September 1, 2022, will mark the official formation of my first company, Lexiter Technologies, with the corporation seal showing September 1, 2002. The journey has been nothing short of adventurous. When you begin the early stages of thinking about starting a company, you read statistically, 20% of businesses fail in the first year. Of the remaining who make it, 50% fail within the next five years. A total of 70% of companies will fail within five years. The odds are against you.
So why even take on the endeavor? Why NOT? If it were easy, everyone would do it. You have to like a challenge and be ready for anything. School can provide a foundation of knowledge, but it cannot prepare you for reality.
I wrote an article this past May about venturing out on my own as an independent contractor. A little taste of what I could do went a long way. So let’s start the adventure and timelines of my 20 years in business.
I founded Lexiter Technologies, Inc. on September 1, 2002. The name comprised of my two children, Lexi and Tanner = Lexiter. We were a year post 9/11 and I set out to be a reliable partner to our clients. We wanted to make working with an IT company easy. Like most IT companies back then, we dabbled in everything; Microsoft, Cisco, Barracuda, Dell, and anyone who came knocking on our door to be a partner.
Lexiter was fortunate enough to work for a large local high school to move from its old building into a brand new facility. Other local and national schools carefully watched us for the innovative (at the time) one-to-one laptop program. It was a success, and we found ourselves speaking at national conventions about what we had accomplished.
In 2005, I sold Lexitar to a local business. I retained the FEIN Tax ID and was allowed to form a new company, Dalechek Enterprises, Inc. I remained on as the manager of Lexiter Technologies but was never really allowed to run it. The company that bought Lexiter was sold in 2007, allowing me to return to being an independent contractor.
In the years that followed, from 2007 – 2013, I remained in St. Louis with various “core” clients as an independent contractor. I always put the client first, and my reputation followed, allowing me to continue working with my core clients. I also gained references for new opportunities. I had no desire to hire employees again.
In 2011, I was referred to a client in St. Louis to begin work on a Microsoft Exchange migration project. As that project took off and the client was pleased, they asked me to do several more projects. I did not have all the skillsets and began hiring engineers that did in 2013. As the project started to grow, more employees were hired, and a support staff was in place. This was the start of Dalechek Technology Group.
As I approach 20 years in business, I have some takeaways for people looking to start their own businesses.
- Value people. From your employees to your clients, value people. Listen to them. Understand WHY you are in business in the first place. If it is solely to make money, you have no business being in business.
- Passion for what you do. You will be doing a lot of it, so you better want to get up in the morning. Most days (weekends and evenings) will not go according to plan.
- Tenacious with a focus. Not everyone can see the trees through the forest. You must have a laser-focused intent and break down barriers. If you give up, so does the business.
Life is about timing. I appreciate the people who have helped guide me on this journey. And it is a journey. There is no destination. Once you reach your perceived destination, you will begin a new journey. I never had a goal to reach 20 years in business, so the journey continues.
My personal and sincerest thank you to everyone who has participated in the journey and those yet not discovered. So many people have touched my life in the past 20 years and help mold me into what I am today. It is what keeps me going.