Earlier this year C L Graphics celebrated its 30th Anniversary in business, and just this week we celebrated with an Open House! This is quite an achievement to be sure, and with it brings a wide range of thoughts/feelings.
First and foremost is a sense of accomplishment – while I don’t really know the percentage of businesses that achieve this milestone, I would suspect that it is probably less than 10% – maybe not even that?
I also have strong feelings of responsibility – or perhaps said another way, a feeling of pressure to continue to succeed. Not necessarily for myself though, but rather for all those who work with me and for our clients. As a small business owner, it is not lost on me that our employees rely on C L Graphics for their livelihood – to help support their families – their goals and their futures. And likewise, our clients count on us to have jobs delivered on time – because events are being planned and supported through the invitations we print or fundraising is dependent upon the success of the appeals we produce. I can honestly say that it is not me that I care about – but rather if I can help them succeed, then too will I succeed.
Thankfulness is another feeling I want to share, as many individuals and organizations have helped me to achieve this milestone. This includes my parents first of all, who gave me the education and confidence in myself to even attempt this career – and of course my wife Julie who is more support to me than anyone could know. There have been other influences as well – teachers, my original business partners – Carolyn and Len Wilson and numerous industry peers. Also organizations – such as our local Chamber of Commerce and national trade groups, including NAPL.
Luck is probably not what you might expect to see here, but to some extent I believe we all need to have at least some of this to get through. Of course an argument could be made that luck comes from putting yourself into the right position to receive that timely reference or inquiry.
One area that I know is key to business success and endurance is the willingness to learn – to be open to new ideas or trends, to push yourself to try something new even if you might not get it right the first time through. I have never been one to “live in the past” – there have been many wrong decisions or at least not great ones over the years, but there really is no sense in losing sleep over them, but rather to learn from them.
Success in business is rather subjective – I know that 30 years is pretty neat, and yet there are many others who have been in business for less than 5 years who have grown their sales to much more than what we have. Others have been able to bring true innovation and new technologies to market. For each of us though, it is important to know that you have made a difference with the work you have done, and that you count your blessings for the time that you have been in business – and for that I feel proud!