The Goldman Sachs Experience

I am standing at the doorway of 2016, my hand on the doorknob ready to turn and burst into what is awaiting me on the other side. As I stand here impatiently waiting for the clock to strike midnight and that door to unlock I can't help but to reflect on this past year. I can't speak for the 23 other people that I met this year through the Goldman Sachs 10,000 small business program even though I am sure we all share the same sentiment, but the last quarter of this year changed my life. I have had the Goldman Sachs Experience and my life will no longer be the same.

On September 4, 2015, just 4 days shy of my 29th birthday, I received the call I was desperately hoping I would receive for months. I had been accepted into the program. I applied to the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Business Program on a recommendation of a client of ours, and as exciting as this was, I was terrified to apply, terrified to be rejected and terrified to be accepted all at the same time. I knew that if I were accepted I was going to be outside of my comfort zone which I had been in since building it. I knew that I would face people that may look down at me or see me as inexperienced. I was afraid of being told that I was not good enough or that I've been doing things very wrong all along. Fears that stem from being treated as a "kid trying to be an adult" since my husband and I started our lives younger than most. At this point of my life, at this stage of our business, everything that we have been through and accomplished to date, I would not be able to take another glare of "Oh, you're cute... but you're just a business baby with no education".

Both the excitement and fright I felt were great. I was excited because I love to learn especially about business in any way that I can. I did not have the opportunity to go to college so this experience, this program was an opportunity I have not been able to have before. Business has been my passion since I was a kid so naturally that took over when I was accepted. While all my fears were still there in the back of my mind, my goal was to push through them. I needed to fight those fears and anxiety in order to grow and learn and have this experience in a classroom setting. What I did not expect was that through this program I would not only receive tools to help me grow my business but myself as a person as well.

Many of the alumni stories we heard were about companies that have shown growth since they left the program. Companies that have gone on to be highly successful and have reached their growth plans or that are well on their way. While I NOW have full confidence that my company will also be one of these stories, my Goldman Sachs Experience reaches more than my company's growth. It is mine. I learned more about myself in these last three months than any other point in my life.

The first day of class, I drove away in silence taking roads instead of the highway because I could not contain the overwhelming feeling of change that needed to happen. I cried all the way home and when I finally walked through the door and my husband asked me what was happening... I let him know that we needed to restructure our entire company. He was baffled that this came about on only the first day. It was a change that we both knew should happen but I did not want to grasp before this class. That day I learned that I alone hold myself back and I also have the key for further success as long as I can get outside of my fears and get out of my own way.

As the classes went on, my ongoing theme was lack of confidence within myself. This reached a pivotal point for me during a negotiations class. That day was especially hard on me because I realized how little confidence I did have within myself and that that translates to the confidence or lack thereof that I show for my company. I have worked so hard to build this company, I believe in my husband who is at the helm of our production and I believe in our team but I did not believe in myself. What business would ever be successful with a leader that does not believe in themselves and their own capabilities? That day I learned that before anything else I needed to accept myself; my shortcomings and especially my successes. I cannot move my company forward without first believing that I can and that I am the right person to do it.

After these valuable lessons on top of what we were learning in class I was able to write my growth plan with greater ease. There had been a weight... a boulder lifted off of my shoulders and now the only thing I greatly regret was not having learned this beforehand so that I could appreciate and enjoy getting to know my classmates better. While they all may not know how much they each impacted my growth with their kind words of encouragement and their brave feedback, I will not forget them nor my Goldman Sachs Experience.

So I leave you with my three-minute pitch that I meant to present on graduation day but did not come out quite right because of nerves and yes, a lack of confidence...

Hello. I am Nancy Sabino. The CEO and co-founder of SabinoCompTech. We are a IT Managed Service Provider and consulting firm servicing small to medium sized businesses in the Katy area. Our company was founded by two crazy kids who have a passion for technology, learning and helping people and in 2008 at the age of 22, they decided to take the leap and share their vision of what IT should be with the world. Passion for technology, learning and helping people understand technology were the founding values of our company and something that every team member believes in.

That is what drove our growth opportunity which came in two phases. The first was to transition our company which serviced small businesses as well as the residential market to focus on the business sector only. We redesigned our support plans to be comprehensively packaged on a subscription basis with only three different levels of support to choose from. The most valuable package including unlimited support from our technical experts as well as one fixed monthly price.

The second phase is to target the health care industry in our area as it is growing at a 5% rate higher than the national average. To top off that growth, health care facilities are the most dependent on technology as they use it for patient information, scheduling, and for security. This industry must comply with federal regulations around their IT and they need experts who know and can help them with their technology and being complaint to those regulations. The risk of being out of compliance are high and can shut down any office.

Through referral methods as well as providing seminars and on-site education on HIPAA IT regulations, we expect to grow our total revenue by 80% in the first year and 20% on average for the following 4 years. We will expect to add 3 new team members within the end of 2017.

We are excited for this plan as we have already put it in practice and more than doubled our service plan gross in less than three months. Within the next couple of years, we expect to be the leading healthcare IT service providers in our area.

Thank you.

This blogger graduated from Goldman Sachs' 10,000 Small Businesses program. Goldman Sachs is a partner of the What Is Working: Small Businesses section.