I never thought my business would live to make it to the teenage years. When I started the business I had a 9 year plan and an 89 page business plan. After 14 years, we now operate with quarterly priorities and 1-3 year goals on one big, ever-evolving page. I have learned I cannot, and I no longer try, to control it all. Let it come. Listen to the universe and the market. Take advantage of opportunities. That is my simple mantra today. But I have many memories, both good and not-so-good, that I would like to share. This list won’t be about firsts and largest. Just great memories that stand out.
A memory for each of our 14 years in business!
2001: I knew I would face adversity as I got started but had no idea how much! I just wish I didn’t have a flood, theft and 9/11 happen all before we officially opened for business. It was a tough start for Outside-In®!
2002: I worked often. In fact I worked every single day of this year. Folks started to recognize our business and to buy our services. I learned that working hard and working smart matter!
2003: In January of this year we trademarked Outside-In®. Other than that, I don’t even remember 2003. Did I mention that you have to work a lot to start a business from scratch?
2004: The year we got our first real office! I started the business from a coat closet that I rented from a good friend. In 2004, we moved to our new headquarters here at Casho Mill Road.
2005: CBI Group was recognized by the Philadelphia Business Journal’s Best Places to Work program, was the recipient of The News Journal’s 2005 Best In Business Award for Best Up and Coming Company, and we placed #19 on the Philadelphia 100 growth list. We knew we had “made it”.
2006: The Year of the “Weepul” — we have had different employee recognition programs over the years. This year my team would receive “Weepuls” for “getting caught being Outside-In®.” Weepuls are a small, spherical, fluffy toy, with large, plastic googly eyes and no limbs. They were everywhere in the office, most of them stuck to the top of our computer monitors.
2007: We established our first annual theme this year, a Dr. Seuss theme ‘O the Places We Will Go.’ It was a great fit for the company that year because 2007 was a year of possibilities.
2008: The year the Great Recession begins. We had a successful first seven months of the year but by August the market was on high alert. By October customers were making cuts, decreasing hiring projections or freezing hiring altogether. This was also the year I started the Outside-In® Guy blog, perhaps the writing started as therapy for rough business times.
2009: This is the year I learned that I could do every job in the business. Why? Because I had to survive. It was a slow year, but good year. Nothing like a good recession to give a team a common enemy. We fought hard, grew again and made it all work. And this is the year I stopped wearing a suit and tie to work every day!
2010: We won the NCCCC Entrepreneur of the Year award this year. The same award my father won in the 80’s. We were proud to be the only Father/Son winners!
2011: We had an office fire and flood on Superbowl Sunday. This was a challenging time as the business faced many obstacles to stay open (spoiler alert, we did) and find any kind of normalcy for a few months. We did it, and we grew stronger through it. That is when I knew a business is done only when the leaders say it is!
2012: Placers comes back strong. CBI Group made the HRO Today Baker’s Dozen List, recognized as an Honorable Mention and Mid Market Leader, among 21 companies acknowledged through customer feedback.
2013: CBI Group, Placers and Barton Career Advisors announced a new partnership under our shared values-based culture, Outside-In®. The companies now work together under the Outside-In® brand as full service talent organization for career and outplacement services serving the national marketplace.
2014: This is the year of the bad Northeastern winter when no one could get to work. Few did much proactively with their companies. The first four months of the year were terrible for most businesses. We made the most of it and got back on track!
2015: We have grown 44% in the first half of the year and have all the nicks and dings to show for it. Growth is hard, but I continue to learn something new every day!