10 Years in Business – 1998 – Lessons Learned
It is now 1998 and I have been in business for 10 years already. I can’t believe how fast time flies. My dad still tells me today, “Son, every decade makes a difference” and he is so right. As I reflect on the year of 1998 and that being the year of my 10th anniversary in business, I realize how true my dad’s statement about every decade in life makes a difference.
When the business was started I was about to turn 32 years old in 1988. We were a young family with no money and just a dream. Now it is 1998, I have been in business 10 years, about to turn 42 years old with kids in middle school. Karla is a registered nurse working with Hospice. I am serving on different boards of directors and winning local and national business awards. I have visited the White House for an award ceremony and have built some great projects. I have over 50 employees, and we are now financially able to give scholarships to help others go for their dreams. My dad was right, every decade makes a difference.
As I sit here thinking about the first 10 years of business, I realize how much my life has changed. I need to correct a date from the post last week about winning the Ernst and Young Entrepreneur of the year award. I was a runner up in 1996 and won the southeast region in 1997. The Ernst and Young award will always be one of my highlights of my career. The award was great, but attending the national ceremony in Palm Springs was incredible. E&Y puts on the best national award ceremony I have ever seen and the entire conference is unbelievable with speakers and other entrepreneurs. I was given the honor of being a regional judge and then a national judge for a few years. I went on stage twice with Jay Leno as he was the MC for the event and I got to present an award for two years. The best part about the E&Y national event for me was how inspirational it was to meet and listen to some incredible people. I have always been in awe of inventors and innovators of new products and businesses. I would leave there always fired up and believing I had a chance to build a great business. I am in the E&Y hall of fame. If you get time, check out the E&Y website and click on the link about the entrepreneur of the year award. Look at the incredible companies that have won the national and regional awards. If you ever want to see an incredible business event, attend the Palm Springs national event, and be inspired about entrepreneurship. My goal is to one day attend the E&Y international award event in Monte Carlo.
Back to business, in 1998 we were doing more design build projects and working on the Philips arena project. We had won the new federal reserve bank building as a joint venture.
The company was still growing in 1998 and I was getting more comfortable with running a business, but I knew I still had a lot to learn, and I have to keep fighting through the fear. As I reflect back on lessons learned about business and in life those first 10 years, I see how much I learned and overcame.
Here is a list of the things I learned about life and business. These are the David Moody’s life and business lessons learned the first 10 years of business. There is no particular order or weight, just what I have learned in my first 10 years of business in 1998. Many of these items I am still trying to master and use today.
- Make sure it is your passion you are chasing and not money.
- Fight through your fears that hold you back, real and imaginary fears.
- If you work hard to be the best, deliver a great product, be open minded, give a fair price, treat people the way you wish to be treated, be honest, and great things will happen in your life.
- Keep learning your business and reflect often and honestly with yourself about your blind spots and where you need to improve as a leader and person.
- Laugh often and at yourself. Don’t take yourself so seriously.
- Keep great credit and save your money for a slowdown in business. Live beneath your means.
- Don’t blame others for your mistake, Always tell the truth and be fair with others.
- When terminating an employee, let them keep their dignity.
- Make the hard decisions when needed, review the facts and make the hard call, regardless how much it hurts. Remove any bad influences or negative people from your Business or your life quickly and don’t look back.
- You will make mistakes, don’t beat yourself up. ( I am still learning how do to this lesson. I still beat myself up for way to long )
- Keep God first, pray every day, and take some quiet time often to reflect, set the correct example for your company, family and friends. Let your walk match your talk.
- Keep physically fit, emotionally strong and in spiritual balance and growth. Get your rest and eat well. ( I am still working on the eating right part )
- Keep trusted advisors around you that tell what you need to hear not what you want to hear.
- Enjoy life, it is so short, help others and expect nothing in return.
- Marry the person you would enjoy being with even if they weren’t your spouse. In other words, marry your friend, someone you love, but more importantly, someone you really enjoy and like as a person. Marry that person that you know in your heart is your equal, your partner in life, who you want to grow old with. The person who will stick with you and you with them with all of the ups and downs of life and only get tighter together when things get tough. I have been blessed with that person as my wife.
- Enjoy your kids and be involved as much as you can in their lives, school and outside activities. Make them and their friends always feel welcome in your home. Hug them and tell them you love them daily.
- Learn the word No, use it, and don’t allow others to use you.
- Finally, just have fun in life and try something new and often, and do something yearly that requires discipline and training.
I will admit I have two parts to me; I have the dreamer that still wants to build a large national company. Then there is the child sexual abuse survivor part of me that limits me, and puts the glass ceiling on my head. I still have to fight that part of me even today. That part of me still wants to limit my dreams, because it is safe and allows the fear of life to creep back into my mind.
I want other survivors of the traumas of life to know a great and happy life is achievable and beautiful.
I hope you are enjoying the weekly blog post celebrating my 25 years in business and my life, and share it with others. The phone calls and emails have been uplifting from readers. I really feel good when a person tells me I gave them the courage to discuss the trauma in their life and they now feel free of that burden to finally say it out loud or they are encouraged to go for their dreams in business and life.
I often laugh when people say to me, if I had your hand I would throw mine in. I always respond; you have no idea of the road I have traveled in life. That is why I always try to understand where a person has been in life, because their life may not have been as easy as it might appear to others.
Have a great week and make someone smile. I am closing with another poem from my friend Steve Copeland.
If I could do it all over
I believe if I could do it all over,
the second time around I’d be much bolder.
I’d challenge myself on any given day.
Face up to my fears instead of walking away.
I’d plan for more exciting and interesting experiences.
Be a little less meticulous with my personal appearance.
I’d take up some new hobbies, maybe learn how to sing.
Make sure I take the time to appreciate life’s little things.
I’d not anger as easy and I’d cry a lot less.
I’d be more resilient in adversity, more humble in success.
I’d smile more often and try to laugh a lot.
Be more focused on the future, let the past stay forgot.
I’d set aside more quality time to spend in the company of good friends.
Appreciate and enjoy every moment shared with my children.
Endeavor to instill in them strong morals and values as they grow.
Then proudly step back and confidently accept when it’s time to let go.
I’d aspire to read a few more books and actually learn how to relax.
I’d practice more patience and understanding, take a deep breath before I react.
Maybe try going a little more with the flow, a bit less swimming upstream.
But still have the courage and the faith to pursue my dreams.
I‘d focus more energy towards spiritual growth, stress less over material gain.
Being mindful of how I’ve been blessed, I’d resolve rather than complain.
I’d accept the fact that even with a strong back, I can’t carry the weight of the world on my shoulders. I’m sure I’d have a lot more pep in my step, if I could do it all over.
Written by, Steven R. Copeland