Spoiler Alert: We are Not
It may surprise our readers to learn that we are not, nor have we ever been, small business savants. It is true that when we started Chenmark, we had traditional finance experience. However, that experience was more applicable to thinking about trends in the Yen or Sovereign Credit Default Swaps than to any particular small business skill set.
Our small business journey began with Googling “how to buy a business”. We started off filling out request-for-information forms on BizBuySell.com. The day after we purchased our first business in 2015, we distinctly remember thinking, “What do we do now?”
Prior to starting Chenmark, we had zero experience underwriting a deal. We had never worked with a bank other than to open a personal checking account. We had never hired anybody. We had certainly never fired anybody. We had never collected AR. We had never thought about corporate insurance. We had never managed working capital, nor had we determined how to allocate cash capital expenditures. We had never purchased a dump truck. The list goes on.
What we did have from day one of Chenmark is a Chase Better mindset. Now one of our core values, to Chase Better, means we have an unequivocal belief in our own potential. We maintain the discipline to do the little things necessary to achieve it. We cultivate the grit required to stay the course when things don’t go our way. And we maintain a sense of urgency. We choose to chase better because we want to run, not walk, toward success.
A teammate recently told us that when he started at Chenmark, he was nervous and self-conscious about his perceived lack of knowledge. This held him back from engaging on certain topics as he felt he had to be knowledgeable before he could contribute. This mindset changed when he was candidly told that if he felt he had no idea what he was doing, he should join the club. We all routinely feel we have no idea what we are doing when engaging on a new topic. Anybody who says otherwise is a liar.
There is no shame in a lack of knowledge about any given topic. There is a problem, however, if we persist in not knowing and avoid the growth opportunity associated with further study. This is the embodiment of the Chase Better ethos, and in our world, that is more powerful than having Ph.D. level knowledge in any specific subject.
Have a great week,
Your Chenmark Team