Merry Christmas To All, And To All A Good 2010

As the holiday season is upon us, and we sit at the dawn of a new decade, I wanted to take a moment to wish everyone a very happy holiday season and best wishes for a wonderful new year.

OK, so we aren’t truly on the dawn of a new decade. There was no year 0, so we are actually in the last year of the first decade of this millennium, but what the heck. 10 years ago we had a big party as we went from 1999 into 2000, complete with celebrations from around the world, worries about the end of the world, and the need to upgrade every computer known to man. Since we had that, and because it is much more exciting to watch your odometer in your car go form 99,999 miles to 100,000 than it is to see it go to 100,001, we will stick with popular convention and call this the end of the old decade and the dawn of a new…and what a decade it was.

Back in 1999, I had just moved to Chicago from New Jersey. I had an opportunity to move into sales management so out went the thought of moving someplace warmer as I packed up my car and heavy jackets to head to the Windy City. At the time, Randolph Sterling, Inc. was not much more than a glimmer in my eye…a far off thought that really wasn’t that far off at all. Now, as we inch every so close to the start of our eighth year I think back on what was a pretty good decade, all things considered.

I couldn’t have done it without a little help from my friends.

One of my least favorite terms is “self made.” Maybe I am missing something, but as self sufficient as I may be, I don’t believe you can achieve success alone. Whether it was my parents offering support as I started this journey, the owners and managers of companies whom I worked with, who gave me the opportunity to learn and experience the business world; the financial analysts who gave me sound advice to put away some money back then to finance some of the early years, friends who were there for me through the good and the bad in both my professional and personal life, early contractors, who helped to build what Randolph Sterling, Inc. is today; clients, who have shown great faith in not only me as a business owner (and in many cases early on as “the guy” who did everything for them,) and of course, our team today.

Let me tell you a little about our core team at Randolph Sterling as we sit in December of 2009. Many of you know Art Crowley, the newest member of the team. Art started with us just a couple of months ago as an account executive in Chicago. He brings with him great experience and a slightly different take on how to sell our services. He is full of new ideas and as quite anxious to make his mark. So far so good.  It also doesn’t hurt that, like me, he is a Steelers fan. We look forward to great things form him in 2010 and beyond.

Next, we have Daniel Nuccio, our social media intern. Many of you know my skepticism when it comes to social media. I have sat in meeting after meeting on the value of it, but it seemed that the only people who were making money with this media were the people who got paid to speak about social media. We hired Daniel over the summer to test this theory and he certainly changed my mind. Our newsletter has become a great way to stay in touch with current and past clients and contacts, and the blogs and tweets have introduced us to new connections all over the country to the point that we are looking at adding a social media component to our services for 2010. Thanks, Daniel.

In addition, we have Angela King, who runs inside sales in North Carolina. Born and raised in the Tar Heel State, Angela has a great personality and can speak to anyone; kings, queens, the owner of a small company, an intern at a large one, or anyone in between. The success of our inside sales program has always been our ability to have conversations with the people on the other end of the line. We don’t try to sell, we build relationships, and Angela is wonderful at building relationships.  Although our receivables are usually in good shape, we may even have Angela take over on “reminder calls” in the coming year…trust me, you do not want her to “go country” on you.

Last, but certainly not least is inside sales manager and SAM group membership manager, Lisa Pickens. Lisa has been with me the longest and often refers to herself as my “work wife.” In addition to all of her “regular” responsibilities, Lisa has been a confidant to me on decisions about the company in several areas and does not mind giving me her opinion, which I value greatly. When I first met Lisa, I had no idea how vast her work experience is. It seems as though no matter what project I give to her, she has had some experience either working in or dealing with that industry. I honestly have no idea where we would be without her.

There are also several contractors that we work with throughout the year on various projects, and of course, my valued trusted advisors at Vistage, who help me to learn what I don’t know or don’t even know I don’t know and who challenge me to be better and never lose the vision of the company I continue to build.

I mentioned our clients briefly before, but they deserve mention again. From the smallest project to our longest running clients, we appreciate all of you as you have also helped us to become the company we are today. Thank you all very much.

Self made? I don’t think so…and proud of it.

So whatever you are celebrating this holiday season; Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, New Year’s, the winter solstice, Saturnalia, or even George Costanza’s made up holiday of Festivus, I wish you all the very best, now and in the coming decade.

Thank you.

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