I turned off the light and refused to look back into the dark, empty office I spent thousands of hours in over the past 10 years. There were several reasons I closed the door gently and quietly walked out with two of my longest tenured employees. It was surreal, and I felt a mix of emotions including sadness, pride, excitement and apprehension, but I felt no regret leaving the DC Chamber of Commerce. There was no looking back because after 13 years and two locations at the organization. I was ready for my next challenge.
I admit I did shed some tears on my ride home that Friday evening, but I was extremely excited to begin my role as managing principal and CEO of Lang Strategies. I would no longer be accountable to a board of directors, no longer out almost every evening during the week and weekend at events, no longer leading a larger staff of people and now knowing that my name was on this new business and I was responsible for its success or failure. This was not something I just thought of on a whim, and my transition had started long before I left the DC Chamber. As the tears dried up, I was eager to begin my new career as a female business owner.
Lang Strategies would become a labor of love for me, and it was exhilarating to start the firm and then build on it, learning from challenges presented along the way and investing nearly 20 hours a day to ensure we had a model that would sustain itself for years. Many small businesses don’t even last a year, miscalculating strategies that ultimately lead to their demise, both in reputation and financially. We knew we wouldn’t always make the right decisions, but we built a team of experts that would serve the needs of clients and partner with them tirelessly to provide value and change. We have always prided ourselves as an extension of our clients and while we always need revenue to remain a viable business, this was more than money, it was about relationships.
We have now been in business for nearly five years, and it has been an exercise in persistence, resilience and patience. Many times, prospective clients take many months to decide on utilizing our services or may tweak and retune what they need from us on a daily basis. This is an investment for them and they need to make sure they are leveraging our work in the most effective way possible, and we are here to guide them, but sometimes the wait can be long. But there is nothing more rewarding than when they sign on the dotted line and we get to work. On the other hand, there are times when they choose another direction, and that can be disappointing but is part of the process. We learn from it and we move on and make ourselves better.
Creating Lang Strategies and serving the Washington, DC community and beyond is one of the best professional decisions I have ever made. With the right resources, thought and strategy, I would encourage anyone with the entrepreneurial spirit to take the plunge. There is a lot of sweat equity, lack of sleep and calling the office your home away from home, but it is as rewarding as anything you could ever experience professionally. It’s vital to embrace change and evolve, and we have certainly updated and changed our services to meet the needs of clients yet remain true to our areas of expertise. We are proud of our growth and that we have built trust with our clients. There’s no turning back and my office lights are almost always on. Let’s do business together.