There’s nothing like launching and running your own business.
It starts with an idea. Excitement builds as that idea morphs into a passion. Reality sets in after a game plan takes shape and the financing falls into place. Flashes of concern (not fear, there’s no time for that!) appear at times because you know the risks — and the odds against success.
Once the first clients say “yes,” there’s no going back. Doubts about the viability of your business give way to concern for the people you hire who take a chance on you. It helps tremendously if you take the leap with a business partner who brings complementary skills to the table.
This month’s cover story on Quality Assembly & Logistics, a Marinette manufacturer of medical equipment, is a success story of two people with complementary skills and knowledge — but completely different backgrounds.
Sara Meyerhofer, CEO, brings years of experience as a registered nurse with a depth of knowledge in compliance requirements for medical equipment. Her husband, Guy Meyerhofer, serves as president and brings years of experience in finance, administration, operations and management in manufacturing. The couple bought an existing company in 2009, expanded with the purchase of a line of medical devices in 2011, and now the company brings in $10 million annually. They are working on a succession plan; they hope to hire a general manager and retire within the next three to five years.
Complementary skills and experiences brought Brian Rasmussen and me together when we took a leap of faith 10 years ago to launch Insight. I knew journalism, he knew media advertising. And now, we’ve begun our succession plan, too.
We did not start with an “end game,” as Amy Pietsch of the Venture Center at Fox Valley Technical College, a member of our editorial advisory board, advised we do. End game? We were just aiming for the end zone, and a whole lot of touchdowns with Insight and Insight on Manufacturing magazine. Soon we were making extra points by adding events and specialty publications.
We are proud to say business has been very good the last few years. When we began to envision a future for Insight Publications, Brian and I came to realize that while each of us have held fast to the same vision for Insight, our personal goals were different. As a result, I recently decided to sell my shares of the company to Brian. He is fully prepared to take the company into the future — and I look forward to seeing him take the company further than ever.
To ensure a smooth transition, I’ll be staying through the end of June. After retiring from Insight, I plan to serve as a member of the editorial advisory board, continuing to connect people across the New North region to this strong brand we’ve built. I also plan to stay connected with community endeavors, including New North Inc., and I hope to have the opportunity to give back to this regional community that has been so good to us.
We’ve got a lot of exciting projects coming up this spring. We’ll host InDevelopment, our annual event for economic and commercial developers, March 13 at the Lambeau Field Atrium (see Connections, page 17). In April, we’ll observe the 10th anniversary of Insight with a redesign of our monthly magazine. On May 10, we’ll host our annual THINC! event at the University of Wisconsin-Fox Valley, announcing the winners of the Insight Innovation Awards. Then in June, we plan to celebrate Insight’s anniversary with a special event.
As Brian and I each look ahead, I can’t help but think of the Timbuk3 song by Sturgeon Bay’s pat mAcdonald, “The Future’s so Bright, I Gotta Wear Shades.”
Meanwhile, the next several months will be busy around here. If you’ve got ideas to share, shoot me an email or give me a call.
I look forward to hearing from you!