This week, I am highlighting two special relationships that have had a disproportionate impact on the growth and success of The Latimer Group. It’s “Relationship Week” here at TLG headquarters.
In my last post, I shared a little history about the founding of The Latimer Group, and focused on a man who hired us for our first major client assignment. I am forever grateful for that first big client “break,” and I am proud of how my colleagues and I have leveraged that opportunity ever since.
Today, I want to highlight another important relationship in our history… a person who has been there from the beginning, always been as supportive as a person could possibly be, and who, in fact, came up with the original idea for The Latimer Group… my wife, Emily.
Emily and I were married in 1999, and I will spare you the vast majority of the details of the early years of our marriage. The short version is that my career was in a state of flux and Emily had spent three years teaching but needed to figure out if teaching was truly her calling. So we made a great decision to put everything we owned (admittedly not very much) in storage, got into the car, and drove west. We left New England in mid-August 2000, and spent the next three months traveling across the US, visiting some amazing places. We slept in the van, camped whenever possible, and allowed ourselves to splurge on a motel about once a week. We visited Mt. Rushmore, Badlands, Devil’s Tower, Grand Teton, Yellowstone, Glacier, Yosemite, Grand Canyon, Carlsbad, Mesa Verde, Bryce, Monument Valley, Canyon de Chelly… It was a glorious time.
On this trip, we came to two key life decisions. Emily decided that teaching was in fact her calling. And, in a much more roundabout way, we came up with the idea for The Latimer Group. The short version of that story is that Emily said the following magic words on the Bright Angel Trail in Grand Canyon… “Dean you are a good public speaker, and you love to coach. Build a business around that.” And there you go… we were off.
Emily not only came up with the idea for The Latimer Group. She also was my biggest cheerleader in the early years, before I had any colleagues, and our office was in a spare bedroom in our apartment. She kept me going on countless occasions. Entrepreneurship is hard, and lonely, and it takes a lot of support and motivation to get started AND to keep going. Emily provided more support and motivation than I ever could have hoped for.
Even after we got our first break, and the business started to build, the long term success was still in question. We lived off Emily’s teaching salary for years, and at many points, Emily could have easily said something like, “This has been fun, but I am tired of the peaks and valleys and the unknowns of small business ownership. Go get a real job so we can have some regular income.” She could have said that at any time, and no one would have blamed her. I would have had a hard time ignoring that.
But she didn’t. We hung in there together, and The Latimer Group of today would not exist without her original idea and so many years of steadfast support.
The point here today is two-fold:
First, small business success requires more than just a good idea. There are tons of good ideas out there. Small business success requires the support of a lot of people around you. Make sure you have people in your life that will support you and your idea, because you are going to need a lot of support along the way.
Second, if you see someone you care about trying to launch something, don’t ever hesitate to give them a pat on the back, or find some way to be supportive. Small business ownership is lonely and scary and exhilarating all at the same moment. Even though Emily was teaching full time, we always acted as if we were in this crazy business together… because we were. While Emily was not involved in the day-to-day, she lived it every day with me. She still does.
Emily and I were married in 1999. July 10, 1999, in fact. Today is our 20th anniversary. And celebrating our twenty years together would not be complete without acknowledging the role Emily has played in the success of The Latimer Group.
Thank you, sweet Emily. Thank you.
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– Take too long to make decision?
– Fail to ask for what it wants or needs from you?
– Make things too complicated?
– Deliver unconvincing or disorganized presentations?
– Have new hires who are unprepared to communicate in the workplace?
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