Yesterday we received a nice surprise from two Danish students conducting their masters thesis on American entrepreneurship. Koen Nijland and Kervin Krummendijk’s work has been on the basis of what drives American entrepreneurship and what kind of passion these entrepreneurs may possess. Thus, they began this journey by finding American business owners’ emails through Google and one day, they received a response from a professor out in California. Their persistence led them all the way to Memphis, TN, where they met our CEO, Jay Myers. One of the first things they became fond of while being in the south was hospitality. Part of their research includes sending out a thought-provoking survey about personal entrepreneurship. Within a week, they had more responses from southern business men and women than their whole stay in California.
As Mr. Myers told the grueling, yet successful, story of ISI, a few things stuck out. At the start ISI took a few hard hits, but we were able to stay afloat. We had two employees embezzle nearly $275,000 and a broken partnership on the horizon. Money had run out and a risk had to be made. Mr. Myers was able to earn a loan to help the doors stay open. He hired risk takers to take the company to the next level and in one of the worst economic downturns in America’s history, we over doubled our revenue. Koen and Kervin pointed out that in order to be successful you have to find partners and employees that have complementary personalities. Part of their survey gives feedback about the type of personality you have and the type that may be most complimentary to your own.
We further discussed how companies must develop a unique culture to allow their employees to find a sense of purpose. Here at ISI, we cultivate a familial relationship with our employees. We respect employees as people who have lives outside of the office, but we also expect a “hustle” mentality. Some people prefer a structured workplace, whereas ISI values self-motivated, driven, and entrepreneurial mindsets. We know the value of initiative. Many of our employees have been tenured. Jay stated this is partly due to the belief that if ISI takes care of its employees, than the employees will take care of ISI. Your company is only as great as the people in it.
Farewell to Koen and Kervin as you two journey on to Washington, D.C. The best of luck to you both!