Tuesday, September 17, 2013

The Entrepreneurial Story of Kansas City’s Solomon Consulting Group

Anyone can be an entrepreneur: File some paperwork, pay for office space and embrace the culture of a startup. But the problem with this simplistic mentality is that there is a big difference between “being” and entrepreneur and actually being and entrepreneur.

The difference is doing things. Here at Think Big, we love companies that are doing real things. One company that is making a name for itself here in Kansas City is Solomon Consulting Group. Solomon Consulting group was just named #3 in Inc. Magazine’s fastest growing companies in Kansas City. To learn more about Solomon Consulting Group’s story, we connected with President and Founder of the organization, Grant Gordon.

Can you tell us about Solomon Consulting Group's beginnings? How did it all start? Do you consider yourself a startup?

Yes, I consider us a startup and entrepreneurial company as we blossomed from really nothing to now almost a team of 30. We are adding jobs and providing opportunities for people each month. I started this firm to focus on the niche area of business intelligence back in 2008, however, it was playing second fiddle as I was wrapping up the sale of Intronic Solutions to Premier Alliance, and didn’t spend much time growing the business. After my 2 year contract at Premier was winding down, I jumped in with both feet and joined Karen Blue and Darci Crow at Solomon and now we are making our mark!

What is your take on life as entrepreneur, specifically as an entrepreneur in Kansas City?

It’s fun, it’s challenging, but I couldn’t ask for a better city to be in to grow a business. I have so many caring people around this town. The toughest part ironically is staying focused in KC. As this is a “small” town, when you have some success, you consistently get requests for coffee, lunches and happy hours to meet with people who want to pitch ideas and talk partnerships. Most have brilliant ideas…but you have to stick to your core competency otherwise your time gets away from you…and time is a resource I can’t get back.

What challenges have you faced with Solomon?

The biggest challenge is typically the ebb and flow of our business. The highs are fantastic – the lows stink! You have to be able to remain level headed through each to see consistently improving results. The biggest challenge is to remember that my “Chapter 2” might be my competition’s “Chapter 12”. You have to challenge yourself – not look around and try compete with others.

What surprises, good or bad, have you encountered given your location?

We are based in South Overland Park. Some would consider us closer to Tulsa than to downtown. I think that we may look to add an office downtown in the future as the startup community is hopping and making the old areas new again! It’s fun to see the growth and the potential of downtown and its surrounding areas – and we need to be in the middle of that!

What advice would you like to pass along to current startups on growth and handling that growth?

Create budgets – stick to budgets – watch your cash flow daily. Grad school never taught me that “too much business can be as damning as no business” if it’s not handled properly. If you are growing faster than you expected, make sure you communicate issues and challenges with your banks, your investors, your clients and your family!

What does it take to become one of Inc. 500?

It’s a fantastic honor to be on the list with amazing firms across our area and the country. To make the list as Kansas’ 3rd fastest growing company was a bit of shock – but testament to Karen and Darci doing an amazing job growing this firm over the last couple of years.

What does such a big accomplishment mean for the company?

Like any achievement, it makes you work harder, not less. We want to make the list again and again…which means we have to grow. I ask everyone to make progress each day in one facet of the business or another. If we all take at least one step forward each day, we will get to the goals we have set ourselves.

What does the future hold for Solomon Consulting Group?

Our collective goal is to expand nationwide with offices in several cities. We want to grow to a firm with over 100 consultants in the next 5 years. We love what we do, and have a ton of fun doing it. Keeping that culture and making this a firm that people want to work for (and clients want to work with) is the main goal for us.

With such a great beginning, one can only anticipate where Solomon Consulting Group will go next. We want to thank Grant for taking time out of his extremely busy schedule to sit down and talk about his entrepreneurial Kansas City business. As any entrepreneur doing things knows, that’s no easy task.

Keep an eye on Solomon Consulting group by following them on Twitter!

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