For those of you who have worked with us from the beginning, it is hard to believe 15 years have passed since our founding. In a way, it means we are “established.” Interestingly, when we have shared this milestone with newer clients and colleagues, their reactions are different. They initially assume we are a new startup and are surprised by our longevity; they think our business model is a fresh new idea. We are, perhaps, a contradiction, but we believe ourselves to be the best of both worlds.
In 2002, the idea of a virtual or networked business was novel. Few companies had tried it—let alone had succeeded at it. Most who succeeded moved on to more traditional brick-and-mortar or employee-based models. But we have maintained our commitment to fostering a strong network of independent experts who have proven to be a potent asset for our clients. In a very meaningful sense, we have become “experts on experts.”
Our results in the last three years are strong evidence that our commitment is paying off. Our Expert Network has tripled from about 250 to nearly 800 professionals worldwide. Our revenues have more than doubled. Most of this growth comes from clients “walking in the door.” Today, past clients calling us back, new clients who heard about us from someone else, and referrals from elite private-equity and strategy firms make up the majority of our business. This phenomenon makes us more committed than ever.
What makes this possible are the long-lasting relationships we have with you. People enter and depart our dynamic network constantly. But these relationships last throughout our professional lives. Our colleagues become clients, and our clients become colleagues, and throughout this cycle, we remain trusted friends. Here are three connections with alumni that happened this morning while writing this Founders’ Forum:
An alumnus from 2006-2010 is currently an industrial CFO in Australia and called to have dinner while visiting Pittsburgh.
- An alumnus from 2011-2014 called to tell us that he took a new VP of Procurement role at a national gaming company and will probably need our help in the near future.
- Exchanged texts with an alumna from 2007-2014 on her birthday.
- This kind of constant contact happens every day and continues to fuel our growth and sense of community.
Thank you for making these last fifteen years the most rewarding and gratifying of our careers. We look forward to working and building friendships with all of you well beyond the next fifteen.