Nothing can truly prepare you for some of life’s major milestones. First job, first house, first child, first start-up . . . At Convergence Strategy Group, we are celebrating one year in business and I’m taking a moment to look back on where we started, and the lessons learned on the way.
- Pick the right partner – I’ve learned that your business partner should be selected as carefully as your spouse. You need to trust your partner implicitly, as you now share professional futures. Your skill sets should be complimentary, as everyone has strengths and faults; a good partner will amplify those strengths, while helping when you need it most.
- Always strive to do and be your best – Excellence matters.
- Never stop learning – Constantly refresh your skills, gain new ones, and learn from the best. See also #2 above.
- Differentiate yourself – If you have skills, abilities, or expertise that others don’t, shout it from the rooftops.
- Assign company tasks based on skill set and desire – Both Scott and I have been analyzing casino gaming market dynamics for 15+ years, and we both love helping our clients develop their strategic plans. I have a knack for GIS. Scott’s understanding of micro- and macroeconomics is unparalleled. Delineating project tasks for our clients comes easy, but there is also the business of running a business. Having run multiple companies over his professional career, Scott is well-versed in handling company finances. I led business development at a previous firm and am comfortable with social media outreach. While we consistently cross over into each other’s territories, defining the roles and responsibilities of each partner gives clarity and makes the work flow much easier.
- Set aside a reasonable budget for outreach and marketing – Getting your new company’s name out there isn’t so simple. It will be time-consuming. It can get expensive. You’ll need to prioritize where you spend that money – putting up a website, attendance at industry conferences, and advertisements all come at their own costs.
- Seek good counsel – Hire good attorneys, CPAs, and graphic designers to handle those things that are out of your wheelhouse. It will save you time and money, no matter how small your start-up budget.
- Create a rainy-day fund – Contracts sometimes need longer to be signed than expected, checks get delayed, and you will lose out on some potential projects. When times are good, make sure to set aside cash for when they aren’t.
- Have fun, and make sure to celebrate every win – It’s your business, but it is also your life. Don’t get so bogged down in the daily stresses that you can’t see the big picture and enjoy this thing you’ve created.
I have learned much over this past year and look forward to what lies ahead. Thank you to everyone that reads this blog, visits our website, shakes our hands at conferences, trusts us with their projects, challenges us to be better versions of ourselves, and smiles with us along the way.
Here’s to Year 2!
Suzanne P. Leckert, AICP