Mexia was founded in 2008 with a vision to provide specialist architectural & technical consulting services in enterprise integration, with a laser-focus on Microsoft BizTalk Server and Windows Server AppFabric. Obviously that focus has now extended to include the fantastic new capabilities of the Azure AppFabric Middleware Services, but as a business we are still committed to excellence in purely system integration and business process automation.
However being good at technology and being good in business are two very different beasts, and after starting in 2008 it took me a while to realise that I would need some help on the business side of things.
In early 2009 I was introduced to iLab in Toowong, Queensland, which is a Queensland State Government-funded business incubator that “…turns technology start-ups into successful global ventures”.
In exchange for an extremely modest monthly fee with no long-tem obligations, I was introduced to the exciting, challenging, potentially complex world of entrepreneurialism.
iLab has several fantastic good things going for it: CEO briefings, networking, introductions to solicitors & accountants, sales training, cheap co-location office space etc etc. But by far and away the best thing that iLab offered me was the once-a-month Mentor Meetings with a panel of successful entrepreneurs who volunteer their time to help the next generation of young guns to come up through the ranks.
When Mexia joined iLab I had a mentor panel hand-picked for me, with their real world experience being evaluated against the range of experience & skills that I would be needing access to. This service alone was worth it’s weight in gold.
The Mentor Meetings are run every month like a real Board Meeting where, apart from grilling me on financial performance, strategy, market positioning, HR strategy etc, they teach you how to walk & talk like a grown-up company.
I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again until I’m blue in the face – if you’re new to business get yourself some mentors!
Mexia has been part of the iLab incubator program now for 2.5 years, and as a business I don’t know where we’d be without them. They’ve nurtured and supported me whilst I went through the journey from complete novice to (mostly)competent businessman, and have ensured that Mexia now has the strategic & operational foundations from which we will surely grow & succeed in the marketplace.
Since 2008 Mexia has grown from just me and a laptop, to having:
7 full-time staff (and counting)
clients in almost every state in Australia
an amazing business partner (Mathew Coleman)
a formal Board of Directors, and
a crystal clear vision of who we are, what we do, and where we’re going.
However, as in life all good things must come to an end, and we’ve decided it’s time for Mexia to ‘graduate’ from iLab and move out into the real world. We’ve grown up, and just like our kids, we need to move out of home.
So yesterday I had my final iLab Mentor Meeting, and as usual it was an intense, challenging, rewarding and fulfilling experience.
If it wasn’t for these guys sitting around the table Mexia would not be the quickly-growing company that it is today.
From left to right around the table:
Calvin Treacy (and the Chairman of Mexia’s new Board of Directors)
Mathew Coleman (my new business partner & Mexia’s National Projects Director)
NB: I’d also like to say a special thanks to Colin Kinner, Anne-Marie Birkill, Peter Allison, Michael Good and Helen Vince for for their respective roles in Mexia’s time at iLab.
Just like you can’t tell someone what it’s like to have kids until you’ve had them, you can’t tell someone what it’s like to start & grow a business until you’ve lived through the emotional stress-coaster yourself. These guys “get it”, and we have a bond forged through a shared appreciation of having to make payroll every fortnight with never enough money in the bank
So this post is an indulgent THANK YOU from me to my iLab Mentor Panel. It’s been a privilege to have you all pick apart my (our) business every month. I feel sad today for the end of this fabulous process, but I also feel so incredibly proud!