The year 2018 had been a fabulous growth year for Optimum. I was so busy I didn’t have time for anything. So when Cogent called me, and asked for 15 minutes, I quickly said, thanks but no thanks. As the year came to a close, It really sunk in as to how much more responsibility came with that growth. I realized I really needed much more structure for the company to sustain. I wasn’t sure what I was going to do but I knew something had to change.
On Monday the 4th of March, a very nice young lady named Karen called me from Cogent and asked if I could give her 15 minutes to discuss ways to improve, structure or streamline our company. Those weren’t her exact words, but something in me just clicked . She said Bill Shapcott could come to my office the next day. I agreed, thinking I may just be able to pick his brain. Bill arrived the next day and met with me. I was very interested in what he had to say, but I would not make any decision like this without talking with my partner, Rowdy (aka husband). He wasn’t coming back until the next morning. Bill said that’s fine, I can return tomorrow. He did. Although we had no idea how in the world we would ever be able to pay for this consulting, we agreed to have an associate come spend a few days with us.
The following Monday, Merlin arrived. WOW! In 4 days I felt like I had a tornado come through but in a good way. He pointed out different ideas and plans that I had never even thought about. When we all met at the end of that week, we knew we had to figure out how to do this.
So after much late night discussion, we were set with a Business Analyst to arrive the following Tuesday. And that guy was Chuck Blume. He came in quietly, and began to assess our situation. It seemed like we met for hours, days upon days. I was taking a condensed 101 MBA class. At the end of each day, I was tired, but felt new knowledge and power. Running a business is definitely not for sissies. I felt like a new responsibility was being placed on me but I would know how to deal with it all before Chuck left us.
We had many challenges along the way … from push back from the Staff (we expected that), to my Assistant of 10 years leaving, and many other situations as well. Chuck never wavered. I always knew we would come through the other side. Our personalities were a good fit. He was a great Quarterback!!
This couple of months has changed my life, both personally and professionally. I know I will use this knowledge for the rest of my career. I appreciate the opportunity and growth Cogent has afforded me. Optimum will be a much stronger company, our Team will be much stronger for it and I look forward to keeping Cogent aware of our continued successes in the future.
D. Madden Barnes