Here at TestOut Continuing Education we've only been doing what we do (selling IT training solutions to working professionals) for a few years. We're under the umbrella of the larger TestOut Corporation, however, and TestOut has been a force for IT training and education for more than a quarter-century. TestOut was born on Nov. 11, 1991, so on Saturday the company will have completed its 26th year in operation.
It's been a bumpy ride in some respects. Earlier this year, TestOut founder and CEO Noel Vallejo was invited to share some thoughts about business longevity in Utah Valley Magazine and discussed aspects of the learning curve that all entrepreneurs must face. Noel said that learning to manage debt, learning to keep business ambitions in check, and learning to not split up top-level decision-making power were all important lessons.
On the other hand, every founder and owner has to rely on other people to realize his or her business vision. Noel said that TestOut got an important shot in the arm when he hired the company's former business manager, Doug Edwards, whose temperament and ideas served as an important counterbalance to Noel's own. (As any Star Trek captain could tell you, a good first officer is vital to success of operations.)
It's also important to have a supportive and understanding partner away from the office. No matter how dedicated you are to your work, nobody spends their entire life looking at balance sheets or meeting the product development team. Noel credits the patience and confidence of his wife with providing a safe haven away from work, as well as helping him stay focused during hard times.
Finally, Noel said that its important to work with good employees. In Noel's own words: "At some point, every entrepreneur will have to walk through fire. The fires are those difficult days at work when you don’t know whether you are going to survive. When you are surrounded by people who will lock arms and walk with you through the fire, it bonds you together. It’s amazing what you can accomplish when you are walking arm in arm."
Some of you out there will someday be business leaders in your own right. Even if your role is a little lower down the totem pole, however, there's valuable insight here for skilled IT professionals at every level. On the occasion of TestOut's 26th birthday, our gift to you is the lessons learned by our founder. Sometimes knowing how someone else succeeded provides just the encouragement and knowledge that you need to succeed yourself.