For me it was 1999 when I joined a technology investment bank in San Francisco as an associate in their institutional equity sales department.
Yesterday I had coffee with the person who brought me in….it had been 14 years and it was great to see him again!
When I first met him he was already very successful, earning a handsome 7-figure salary + bonus. He has gone on to do greater things since and I was lucky enough to soak in some of his wisdom during our hour-long meeting.
He spent the first 20 minutes of our conversation asking about my personal life and my business. He inquired about who my perfect customer is and then we brainstormed together to figure out whether he could refer any of his connections.
After he left the investment bank where we worked together in 2001 he started his own asset management company. We laughed about the ups and downs of being a startup CEO – including having to clean your office toilets when you start out.
He then said: “When you’re in the trenches day after day, if feels like you’re growing at a glacial pace. But looking back the firm has grown 20% year over year for the last 12 years…since inception. In the moment it was very frustrating but it’s clear to see now that we were always moving forward.”
It’s an area I’ve been struggling with this year. It feels as though my company has been growing at a glacial pace. I feel the frustration and desire to have everything move faster and faster. I’ve even wished I could clone myself.
I have been subconsciously and erroneously comparing myself to the many angel and VC funded start-up companies I work with that are in a race to grow as quickly as possible.
It’s taken me 14 years to reconnect with someone who’s interested in me and has deep connections in the local finance community. I feel like the circle of my full time employment has satisfactorily closed.
Whatever stage you’re at in business, you need to be all over the numbers. In posts like this, we aim to offer bite-size food for thought – but in a few hundred words, we can only do so much.
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