Spending 10 Years in the Driver’s Seat
by Martin McGann III, Owner, Premier Consulting & Integration, LLC
Choosing a Route
I was asked to write a blog about my experience as a business owner for the past 10 years. So much has happened, but when you sum it all up, a blog seems just long enough to tell the story.
Like any business, this started out of both a need and desire. In 2009, I saw the end of my run as an employee of another company in the horizon. It was time for me to decide if I wanted start fresh at a new company as a new employee or if it was time to try something different. I had been encouraged by friends in the industry to get out from behind the desk to share my experiences and knowledge with others. I also believed the industry I was in was slow, compared to the fast-paced world around it, and I could bring it up to speed.
With this initiative, I set up a company, designed a logo, website, printed business cards and headed to the 2009 Deltek Insight conference in Orlando.
The Road Trip
Starting a business is a test of your belief in yourself. Some people use the term roller coaster, I’d prefer to call it a long road trip. Growing up my family drove form New Jersey to South Carolina every year around this time. The beginning of the drive is always exciting and fun, but then you get about an hour in and you question the ‘greatness’ of this idea. Then you get excited about the destination, or a great stop along the way. At the end of the day, you are on vacation and everyone is happy.
I think of starting a business in a similar way, and maybe all those road trips prepared me. Each day of the road trip is not always an easy drive. People question your decision, make suggestions that are not helpful, or are less than encouraging bringing you to question whether this business was the right move. Once you get past that early stage, and you block out the naysayers, it starts to look more and more like you are getting closer to your end goal or should I say the vacation portion of the trip.
In the beginning, my goal was to get enough work that I would not have to work for anyone else. I felt that I could make a difference in my client’s businesses. I could work on the projects I wanted and support the lifestyle I wanted.
Fast forward 10 years, things are sure different. We have about 35 employees, and plan to be around 40 by the end of 2019. The success of PCI is largely based on the team we have, they are an incredible group of people who are always looking to make what we do better. Our employees have a sense of ownership over our processes that I would put up against any organization.
The journey wasn’t always easy. Finding the right people to trust their career in your hands at a time when you have very little, but your belief is tough. In the first couple years, we struggled with getting the right people in the right positions. But we had people who believed in us and what we were doing, so those growing pains were met with understanding and support that allowed us to find the recipe that would mean future success.
Looking into the Rearview Mirror
Ten years into this, there are certainly days where I am tired, and maybe a little beat down, after all there is a lot riding on your shoulders, and you don’t want to let your team down. As a basketball fan, I see a lot of similarity to what we do and sports. I heard an interview with Bill Russell, and he was being asked about Michael Jordan. Prior to Russell, people were commenting on his ability, or work ethic, personality. But here’s what Bill said that I found the most interesting, “What impresses me most about Michael Jordan is, he is determined to be Michael Jordan every day.” That says so much about a person and their character, because I am sure there were days that he was tired or burnt out, or just needed a break, but he found something inside him to keep going and put his best effort forward every day, to keep driving.
This has been a great ride and it seems as though every day we are pushing ourselves to be the best we can be. From the Deltek Now program, development of ARCH and an 8(a) program, API toolkit, Talent and expanding our service offerings from Government Contracting into the Agency world with WorkBook. The team at PCI has helped craft this organization into a place I’m honored to call home.
Now for the ‘Oscars’ part.
I would not be able to be near what I am today without my family, living with a business owner is daunting and tiring and they make sacrifices every day for me to continue this journey. Our partner in all this – Deltek, everyone from the Sales teams to Product Development has been incredible to work with, share with, and they are truly PCI’s second family. And lastly, but certainly not least, is our team, there are not words to describe the effort these individuals put forward every day, pushing themselves to learn, grow and adapt to our environment, and make PCI a place where I am proud to call home. Thank you all.