Could you provide a brief recap of your career since graduating from Owen?
Straight out of Owen I started at Deloitte in healthcare valuation. I was there for three and a half years doing mostly financial modeling and consulting but got to do a lot of crossover work with strategy operations consulting. Then, I moved to a different group called Ankura Consulting Group. After being there for a year I made a move to one of my current roles with Health Peak which is a healthcare REIT. I’m doing financial analysis and modeling for them. At the same time, I started Sorbie Group. It was supposed to be a small side project and I quickly realized it was taking off and needed a name. It has grown to be Sorbie Group since my accidental business discovery.
What is your company and where did the idea come from? What served as the biggest motivator or influence in starting your company?
I did an internship while I was at Owen with a healthcare company that was brand new called Medalogix. I really enjoyed the entrepreneurial experience – it stuck with me. Even while I was at Deloitte and Ankura, I was trying to look for opportunities and pitch opportunities to partners. I thought we should find a way to do consulting for small businesses and get worked in with incubators and VC’s to be a resource for them to help them grow their portfolio companies. I was plenty busy, but it was something that interested me. When I stepped away from Ankura and was no longer under consulting non-compete agreements, I started it up as a side project to see what I could do. I started offering financial modeling consulting and writing business plans. It took off in a way that I had not expected. I saw that there was a very viable market for someone with an MBA and consulting background to provide business planning services and help entrepreneurs think through their operating strategy, branding strategy and help develop financial pro formas. Once I realized I didn’t need to roll it into anything else, I decided that Sorbie Group was my business and committed to it in a bigger way.
It was always in the back of my mind that I wanted to have something that was my own and to be in charge of getting to succeed. I wanted to make the decisions of what it would become and wake up to the potential of it everyday.
What is the most challenging thing about being an entrepreneur and how have you worked to overcome this challenge?
The biggest challenge has been managing the timing of it. As Sorbie Group has grown, especially since it still is a project on the side for me right now, my time has been pretty constrained in what I can commit to it. Hand in hand with that is trying to figure out how to balance the use of my time between the day to day execution of making the business plan versus taking the actions of helping it grow. Trying to balance the deployment of it in those two ways has been a challenge.
The way I’ve been able to solve it is by bringing on some really good interns that have helped. It’s good to have people who have additional hours that I can share some of the work with. I can really trust that they’re going to develop high quality deliverables and they’ve got a good framework I can rely on to help keep these things in development. I can turn more of my attention to the firm growth initiatives and trust that project execution is happening at a high level.
What qualities are most important to possess as an entrepreneur?
One that stuck with me from Medalogix and I’ve seen play out here at Sorbie Group is flexibility — that’s particularly around what the company is delivering. At Medalogix we went into it thinking we’re going to have a technology platform as a solution and quickly realized that a big part of what people actually needed to do was consulting — helping the healthcare companies figure out what their processes were and show them where the product would fit into a streamlined process. Being able to accommodate, change plans and add new products depending on where the market is going is key. In some ways it may end up looking different than the original plan but that flexibility is super important because so much of entrepreneurship is discovery. To have the flexibility to allow for that to reveal itself is very important.
What are you most proud of about your business?
I am most proud that I was flexible enough to jump on an opportunity once I saw one developing and saw there was a market. Even though going into it I thought this would be my side hustle startup, once I saw it was there I jumped on it and it has paid off well so far.
What advice do you have for students as they launch their business? Are there any tools you consistently use as an entrepreneur?
One thing that I’ve found very helpful and my interns have commented on that they’ve been pleasantly surprised by is that I was very thoughtful and deliberate about how I picked what tools we use to deliver what we do. There are tons of software solutions out there for everything but before committing to a free trial or subscription, I thought about the features I actually needed, how this would actually work and compared across how it is implemented in a team. We have good tools that work very well together in place. I think that’s helped allow people to come up to speed quickly on what we do. It’s been pretty straightforward and clear for people I’ve brought in. I attribute that to being slow and deliberate about what tools we were going to use and how.
All of our project work is organized in Asana. That’s our primary tool. It can be intuitive and adaptive to each person. It provides a clean way to make our projects and tasks organized and make it clear. It also helps keep communication out of our inboxes which I think is huge. We can comment on particular tasks and projects and keep discussions with the deliverables they’re related to rather than big email chains or even having to go off platform. Overall, it keeps communication lines clear.
What do you do to live a balanced life? Do you have any interesting or fun hobbies?
The nice thing about being in charge of the business is that I’ve been deliberate in the terms I’ve set for projects. As circumstances change, I can alter the terms but I work with clients who are willing to work with those terms. I know there are services that would do a business plan for cheaper and faster than we would but that ultimately means they’re having to make sacrifices elsewhere. I’ve set up our timelines in a way that allows it to be as accommodating as we can, and allows me to do this on a part time basis, while I have another job. This helps with not feeling too crunched on time.
One of my favorite hobbies over the past few years is to travel. Other than that, my main activity outside of my two jobs is time with my boys. They are my hobbies. As the weather has been turning nicer, getting outside with them is what I do in my free time.