Credibility from Stability

Success can be fleeting. Everyone wants to capture lightning in a bottle, but if you can’t keep it on the shelf why bother?

Repeat successes demonstrate a strong team or player. Can you harness that talent consistently?

Credibility is more than just winning repeatedly. It’s also about stability, the belief that you can not only count on someone (or a brand) to perform for you, but also when you need them, now and in the future.

One of my friends from Georgetown used to say showing up is half the battle. He meant that performance was part of the equation, but so was the simple fact of everyday presence.

Markets need stable players they can rely on. Always strong, these blue chips can be trusted as service providers, as sources of intelligence, as persons/organizations that can help. They offer lightning when you need it.

Building the Business for the Long Term

When I look back at Livingston Communication and then Zoetica, I regret selling the first company. If I had the fortitude to make it through that period… But, at the same time those experiences made me understand the value of stick-to-itness. You can’t change yesterday.

People ask me if I am excited about Tenacity5 Media. Excitement is not the right word. I am having fun, but my enthusiasm is tempered with a healthy sense of realism.

After two start-ups, I am conscious of what it means to build a business. It takes at least five or ten years to really develop something worth keeping. There are many late and sleepless nights (I typed this line in at 11:54 on a Saturday night, for example). There is a constant tension of investment versus cash flow. There are periods of intense work. This is what stops me from being excited. I know what lies ahead.

The good news? There is no disillusionment. I look forward to meeting these challenges.

It is how I imagine a marathon runner must feel before they start their race. You don’t get crazy about the first mile. You envision the whole race, and are ready to finish it. All of it. The hills and valleys will still be there, they’ll just be less dramatic.

This is about building a stable services team for the long-term. Talk is cheap, and I get that. So let the walk do the talk.

Image by Doug Mall.

4 Replies to “Credibility from Stability”

  1. And that walk can be a marathon. I’ve been at this for a long time now, so you’d think the roller coaster ride of self-employment would lessen the tension and anxiety that can come from the up and down nature of business: no security, no gold watch (what the heck is that?), no benefits, no pension…bidding on projects and not always succeeding…clients that pay late or not at all.

    But it’s a life that’s rich and full, exciting and risk-rewarding. When I had to close one of my companies after protracted (groundless) trademark litigation, I certainly felt bruised and battled: financially, spiritually, emotionally. But the lessons learned can’t be taught in books.

    So…build for the long term. Take action each and every day. One step, one moment at a time. But you know that already:) Cheers! Kaarina

  2. We are coming into our 13th year…still writing those late emails and balancing investment with cash flow!! But it is “ours”, and we did exhibit stick-to-itness rising from about 3 employees to about 120 – and then stabilizing at about 85 post-2008.

    Having that kind of bandwidth also allowed us to acquire new skills and “practices”. We started out as software developers – then used our ability to develop databases to easily transition into business intelligence – built in a testing group and PMO – then added a social analytics product…all easily scaled and customized using “all of the above”. Heck, we even have a small group doing mobile app development now! We’ve been very opportunistic.

    Doing it as a solo-preneur definitely takes courage. Do you see growing by adding more resources? Will they offer the same strengths that you do, or will you look to diversity the offerings of the company? Of course, it’s all grand planning…but it takes clients believing in YOU (good will) to grant you the flexibility to grow into areas not originally within your reach.

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