Steven Paulsen, founder of CSR, Inc. was interviewed by the Idaho Statesman. The article appeared in the Idaho Statesman on February 8, 2008.
By Steven Paulsen – Special to the Idaho Statesman
Edition Date: 02/08/08
Conservation Seeding and Restoration Inc. is a different kind of company in that its vertical integration and holistic approach to its work does not fit into traditional forms of business conversation. Somehow, we’ve succeeded in beating the odds for both growth and time in business, realizing 100-200 percent increases in revenues annually each of our first five years.
I’ve gotten lots of free advice along the way – some good, some bad. There’s the banker who says he can fund the company’s growth better if we could just pay off all of the debt to show the bank a greater equity to lend against. There’s the CPA who continually provides advice on how the odds are against us for maintaining the company’s growth – but “keep up the good work.”
I have been told several times that my understanding of a greater market and business trends would be best left to those in the know. Obviously I did not count as “in the know.”
I’ve considered all the advice I’ve received. It has all played into the success of CSR Inc. In the process, though, I have come to understand why it is that so many people and businesses struggle at the start – and perhaps why they fail in the end.
All that advice from strangers can and will, if allowed, get in the way of what you see as the target or goal you started out with. Bottom line: Stay focused on your goal, and spend the time it takes to build a good team of people around you.
You cannot be successful without all those people giving you that free advice. If anything, the advice keeps you honest in your appraisal of the situation and brings the team closer together.
With that in mind, here’s my advice for those starting out:
Stay away from naysayers. They will bring you down.
Keep a close watch out for yes men. They will hold you down by looking out for their interests and overlooking yours.
Always maintain a positive outlook. Know that success lies with the people you trust (including yourself).
And most importantly
Reflect back on why you started your business and what your business was started for.
I know that for CSR Inc., large goals and a great team of dedicated people have allowed the company to thrive even with – and sometimes in spite of – all that advice from strangers.
Steven Paulsen is founder of Conservation Seeding & Restoration in Kimberly. Starting Up is a series published on Fridays. The columns grew from discussions between the Statesman and local tech and entrepreneurial leaders and are coordinated by Julie Howard, a specialist for the Idaho Office of Science and Technology. Reach her at email@example.com.
Article link: http://www.idahostatesman.com/business/story/289298.html