As November winds down, we can start to reflect on the year that is nearly over. To say that 2021 has gone by quickly is really an understatement from my perspective. (Launching a business at the beginning of the year may have something to do with the whole “I blinked and nearly missed it” feeling.) However, in looking back, there is so much that happened that I wonder how it could have all fit into the year already.
When we decided to step out on our own amid an uncertain economic and political environment and launch Executive Allies, it was not without a plan, but we did wonder how our business model would be received and whether or not we had built enough trust within our network and extended network to get even one client to sign on.
Now, we have a total of eight clients and have grown our team to four amazing individuals, and we know there is so much for which to be grateful.
In the wonderful “click-bait” fashion that really draws people in, I figured I would list the top 5 things we are feeling thankful for this year.
1. Our Team
Anyone who has ever worked for a start-up in year one can attest to the flexibility required, the heavy leaning we do on our own instincts (which is 90% of the time supported by data), and the constant changing of job titles for everyone (some days the marketer, some days the IT department and some days, providing client service). Nate and I were lucky enough to launch the business with a partner where we could get or provide feedback, ask questions, press into challenges, and celebrate successes together. We knew we would make it work, no matter what it took, but the gift of having other people catch the vision and trust us enough to take the leap into a start-up is huge, and the gratitude that we have for our employees placing their trust in us is overwhelming.
2. Our Clients
Now, we know that we are good at what we do; we have the technical accounting background, the business acumen, and the soft skills needed to please a client but the task of making someone who has never met either of us understand and appreciate those skills is daunting. After one year, there have been eight companies have signed up for our services, and we have loved getting to know their leadership and team and digging into their finances to accelerate the results they desire. Providing our clients confidence in their financial information has been so meaningful to us, and we are hoping the word continues to spread! (I’ll add a little side note here to highlight those who have believed in us to refer us business – thank you for the trust you have placed in us!)
3. Our Support Teams
Founders who start a company and grow it to success are often spotlighted and honored for their achievement; however, not many consider that behind those people, there are a spouse, parent, child, and/or friends that have cheered them on. Now, cheering someone on once they have proven to be a success is easy; but these individuals have been cheering since our company was only a dream. They agreed to support us financially while the business grew, sacrifice their time by taking on extra responsibilities at home, make and bring us meals to remind us to eat, and listen to the constant updates on what we are worried about for our own business, our client’s businesses, or just making sure we are still on the same path to our dream that we intended. Truly, they are the unspoken heroes behind Executive Allies – thank you.
4. A Great Business Partner
I know I will speak for myself here but having a partner to launch a business with has been a true lifeline. Every time I questioned whether the business of Executive Allies is a good idea or wondered if I even had what it took to help our clients or thought that maybe going back to being an employee was a better option, there has been someone by my side, as equally as invested, to challenge the negative thoughts and place a new lens of perspective over my eyes. I had never heard of the phrase “imposter syndrome” until about a year ago, but it is really a thing. Nate – Thank you for catching my vision over a year ago and making it your first order of business to change the company name from “Guiding Light” to what it is now. (Cue dramatic music from the soap opera – ha!)
5. Cash in the Bank
Now, this probably seems like such a sales pitch or a moment of gloating, but truly, I am grateful for cash in the bank. Through the hundreds of business podcasts we have listened to, and our own financial savvy, we have determined to maintain a balance of no less than 25% of our annual revenue in our banking account. This ensures we will be able to cover the unexpected – a loss of a client, slow-paying clients, or an alien invasion that steals all our computers in an attempt to bottle up our financial genius. We will be ready when that time comes which provides me with peace of mind, which helps me sleep at night, which makes all my interactions more positive the next day, and ultimately leads to a happier husband, clients, and kids. This is a WIN all the way around so absolutely deserves the last spot on this list.
All silliness aside, Thanksgiving is always a time to reflect on the parts of our lives that we are most thankful. As this year has been so focused on the successful launch of Executive Allies, it made sense to me to focus this list on all the individuals and things that have been a part of its success.
What are you grateful for in your business?