“Time… by far”, he said. “Gaining the knowledge to run a business takes time and we quickly realized if we wanted to expand our business we had to learn a lot. Getting our business up and running was made easier by talking to other business owners and meeting with our local Small Business Development Center to get a business plan. Gaining experience is key to growth and it took a lot of time to get our experience.”
He continued, “Spending, on average, 50-60 hours per week working has become the norm. Family and friends have to understand that we have to shift our time and focus on the business and that can be difficult.”
“Giving up my hobby of disk golf on the weekends has had a big impact on my overall relationship with my friends”, he admitted. “Thankfully, they understand my goals of growing Caprock Custom Applications”.
We are about halfway through 2018. Where do you see Caprock Custom Applications in 2019?
“I see us focusing on consistent work within the private sector and the public sector. Aiming for stability has been our goal and we know that if we want to grow then we’ll have to create predictability. Diversifying our portfolio and expanding into new horizons is something that we’ll have to do in order to gain the trust of professionals that need the services we offer. That will be the key.”
Now that we know where you see Caprock Custom Applications in 2019… how will you use the remainder of 2018 in the means of getting there?
“Great question, Our business plan going into 2018 is chasing private bids, capitalizing on networking, and getting better on competing for government bids,“ Nat explained. “We are constantly evolving in the way we handle our business processes and finding more efficient ways of getting our work done”.
What are the biggest lessons you have learned in the previous years?
“Really the biggest thing we have learned in 2017 is understanding better ways of pricing our work. Taking pride in our work and not undervaluing our time has been an important realization for everyone” he said.
“The accuracy of our estimated timelines and costs is getting better and better over time… sometimes biting the bullet on sunk cost has only made us more conscious of the time and energy spent going in on a particular project”.
“Other than that, I’d say stressing the importance of professional relationships and understanding the value of networking has also been a huge lesson learned.”
What are some of the things you wish Caprock Custom Applications did in 2017?
“Something we have all learned is the importance of nailing down operational structure and sticking to it. We wish we would have emphasized the importance of using our Project Management Software, JIRA to achieve an effective operational structure… Really just using it to see who is responsible for what. It can all be a mess at times” he said.
“We’ve also noticed a growing interest in the products that we have made internally, such as Lightning Import (a software used by the SEMA data co-op to pull information on vehicle parts such as mufflers, steering wheels, etc.). Investing time into Lightning Import would have been well worth it if users wanted to utilize the software.”
“Last but not least, hiring high quality developers. It’s tough to find qualified developers here in Lubbock, TX. We wish we would have spent more time on seeking great software developers”.
What does it mean to you to reinvest back into Caprock Custom Applications, instead of taking the profits for yourself?
Nat answer, “Well it would be naïve of a business owner if they believed they could start a business to get fast money.” He went on, “I think somewhere five years down the road I could see myself receiving more compensation, but for right now I know it’s essential to reinvest in Caprock.”
“Mike, Ethan, and I haven’t had to finance anything through loans from the bank and we’re very proud of running a debt free business. Self-funding a start-up is tough. There’s no doubt about it. The guys, and myself included, have missed paychecks due to hard times. It’s been important to balance growing the business and being able to pay the bills. It’s just unrealistic to expect a quick payday from a young business”.