We recently celebrated our 15th year in business with customers and friends of TKG. It’s hard to believe that last December marked 15 years since we started the business. So much has happened since then.
We’ve experienced so much:
Growth – Slow and consistent
Money – We’ve made some, we’ve lost a lot
Turnover – Its become a reality in the last few years
Clients – We’ve had good ones and bad ones
Debt and Risk – We’ve had high levels of both
Competition – So many have come and gone
I wrote a post several months ago on perspective. It’s hard to gain and it takes most of the elements listed above to do it. Our perspective after 15 (almost 16 now) years in business is one of thankfulness. Even for all of the challenging aspects I listed above. Here are some comments as to why.
Growth: We haven’t grown fast, we aren’t an overnight “Internet Success Story”. We’ve had to work, as a team, for every bit of growth we’ve been given. Earning that growth means we have to earn our clients’ trust and we must move the needle for them in a meaningful way or the growth will not be sustainable.
Money: As with most small businesses, those that aren’t venture capitalized anyways, cash flow is a challenge. Over the years we have used all sorts of ways to finance the business. Some good and some not so good. But now that we are on a stable financial plan, doing things the right way, we are able to appreciate remaining disciplined because we don’t want to go backwards. We know what it looks like back there.
Turnover: For a small business owner, turnover can be something you take very personally. The last few years have taught our business that some turnover is good. Not everyone is a fit for your business, and that’s nothing personal. People and businesses both need to grow. We don’t want turnover, but now accept that there are good opportunities out there beyond our walls.
Clients: They aren’t all good for your business! They may be good people, and good companies. That doesn’t make them a good client for you. It took me a very long time to believe this. I’ve said it for years, but practicing it is harder. Still working on this one.
Debt & Risk: In the early years, we didn’t have much risk. There wasn’t a lot of money on the line and there were just a few of us involved. But as the business grew and our families grew, the risk grew. The number of families involved, the number of dollars we owed people, etc. It all grew. Now managing that risk is a bigger job, but an easier one because we understand it. We’ve been at just about every end of the spectrum and have survived the highs and lows.
Competition: It’s so easy to demonize your competition. You almost have to be good at that to be an entrepreneur right? Over the years we have watched countless Web Design, SEO, Online Marketing and so on, companies come and go. We have also watched a handful of really good quality competitors come into and stay in the market. Some that have been in the business as long as we have. Of course, I still love to hate them (the businesses, not the people of course). Honestly though, true competition is better for all of us. It has made us work hard to be better at what we do. It has brought some valid pricing to the area – though most of them are still too cheap in my opinion. There are many things that good competition has done for us, and most importantly the businesses we collectively serve.
Over all, the last 15 years have been very good to us. We have been blessed in many ways. The challenges we have been through and the opportunities we have been given have provided for a thriving Online Marketing & Development business that truly understands the real business challenges and demands our clients face.