I once attended an event where Curt Richardson, founder of OtterBox was the keynote. He said something I’ll always remember, “People say we found success and grew overnight. I wish that were the case. The truth is, I was working in my garage 20 years ago to create what we have today. We are not an over-night success.”
I think that’s true for 99% of entrepreneurs and through our client meetings we had the opportunity to hear how people got their start and what they did in order to achieve the success they have now.
After hearing so many of these start-up stories, we decided to start a new blog series called, Small Business Storytellers and ask local entrepreneurs and leaders eight intriguing questions.
What better way to kick off the series than with eight intriguing questions from our owner, Diane McIntosh.
1. Do you have a mantra you live by or do business by?
We are a family of dreamers. We dream big and work hard. “Never give up,” is a motto that has strongly resonated in our family and coined by our son in relation to our business ventures and adventures.
NGU (Never Give Up) is actually the name of the parent company that Alphagraphics and our former sister company, Safe Site do business under.
2. Any specific moments or events that became a game changer for your business/career?
The move into our current building was pivotal for Alphagraphics. Our business was at a point where we had to take that leap and grow. Keeping our ‘dream big’ attitude, our vision for the business was not in alignment with were we were at.
We searched for months for a new building to purchase. Our needs required a space which would provide room for growth, and allow us to add equipment and staff. The commitment of buying a building versus leasing was somewhat intimidating, but we knew we had to do it.
On a personal note, once we moved the business and made the decision to focus on controlled growth, I resounded to temporarily give up my nursing career. Nursing had been a life-long dream of mine and I finished my degree after the kids moved out. I loved my work at the hospital, but the family business needed my full attention. We’ve been in the building for a year now and systems and processes are moving along smoothly. I know I’ll be back at it again someday.
3. What is one thing most people don’t know about you?
I love ice skating. Actually, I’m obsessed with it. I used to skate as a kid and loved taking my kiddos pond skating.
4. What’s your advice for aspiring entrepreneurs and leaders?
Don’t be afraid to take chances. We literally put every possession of ours on the line to get to this point and I wouldn’t change a thing.
You have to be able to change with your business; you can’t be stagnant. The world evolves, the economy evolves, our clients needs evolve, and so do we.
5. What is the greatest contributor to your success?
Hands down, our staff. The people that watch our backs. The bankers, insurance reps, CPAs and staff. The team we have formed around the business makes us strong and keeps us going.
6. What is the toughest decision you’ve ever had to make?
Temporarily leaving nursing to take care of the business was really hard. Our whole family is involved, but I knew something had to give to take Alphagraphics to the next level. I’m glad I did it; it’s for our business, our staff, and our family. But, believe me, I will be nursing again.
7. What keeps you up at night?
Personnel issues. But, not the kind of issues you’re thinking of. The thing that troubles me the most is when one of our staff members is going through a personal challenge at home. We are very invested in our staff and truly care for them. I hate to see them going through rough patches.
8. What skill or subject would you love to learn, but just haven’t?
I want to learn to play the piano. I have a dream of finding the prefect upright piano, throwing a painting party and giving my family members a paint brush to their own little mural, making it an instant family keepsake. It’s going to go in my sun room and fill our house with beautiful music (eventually).
Written by Shannon Hein, Marketing and Social Media Manager