really big one.
Thankfully, what I came to realize is that the great news is that if you do it right, you have built such a strong key employee team (I won't say 'management team', as they are not all managers) that you look around you one day, like I do many days, and think, wow. This is a new family and friend group and not one I worry about letting down, because they are all in it with me...they are going towards the same goal, they support me and I support them and honestly, WE ROCK together. We truly can tackle anything. But, Will and I cannot do this ourselves.
My point? Well, someone once told me this about kids: "small kids = small problems; big kids = big problems" and I would agree that it relates to companies as well. As we get bigger we do have bigger problems. However, if you do it right, you will have great people working with you to attack them together. It would be like getting 10 more, well-trained, parents to join your team as your kid turns 13!
Wouldn't it be great if, as parents, we had that?
This blogger graduated from Goldman Sachs’ 10,000 Small Businesses program. Goldman Sachs is a partner of the What Is Working: Small Businesses section.