WHY WE DO WHAT WE DO
Our Founder’s Story – from Randy Shattuck.
I stepped out into the sunshine of a beautiful afternoon in San Jose, CA – the heart of the Silicon Valley. The air was crisp and cool and the leaves were just beginning to turn colors. I remember the date well. It was October 15, 1998. That was the day that changed my life. How ironic that at the beginning of fall, my life was beginning to rise.
Minutes earlier, I had tendered my resignation to Acclaim Technology, a systems integration firm that had grown from 10 million to over 120 million in revenue in just over three years. It had been fun. I was proud of what we had accomplished. But I was hungry to try something new.
I had been thinking about starting my own consulting firm for several years. I had built a business plan and conducted the research and had a specific market-niche in mind. But it was risky. Very risky.
I walked away from a secure job to roll the dice on something that was very insecure – being an entrepreneur. In the back of my mind, I gave myself six months. If I burned through all my savings, then I’d find another job. But I really didn’t want to do that. I didn’t want another job. I yearned to be an entrepreneur. I wanted to prove to myself that I could do it. Like I said, I was hungry.
To my surprise, the reputation I’d built at Acclaim Technology was more powerful than I’d realized. Within 90 days, I closed over $100,000 in new business. Within the first year of business, I earned more than 3 times my annual salary from the prior year, when I had been an employee.
I hope that doesn’t sound like bragging. I don’t like braggarts. I think it’s fair to say that no one was more surprised by my early success than me. On October 15, 1998, I had no idea what the future would hold. But I really wanted to try. I was driven by passion and curiosity and a willingness to work really hard.
Back then, I couldn’t see it. I couldn’t put my finger on it. Why did I want to take this risk? What was it about being an entrepreneur that I couldn’t resist? Why did I lie awake nights dreaming about what the future of my business would someday look like?
It certainly was not for the money. I have come to believe that money is simply the marketplace’s way of acknowledging that what we do, as service providers, is valuable. Here is the problem with making money your true north. Over the years, I have seen many organizations grow quickly by selling thin promises, right on the edge of snake oil.
If you can’t look yourself in the mirror and know, in your heart of hearts, that you delivered real value and impact for the dollar, then where are you? What happens to your integrity?
That’s not for me. I didn’t start my business to get rich. I started my business to do something really valuable and important, something I deeply, truly care about. I LOVE helping honorable service firms grow. I love working with firms who care deeply about their clients, just the way we do. I love working with those who share my passion for doing something great in the world.
I am only interested in greatness. I am only interested in client impact. I firmly believe that we can deliver real value for the dollar and maintain our integrity. These are not mutually exclusive. They are connected at their core.
Here is the other thing I’ve learned. Focus on delivering real client impact and the money will take care of itself. You still have to be practical and keep an eye on your profit margins. But price is only an issue in the absence of value.
What drove me on October 15, 1998 still drives me today. I am more passionate than ever about helping our clients grow. We use completely different tools now than we did back then. But the underlying principles of success are still the same:
- Focus on ideal clients.
- Align the marketing, sales and delivery teams around a promise that matters to ideal clients.
- Leverage cutting-edge technology to go to market and measure everything.
- Deploy the consultative sale.
- Measure outcomes to see what’s working and what needs to be improved.
This is what we do every day at The Shattuck Group. It makes me proud.