August 2021 is a big month for us at 5P Consulting. 5 years ago I took a risk and started the firm in the middle of a very stressful time in my life. The foundational idea I had was to create a firm people loved working for and clients loved working with.
When I created 5P Consulting I had a vision for a firm that wasn’t just focused on revenue but value, unlike the firms I came from in the past. I wanted every client engagement to have a return on investment and the company feel to focus on customer experience, employee happiness, and efficiency.
I can happily say 5 years in we’ve achieved this. The vision I had still rings true today.
Over the past 5 years, we have serviced many clients across multiple industries and geographies. We took on five non-profits to service as an investment to the community and gave free time, raised money, and provided free IT equipment to help them run more efficiently as a business.
Three and half years in we hit a global pandemic. Nothing I would have ever thought I’d see in my business lifetime. I underestimated the economic and cultural impact this would have on 5P and the negative side has been a long road of recovering from that impact, but we are doing it. The most positive result was the sacrifices everyone on the team made to keep 5P going which in turn has resulted in a tighter culture than I could have imagined.
People often ask me…’What drives you?’ Two simple things . . . My sons and my team. For everything I do, I think in my head, ‘How can this make a better life for my kids or team members?’ and move forward with decisions with that in mind
For my boys, I want them to see that hard work can give them the lifestyle they want. For me it’s being more present in my boy’s lives by creating a schedule that I can be there for them instead of in an office 8-10 hours a day or traveling around the globe. I don’t want to miss anything as they are 18 and 13 and growing up in the blink of an eye.
For my team, I want them to have the same ability I have of being present for their loved ones and working in an environment where they enjoy what they do. They have the ability to work with people they trust and love, and the freedom to grow their skills.
Our 5 years have brought many highlights, challenges, and learnings. It’s a great reminder of where we came from and where we want to go as a company.
5 Year Highlights:
- Building a global organization of over 40 individuals.
- Redesigning the business to create additional client value in the midst of a pandemic to recession-proof us.
- Evolving our services to ensure we are making the biggest impact with data, not just tech.
- Developing managing partners that have the autonomy to change how we operate the business and deliver to clients – It’s not all about me, I want a legacy that is employee-owned in the future.
- Bringing comprehensive benefits and PTO package so our employees feel valued.
- Having fun doing team-building experiences together as a team.
- Watching many of my team members buy homes.
5 Year Challenges:
- Business development has always been our top challenge. We’ve had to learn how to sell which is uncomfortable for many of us (including me) and continuing the cadence of this while delivering client engagements. We’ve never had a sales team.
- The ups and down of cash flow. Let me just say as an entrepreneur this is not for the faint of heart. There are many things you can’t control even though you push forward with plans.
- Quickly making decisions and executing those activities fast. This is the nature of a growing firm. You can’t just sit on ideas, you have to execute and you have to execute as a team to make a broader impact.
- Ensuring our business (5P) has the operational excellence in place we bring forward for our clients. We often spend so much time working on our clients’ business it’s been hard over the years to ensure we have built that into ours without burning the team out.
5 Year Learnings:
- Communicate often and intentionally. Communication should balance between the positive and the negative which builds trust and a culture that works through things together.
- Always deliver value to your clients, not just services. Have an ROI for them.
- Treat your team like family and provide them the freedom to make decisions and learn from their mistakes. Use the mantra . . . ask for forgiveness, not permission.
- Always listen first and talk second reiterating what you’ve heard and how you can help.
- Have a yearly forecast model and delivery metrics but be agile on how you deliver and pivot quickly.
- Manage your time well; Add chunks of time to get things done vs. meeting time so you can focus better.
- Take a vacation/vacations throughout the year where you have your laptop closed and no meetings scheduled. A refreshed sense of mind goes a long way with how you show up at work and bring happiness to your clients and team.
- Ensure you have cash flow mechanisms in place to help fill holes for late client billings and downtimes.
- Know you aren’t going to be great at everything and there will be ups and downs. It’s how you get back up when you fail and it’s how you celebrate and spend money when you are doing well. Always manage risk and plan to invest in your business at the same time.
When I left my corporate career at 20 years in and decided to be an entrepreneur I realized there would be a lot of things I had to let go of. While a vision of a multi-year plan is great, I’ve learned that is not always feasible, instead, it’s about being flexible and agile.
I am super grateful for our firm, our team, and our clients. Even when I’m frustrated (Yes it happens!! LOL) there isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t appreciate what we’ve built at 5P and look forward to our future success.
In the next five years, I really hope our organization continues to organically grow.
I hope we continue having fun together. I hope for the continued growth of each person’s career so they feel accomplished. I hope we are all still together as a team. And finally, that we evolve to employee ownership.
Happy 5 Year anniversary 5P Consulting!
Y’vonne Ormond – Founder/CEO