This year brought a lot of change – and we wrote about the lessons learned through it all. We profiled four clients whose commitment to customer service drove them to start their own companies. And we talked a lot about trust – how you find it, how you maintain it with your employees, and how you communicate it to your customers.
Here’s what we talked about this year.
How do you avoid complacency? We started a new relationship, and got inspired to trust in new leadership.
You could do worse than following Central Bank chairman’s advice:
“I would want to be less judgmental, less afraid of making mistakes. I would trust more, and micromanage less. I would also employ the Golden Rule more.”
– Kim Wheless, Chairman, Central Bank
We profiled Zach, who found his ideal business partners and founded a diesel repair shop to deliver better customer service, an area in which the dealerships – who often dominate diesel repair – were lacking.
“You can trust until you have a reason not to. True for relationships, true for business.”
We talked about handling change, and what leaders should do to keep a company’s momentum going even when chaos threatens to take over.
“Change happens to all of us. It will happen to you; it will happen to your business; it will happen to your family and your life. It may not be as dramatic as the changes we’ve gone through lately, but it will happen – and you, too, will have to prepare for it and wrest the metaphorical train back onto the tracks.”
– Cole Harmonson, Far West Capital
Cole’s alma mater went to the NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship and lost; he wrote about what he learned from their amazing season.
“Will my Red Raiders be back? I know they will. I know that from this championship run. This is a team that learned from its stumbles, learned from data, paid attention to the small things, and built a process that will ensure they’re contending for that championship for many seasons to come.”
– Cole Harmonson
Are you keeping your best employees? We talked about the difference between rewarding your top performers and empowering them, and what the Japanese concept of kaizen can tell us about employee-driven change.
“Put another way your parents will recognize: there’s a difference between needs and wants. Your employees need a competitive, market-rate salary and good benefits. But it’s when you empower them, enabling them to find job satisfaction, that they not only stay but work even harder.”
– Cole Harmonson
We profiled Luis, whose construction company grew to handle big, high-profile projects – but were relying on traditional lines of credit to keep their cashflow consistent.
“You don’t want to take more money out than you need,” Luis says. “With a static line of credit, you might take out more money than you need – but every day you get money in and it goes against the line.” When they exhausted their line of credit, they turned to Far West Capital, and found a much better fit.
“I would’ve never believed how responsible and meticulous these folks are.”
June, part 2:
David Phillips wrote about his favorite NBA player, Houston Rockets small forward P.J. Tucker, and what he’s learned from P.J.’s strange journey in and out of the NBA.
“I want to win. I don’t care if somebody says I’m the best or the worst defender. I’m going to go out and do what I do every single night no matter what.”
– P.J. Tucker
What’s a mental model? Cole dives deep into the ones that help him process the world and avoid his own biases.
“Relying on one mental model – or the ones you know and grew up with – is like limiting your perspective to a single porthole on a ship. Sure, you can see pretty far on a clear day. But you’re missing the island on the other side.”
– Cole Harmonson
David Phillips finds time to go into the wilderness with the high schoolers he mentors with Explore Austin, and learns more about himself than he expected.
“Since the trip, I’ve made a concerted effort to leave work at work, and be fully present at home. If you’re like me, that boundary is constantly eroding, and it takes a reminder – like this trip – to remember the benefits of taking that personal time and allowing yourself to be fully in the moment.”
– David Phillips
We profiled a family-run staffing company that recently diversified in a surprising – and adorable – new direction.
“I love that they’re always trying new things, while their core business gets better and more efficient every year.”
– Far West Capital Sr. Account Manager Alexis Collins
When do you take criticism, and when do you ignore it? Cole talks about having skin in the game – and what that means when you fail and need to figure out what went wrong.
“If you don’t think so, if you think “I’m not going to fail. I have x, and y, and z safeguarding me” – I’ve got news for you: You’re not really in the arena. You are, to borrow a phrase from Roosevelt, “a cold and timid soul who knows neither victory or defeat.”
– Cole Harmonson
We profile Ruben, who spent two decades serving his country – and retired to be a father and a husband. But he found he didn’t want to work for anyone else – and started a company that grew almost too quickly. He has great advice for others leaving the service who want to do what he did:
“Find a partner, an advisor, a buddy to help. Do your homework, do your studies. You don’t have to jump in right off the bat; you should treat it like you’re going on a mission – because you are. Everyone has a great idea; if you have the ability to do it, to execute your mission, go after it. “
Far West Capital is in the business of funding the goals of high-growth entrepreneurs. Know a great company in need of capital to unleash their potential? Send them here and we’ll give them a call.