As we enter our tenth year in business (I can’t believe this is my tenth year!) I decided it was time to do a little personal retrospective. I wanted to think about what my original goals were for integrateIT 10 years ago and compare them to where we are today as we prepare to share our goals for 2013 with our employees in 2 weeks.
When I started integrateIT in 2004, I did so mainly because it was always a dream of mine to own my own company. But the other reason I did so was because I had grown frustrated with the beauracracy at big companies I had worked at and wanted to be independent and have the ability to know that decisions I would make would actually impact the future of a company but also impact MY future. To me there is nothing more satisfying than knowing that every decision I make will directly impact the bottom line of my company. One thing I have learned throughout the years is that it is impossible to have NO bureacracy in a company. As frustrating as it is, there will always be some people out to make a quick buck or to beat the system. As a result you have to have some level of policies in place to protect you as a company and also you as an individual from being taken advantage of. While we have added some elements of bureacracy at integrateIT, I am proud to say that I truly do not believe it has impacted the experience for our staff.
Another basic ideal that I set out to achieve when I started integrateIT was to create a family like atmosphere for our employees as well as a fun place for people to work at. I believe that if you were to ask any of our employees you would get a unanimous answer that we have definitely accomplished this goal. Our #1 priority has and always will be to cover 100% of premiums for our employees as well as their families for all of the benefits we offer. Dave and I will always agree that this would be the last benefit we would ever cut because we know how important this is to our employees and their families. In addition, all of our staff love getting together to go to happy hours, attend Nationals games, participate in charity events, or just do things together outside of work. This has obviously become more challenging as we have grown but something Dave and I continue to make sure stays in place and is a focus of ours.
A goal of most people that start their own company I think is that they are going to do everything by themselves. Well one thing I have definitely learned over the years is that it’s just not possible. It’s very important to have great help and people that you trust. For me, I have found a co owner that I have the utmost respect for and that has a work ethic that is second to none. Also important here is that he shares the exact vision that I have for the company. I have found someone to manage our employees and work with them to ensure we are giving them everything they need from a company and also to help them plan their future. We have others that chip in and help us with anything from Recruiting, to Business Development, to planning events, to running our innovation forum to working to trademark our new Project Management methodology. We even have my brother who owns our internet/intranet as well as my wife who serves in a part time role as our Human Resources Manager. Doesn’t get much more of a family atmosphere than that!
When I first started the company people would start by asking me how big my company was. I would almost be embarrassed to tell them that I was a company of 1. They would then ask me how big I wanted to get. At the time in my mind a target of 10 employees seemed just crazy but nevertheless was my goal. We have just finished up 2012 by adding our 23rd employee and we look for another year of strong growth in 2013 as well.
It was also a pipe dream of mine to one day win a prime contract. After an unsuccessful attempt in 2009, I really doubted that this would ever be accomplished. Thanks to a LOT of persistence by Dave, basically driving me nuts till I agreed to pursue it, we actually were awarded 2 prime contracts in 2012. Its till blows my mind to think about that.
Finally, my ultimate goal when starting this company back in 2004 was to create a company that stood out among the many in our industry and to never work for another company until I was ready to retire. This goal is definitely still the most important of all to me. I believe that we have created a truly great atmosphere to work in. Can we do some things better? Of course we can and we are always working to improve. But when I look at the benefits we provide, the family like atmosphere we foster, as well as all that we do for so many charities locally and nationally, it hits me that there just aren’t that many companies that do what we do out there. And there is just no way I could ever see myself working for another company ever.