Sometimes, business owners need to change their entire lives to make sure being a business owner will work for them — and sometimes, the timing is just right.
Michael Parnell found himself in the latter category. He was doing well — working for a large general contracting and construction management company on high-profile projects — but with the long hours on top of a two-hour commute each way, he was no longer sure this was what his future held. After his son was born in 2012, he decided it was time for a change.
“I decided that this wasn’t what I wanted to do long-term. I wanted to be around more — as well as just have a better quality of life. So I looked to take a gamble and started my own business.”
To his pride, his new construction management company, MP Consulting Services, LLC, took off. MP Consulting has such a reliable customer base, he doesn’t even need to advertise (at all!).
“I’ve always reminded myself that one of the main reasons why I got into being an entrepreneur and having my own company was to have that availability of time and work life balance.”
“We’re a very client-focused company, which lends itself to our ability to grow. All of our clients become our biggest fans. 99.9% of our work is repeat business or referrals from our clients.”
While Michael started his business so he could be around his family more, he also loves the sheer variety of work and getting to flex different muscles.
“Every single project is different. Every office is different, every house is different. Literally every project is different. So that constant change of pace, and challenge of building something new every time is great. It’s one of the best parts about our work,” he said. “We’ve built some really unique homes, medical offices, restaurants, higher education laboratories, regular office space, manufacturing projects, you name it. Literally I think we’ve touched nearly every market in our six year history. It’s pretty cool. It keeps you on your toes, and you’re always dealing with something new and fresh.”
With business booming, it’s no surprise that he was able to avoid major forms of financing for a long time. When he first started, he took out a small personal loan to help get things off the ground. However, while he was able to use that money to grow into a healthy business that was well-positioned to grow, he found himself constricted by an issue many business owners face: cash flow.
“That was always the hurdle and fear — do I have enough cash flow to grow as much as I’m allowed to grow? Winning projects wasn’t necessarily a challenge. It was feeding the machine to be able to fund the projects until the cash started coming in from them. That was the biggest challenge, and it always is.”
“I looked at different business lending sites and started researching their reviews. Funding Circle seemed to have the best overall rating in all the categories, really — customer service, approval rating, rates, and so on.”
Determined to not let this challenge dictate his future, he began investigating financing options, and found Funding Circle. Within a week, he had over $300,000 in his account, which he used to free up his cash flow.
“Now I can make decisions based on strategy, not fear of failure,” he said. “It’s been fantastic, it really has. Now we can just focus on the best projects and hiring the right people, not worrying whether one month or two month issues will impact us. We can just run the business how we should be running the business.”
In addition to this newfound freedom, the loan has also allowed him to make strategic decisions for future growth — including hiring for much-needed roles.
“We hired an admin, which was a position I’ve been holding off on forever because it’s a straight overhead position,” he said. “You’re not billing clients for an admin. So that role was key for me because I was personally doing a lot of that admin stuff. It was taking away from my time, my ability to do quality control, work on bids, estimates, meet with potential and current clients. So that’s been able to free up a lot of that time, which will inevitably grow our business from the sales time and allow us to run better.”
As for his home life, his late nights and long commutes are long gone. “We have dinner every night as a family. I’m not working 15 hour days. Thanks to the loan from Funding Circle, I have the breathing room I need.”
Between being able to make the right hires and having the cash flow readily available to accept more projects, Michael finds himself optimistic toward the continued growth of his business. He has reason to, as 2018 marks MP Consulting’s third consecutive year on the Inc. 5000, a list recognizing America’s fastest growing small businesses.