Are you considering starting a company?
The Inc. Magazine 500 is always an interesting read for me. This year’s issue includes a disturbing quote that caught my eye and goes like this:
“Being a founder is lonely and stressful. It is impossible to step away and recharge, as my mind is on my business 24 X 7 X 365. Also, I miss hearing someone telling me ‘Good Job’.”
Well congratulations for making it on the Inc 500 list of fastest growing companies! In past Inc. 500 magazine issues, I have read about companies that achieved their status by driving employees very hard to the point of bailouts by a stressed out staff and using “sweatshop” tactics. We have one of those companies in our area that achieves numerous accolades each year based on growth and financial results. I have met some former employees and have heard the inside truth. High pay for the survivors with little life.
Edoc Service was founded over 23 years ago. Other entrepreneurs have questioned why we are not bigger, “My goodness, still under 10 employees and a plethora of contractors, shouldn’t you be on this dynamic list as well?”
Well, we have had our share of recognition that includes being named number 21 on the 2012 Cincinnati Business Courier list of 55 fastest growing companies and by Forbes Magazine’s 2020 list of 25 Small Giants in the U.S. So, perhaps we are not experiencing exponential growth of the Inc. recognized titans, but we at Edoc get to have a life and experience the joy and satisfaction of operating a profitable business where we all succeed. Also, we are debt free with cash reserves. What is our strategy for achieving this? Here are a few pointers to consider:
- The company began and continues to follow a credible purpose. We believe in providing a service to the business community while at the same time creating revenue for at-home workers. Should your focus and drive align with making a lot of money, you may be starting in the wrong place. Follow your passion for purpose, the rewards will follow naturally.
- We recognize the
importance of stewardship. Our company is bigger than the founder with many opportunities coming
from a higher power. There are many constituents to consider –
- Business Associates
Edoc is an “open book” company with all key employees sharing in our financial reporting. This adds entrepreneur thinking by the staff and accountability to the company leader. When starting a company, think of your role not as a business owner but that of a business steward.
- We started in “boot-strap” mode with no outside capital. This made for some rough going the first few years but provided freedom for decision-making without undue pressure from investors demanding immediate performance results and payback. In my case I always chose the payment of company bills over personal ones and had to fight off some creditors, unpleasant yet necessary.
- Our Balance Sheet is the main financial statement in focus. Ignore those that claim the only thing that matters is cash flow. It is possible for cash to arrive while losing money on most sales. Your Profit & Loss statement is a good guide, but a healthy balance sheet is the goal.
Don’t get me wrong here. There is no greater honor than achieving the “Inc. 500” status; when there, you have arrived! We may get there some day but that is not our most important objective in life. We have a successful small business with a terrific staff, and we all enjoy life as well as a career.
Here is one final point to consider. We all need a time to think clearly. A prominent routine for me is quiet time each morning. I chose this time to spend with God, you may choose to handle this a different way, perhaps using quiet meditation techniques. It is this time that often sets me on a correct path preventing errors that can occur by merely “hitting the ground running”.
Finally, I am proud to say we operate our business credibly and ethically.
I began with a disturbing quote. Here is one more palatable from a top-rated CEO quoting his mentor:
“Don’t let the victories go to your head, but, don’t let the failures get to your heart”.
Ode to you if you launch a company that quickly achieves high-recognition status. Perhaps we will all meet there someday with our lives and minds intact.
READ MORE: If you like this article you will want to read “The Wind Beneath the Wings”
Jim Mullaney is President and CEO of Edoc Service, Inc. a total remote company that helps other businesses with tools and services for greater productivity and collaboration.