It was July of 2005; I was so nervous. Actually, I was really unsure about how this was going to work out. I had just started walking, and they came on me suddenly, tears. My family had no monthly income, no health insurance. My wife and three girls were counting on me, and I had quit my job. They were counting on me to provide, at a minimum: food, clothing, and shelter. I had no idea if we were going to even be in our house the next month. So back to the walk, crying. I was not taking a leisurely stroll through the neighborhood; I was walking to work. My new life—this new company that was so exciting to talk about—wasn’t so exciting now. I was in a really low place. A few days earlier, it was fun signing the lease for the office space two blocks from my house. I was fired up! It was exciting! Now, it wasn’t so much exciting. I was doubting myself. I had just left my three little girls who were pre-school age…thinking about how they were so oblivious to what was happening. It made me feel guilty. Which piled on more doubt. I walked to the office, opened the door…and saw my friend, Brian, smile and say, “Good morning.”. I was encouraged and feeling better. Then I started to realize I needed him to get through this. And more importantly, we needed each other. You see, Brian and I both took a leap off the cliff together, and he was experiencing the same emotions I was. He was a newlywed of a few years—just starting a new life with his bride. Together we were able to begin to take the first steps, to deal with the emotional ups and downs of starting a business. We had started a company splitting everything 50/50. But many business ventures have started out that way and didn’t make it. As a matter of fact, let me look up the most recent stats on business success. This is from a Small Business Trend article March 0f 2019: 20% of small businesses fail in their first year, 30% of small businesses fail in their second year, and 50% of small businesses fail after five years in business. Finally, 70% of small business owners fail in their 10th year in business.
The great thing about jumping off a cliff is this: at that point you don’t really care about stats. You’re just trying to make it. It forces you to learn to fly or control your fall for the safest injury-free landing as possible. Anyway, back to the flow of the story…I was unprepared for the emotional ups and downs that would come with following my instincts, the highs and lows of pursuing a dream, a vision that is “out there.” The only place it exists is in your head.
One minute I’d be thinking, “This is awesome.” Five minutes later it would change to, “What have I done? This isn’t going to work.” And the beauty of it is this: it’s normal and ok. The emotional swings early on were part of me believing and getting through the next struggle, the next problem to solve, and the next path to create. All of the emotions were part of it. If we were going to make our dream real, we had to walk through the testing and doubting phase of the journey.
Another cool stat from the study is this:
Having two founders, rather than one, significantly increases your odds of success as you’ll:
• Raise 30 percent more money
• Have almost 3X the user growth
• Are 19 percent less likely to scale prematurely
What I take away from that is Ecclesiastes 4:9-10:
Two are better than one because they have a good return for their labor: If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up.
So, to the reason I wrote this. Our story is about friendship. In July of 2019, we will begin our 15th year in business. Our company’s success is about two guys that started something together. This friendship is special, and many people have benefited from it—our families, our employees and their families, our many customers and friends—but especially the two of us. You don’t “make it” by yourself. We all need help. We need each other. Now as we move forward, we have a whole group of people helping each other, which makes us all stronger and better. It’s really difficult to take it all in especially when you start to look at the odds that Brian and I would even meet. We were from different towns growing up and lived in different cities as adults…and the differences could go on and on.
The story of our company is still being written; we are still growing and pursuing excellence. We are better today than we were last year, and next year we will be better than we are now. We love each other as a team. We love our customers, and that all began somewhere. It began with two friends who believed in each other—two friends who were willing to bet on each other, in spite of our differences. We have different weaknesses and strengths. Where one is weak, the other is strong. Two friends standing back to back to “take on the world”. And we are still doing this today with more people, and the benefits, strengths, belief, success have all expanded. So here we go, completing fourteen years, beginning fifteen. Here’s to the next fifteen.
I am so thankful to our awesome team here at Professional Medical Fulfillment and to all of our customers and friends. We are all getting to experience something special together. We get a front row seat to see what can happen when two friends stick it out, and when a group of people stick it out, standing shoulder to shoulder through good and bad, through life struggles and personal difficulty. By example, we forge that vibe into company culture so all benefit. You are all awesome!
It all began with two friends.