There’s something about the term entrepreneur that conjures an image of a single person with an idea fighting against the odds to make it a reality. It’s late nights working alone in a garage to get out from the second mortgage that’s funding those first crucial steps at a time when few have faith in the person’s ability to succeed. But there’s another side to entrepreneurial success: relationships.
Relationships are, in many cases, critical to an entrepreneur’s success. It can be a colleague willing to take the leap and help start a company, a funder who sees something others in the venture community don’t, or an established businessperson who sees the potential and mentors the entrepreneur through those early challenges.
For Mark Goldfarb, the subject of this month’s cover story, relationships have been essential to his success. It was through relationships that he was connected to the person who would help him start his accounting firm, SS&G, that made him the obvious choice to head a nonprofit, and that helped land him a spot on Charles Schwab’s board of directors. And it was through building relationships and connecting clients and service providers together that helped his company succeed, and form decades-long friendships in the process.
Also in this month’s edition are the stories of the honorees of the Entrepreneur of the Year® 2018 East Central awards. These are the stories of people who took risks, who took on projects few thought could be successful, and who saw possibilities where others saw none. And it’s more than vision, its perseverance. Having an idea is a good start, but seeing it through takes discipline and the ability to get back up after being knocked down.
Entrepreneurialism is also about finding your path to success. In Goldfarb’s case, he envisioned a different approach to accounting, one not centered on number crunching, but on deeper dives into the whole business — a consultatory approach. Not seeing that model in practice, he decided he’d create the firm that he wanted to work at.
In this issue, we celebrate entrepreneurialism and recognize the success that hard work, and often teamwork, produces.
Adam Burroughs is interested in the people and businesses making a difference in Akron/Canton.