Staying True to Your Vision in Entrepreneurship
More than half of Americans work for or own a small business—and close to 67 percent of new jobs in the U.S. are created by small businesses each year. The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) recognizes the importance of American entrepreneurs, business owners and employees each year during National Small Business Week (NSBW). SBA has highlighted the critical nature of these organizations every year since 1963. At Matlock & Associates, we are proud of our status as a U.S. Economically Disadvantaged Woman-Owned Small Business.
Our history and our values encourage us every day to work toward our mission—providing a safe and secure environment for our passionate customers, serving as the foundation for positive impact locally and abroad. This NSBW, we are looking back at our first days as a business and what we have learned since.
History of a Small Business—And Family
Small business and family are part of our tradition. Our president’s grandfather was a Nebraskan farmer who put himself through engineering school, while raising a family and working full time. He eventually began a business, Challenger Electric. This company would eventually be purchased by Westinghouse, now GE. Her other grandfather, a World War II veteran, returned to school at 75 years old. He went on to become Matlock’s first accountant.
Stories like these—ones of family members overcoming every hurdle put in their way, of innovation—all of this, along with an intense longing to have a positive impact and a fascination with entrepreneurship, led Joelle Sedlacek to found Matlock. Her brother, U.S. veteran John Matlock, joined her in the endeavor.
The first months included countless late nights and early mornings. Both founders were working two jobs while launching the Matlock dream. The company’s first award was a $15,000 procurement—the two framed the award and haven’t slowed down since.
Joelle and John believe that each person has a responsibility to think beyond individual business concerns and consider how he or she can help advance the broader interests of communities in need abroad and domestically. This mentality has shaped Matlock’s entire business plan. From cybersecurity expertise to projects in weak and politically unstable countries, the company has one goal—to always have a positive impact.
Advice for Entrepreneurs
Matlock has faced numerous hurdles—ones Joelle, John and the Matlock team were ready to overcome. Matlock now has offices, projects or people in more than 40 countries, and is working to make a positive difference, every day.
We have learned a lot along the way. Our advice for entrepreneurs is to remember: you are as capable as you believe you are–and are only limited by the limitations you give yourself. Stay humble with an open mind and never lose focus of what is most important to you. Success isn’t black and white. It is comprised of millions of choices, spread out over weeks and years.
We know starting a small business is difficult, with innumerable challenges that need to be overcome. There will be setbacks. There will be disappointments. However, we believe that through hard work and maintaining a sole focus on your mission, anything is possible.