Some Things Haven’t Changed…Some Have.
It is good to be back in a setting and in a business that I understand! It’s also really exciting to again be part of an entrepreneurial, privately owned business. After 23 years in the rubber extrusion business, I took 4 years to scratch some itches that I knew if I didn’t, I would regret not doing so at some point in my life. In spite of the fact that scratching those itches were not very financially benificial for me and my family…I’m glad I did it. I’ll have less regrets, and I have a much better perspective on business, life, and what authentic friendship really is, and how they should all relate to each other.
A lot of things have stayed the same . I come in to work to the smell of rubber…it still smells the same after all these years. The extruders, splicers, molding machines are the same. I’ve run into old friends and familiar faces in every area of my business…from suppliers, to extruder operators, and thankfully customers! One lady I recently ran into did a double take and said, “SPIKE! Is that you? You sure have changed.” I tried to justify the change to 15 years and 4 kids…but I know the truth is I need to go on a diet!
So I’ve changed in more ways than one. Mostly good…some not so good. It seems another thing that has gotten bigger is the size of many of the suppliers and customers. There has been a significant shift to consolidation and globalization. In fact, I was a part of it when my family decided to sell EPG to Trelleborg. and I now see it with suppliers and customers alike. There are clearly many advantages to scale and size, and there are also inherent and potential disadvantages. The same is true for a small and growing privately held business.
With the perspective I now have, I’m really glad that I am part of the latter…building a small and growing entrepreneurial business. It’s going to be tough…but I am ready to take on the challenges, and I like the personal relationships with the wide range of people from shop floor employees, customers and other owners. I think that we will see a reversal and more start ups over the next several decades for the same reasons.
Time will tell, and clearly more changes are coming. I’m pretty sure rubber will always smell like rubber, and I’m hoping that I’ll thin out with age! I know for sure that I’m excited to get up every morning to build my company, my team, and to serve my customers. It’s personal, and with my name on the sign…that will never change.