An Entrepreneur’s Dreams

Craig Aronoff

Paul Spiegelman started a business in 1985 with his two brothers.  Called Beryl, the business is a call center that caters to hospitals. The company now has 350 employees and $35 million in revenues.  One brother passed away and the other went on the other entrepreneurial ventures.  Unlike most players in his industry, Paul told the New York Times that his business had developed a “great internal culture” with client retention and employee retention rates unheard of in the industry.  This culture allowed the company to provide greater value to clients, build profitability to six times industry averages,  and thus, invest in further improving the business.

Spiegelman, now 53 and financially secure, first decided to accept an investment from a private equity firm, and then walked away from the deal.   He realized that the investors expected to get a return on their investment in four to six years and that going down that road would have a negative impact on the company’s culture.  He realized that he could continue to grow the business using cash flow, and for the first time, some bank debt.

Many entrepreneurs dream of starting a business, growing a business and realizing a big pay day by selling the business.  Others dream of creating a unique organizational culture that provides on-going growth and value into a indefinite future.  Spiegelman now has new dreams.  He is looking at the possibility of a employee stock ownership plan, but also told the Times, “I never thought this was a company my children, who are 5 and 9, could run.  But now sometimes I think, maybe they could.”

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