Reflections of a First-Time CEO
By Colin Sheffield
When managing a business, when you’ve never ran one before, you are expected to know everything from day one. Everything. Like, “How much liability umbrella insurance should we carry?” Or “How much should the company cover of the insurance premium for the employees?” And, “What the hell is a ‘Trailing Twelve-Month EBITDA?’”
The regulatory side of our business is the easy part. Picking up work is a little tougher but we manage while not having a full-time sales force. The stuff that gets a little overwhelming but is maybe even more important is the actual business side of the business.
A question I often ask then answer to myself is “Why are we a business? To make money.” It’s not to make the world a better place, although we do that. It’s not to help better people’s lives and their family’s lives, although we do that. It’s not to help lower emissions for the earth, but we do that too. It is to make money.
Sometimes I look back on what we started 6 years ago and frankly I’m shocked at the duality of our ignorance and arrogance at the same time. We thought, “Well, we have never failed at anything before professionally in our lives. Of course, we can start and run a business.” Despite the fact we didn’t know anything about running one.
Fast forward 6 years to our anniversary, and I can honestly say I have never learned more in any endeavor than I have learned managing this business. For something that started with a payment for services by an engineering firm for $200 on an Amazon gift card, we managed, by the grace of God, to turn this little startup into quite a successful enterprise. I’m proud of that. I’m proud at how much my 3 partners have grown as well. They had the same learning curve as I did, and they have supported me and each other when we needed it the most. I really look forward to seeing what the next 6 have in store for us.