Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Happy New Year! Goals, gifts and going for it.

Howdy! It's a new year, in case you didn't know. Lucky 2013. I am enormously excited (if that's a possible phrase) about this year. Why? Several reasons, but two leap to mind:

  • First, we have never been more prepared, more (forgive me) PRO-ACTIVE going into a year than we are right now. Many thanks to scheduler/estimator/soon-to-be-general manager David for making that happen.
  • Second, I'm on day 3 of the P90X workout (lean version) and my endorphins are having a party up and down my body just beneath my skin. Now, I may have never taken an anatomy or biology course, so that's probably not literally what's happening, but it's what it feels like. It may also be a stroke. We shall see.
We have some pretty bold, ambitious goals for 2013. Some of them are monetary, of course. While I don't do this just for the money, I have to keep it growing to keep up with taxes (uh oh--politics!). And, of course, keeping a fleet of diesel trucks in good repair is a delightful chore I underestimated. And then there's payroll -- some of the Truck Buddies have been here for three years, something I never expected. They're clearly insane. I'll need to give generous raises to pay for psychiatric care.

For the most part, though, our goals have little to do with money. No, I'm serious. For as much as I'm demonized as a business owner, capitalist, whatever, money seriously isn't my first priority. Taking care of my wife and children is. I've been married for six years now. We have three children. The chaos of our early marriage, what with the loss of our first home, the bankruptcy, then the slow, grueling climb out of poverty and business creation kept me pretty preoccupied. It's only in the last few months that I've been able to slow down and appreciate them so much more. My wife: she's beautiful, driven, naturally brilliant and insightful. She thinks she isn't very tough, but while she does whine a lot (;-)), she is still standing tall, face to the sun, educating three high-energy kids while not just passively accepting life, but freaking crafting it to her vision. It's amazing, inspiring and terrifying.

Then there's the kids. The most surprising thing about kids I've learned so far? It's how different they are, how clearly their individual personalities shine through so early. Our four-year-old is freakishly brilliant. He counts backward and forward in Spanish and is already doing math in English. He sees everything and forgets nothing. Our two-year-old, while still showing zero interest in the toilet, is sensitive and fearless. The intensity with which he goes into his imaginary land is so powerful when he goes into playtime mode that I can almost see the topography and foliage of whatever world he's playing in. And then there's our little 8-month-old princess. She glows. I'm not kidding. She stops people in their tracks. She's alert, unfailingly happy even when she cries (she almost seems to be saying "I'm so sorry to bother you, but I'm frightfully hungry, father, and that mysterious smell has reappeared in my diaper. Could you please look into that?)

What's the point of all this rambling? It's this: I've been given a lot, and it is my duty to do a lot with it. As one of my buddies said a few months back, "You don't deserve this." He's right. He remembers me from a time when I had a hard time getting to work before 10:30, staying later than 3:30, and doing anything meaningful between. Pretty much the story of my life for the first 30 years.

We'll hit our five-year anniversary in April. That marks five years since, one night in a gin-fueled panic around 11:00 at night, I randomly decided to get an EIN number on IRS.gov and spend almost a quarter of what I had in the bank account to have LegalZoom.com create an LLC. We were about to lose our home and I had a handful of moves on the calendar -- nowhere near enough to keep our lights on.

Five years later, we still have a lot to do to "ensure" (as far as that's possible in business, in this economy) longevity and financial security. A lot. But thanks to YOU, (assuming any of our customers actually read this blog), we're doing alright. We've helped thousands of people in the DC area. It blows my mind. Thousands of you have taken a chance on our service, told your friends, and/or have come back for further service. Again, it Blows. My. Mind. 

Also mind-blowing: that a handful of guys have stuck through the chaos and remain committed to the vision of this little organization. Some of the guys remember a time when we'd meet at the nearest Starbucks to Penske, have a quick pow-wow, and go do our jobs. We had no central command, no HQ. Standards? Policies? Hope? Little of any of that. But these guys are still here, still (to one degree or another) looking to me to lead this thing to greater heights. 

With the weight of that appreciation and responsibility on my shoulders, I'm going to do everything I can to keep earning your trust and kind words, and the trust of the guys who keep this thing running. We have to erect a sizable bureaucratic structure to keep everything working smoothly as we expand, but at the core of everything we do is service. It always has been, and God-willing, it always will be. While some of the faces around here have changed, the size, type and number of our trucks have changed, the shirts changed, the office changed, EVERYTHING always seems to be changing, in 2013, one thing absolutely will not: our operating principles.

Show up on time. Work hard and fast. Be friendly and careful. 

It's that simple.


So we're going to go for it. We've done amazing things in the last five years, and I think -- and perhaps I'm being a bit naive or idealistic -- I think we've got the basics figured out. 

Thanks again to everyone who's used MTB and told their friends about us. We look forward to an awesome 2013 serving you.

Chris

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