We had the good fortune of connecting with Matthew Coleman and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Matthew, what was your thought process behind starting your own business?
I had a passion for business as a young child. I would shovel snow and cut grass to make money. I also detailed cars and that really showed me that it was not just about the money, but the fact that I could take something and make it better. The fact that I am bringing someone joy is icing on the cake. I know that a lot of people are infatuated with the thought of starting your own business. The fantasy of running your own business is not just traveling around the country and free time. The dream can come true but before that you have to put in a lot of hard work and smart choices to win!! I feel like entrepreneurship is like being an artist. The commitment to excellence is the formula for being a successful business owner. Each business owner may value different aspects of there business. Some owners work for different goals. What every you value will motivate you but you have to put the actual blessing first. The fact that you can solve someone’s problem or issue and do it at a high level means everything. Not to mention that you can get paid for it. If you want to be a specialist or if you want to scale. When you want to scale, systems are the only way. I love systems because that how you grow to be able to duplicate your self. When I first read the question, I responded below. I am passionate about systems. . OMG!! I have a training that speaks to this precisely. I have been in business for 27 years and this system is simple and speaks to how to start a business. First, the best business to start is going to be a business that you enjoy!!. When you produce a product or service that you like it can inspire you to create even more. The prep/5steps to business training is, Prep: EIN, TAX ID, Articles of Incorporation, Operating Agreement, DUNN & Bradstreet number, NAIC codes, & business checking account. At this point you can consider yourself a business. Next is the simple 5 steps to business. 1. Products and, or Services. 2. Daily Operation. 3. Location Management. 4. Human Resources (Culture/Department) 5. Marketing. These steps will help you create a system that you can feel confident about your business inside and out. Your marketing will match your products and services using the values that I provide.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
Wow. I like the way this was formed because it is right in line with so many. The “Employee/Professional ” category is a path that a lot of people travel. I graduated from the University of Toledo where I was member of the student union and was a member of the UT Rockets basket ball team. I say that because from the system took me to be hired at BFI after 6 years of working and attending college fulltime. I took 12 credit hours and worked which extended my time in college but I was determined to complete my task to graduate. I received my bachelor degree and went on the get a great opportunity as a account representative at BFI Waste systems. As a child I was always motivated to provide services and get paid to do so. From shoveling snow and cutting grass like so many I embraced the opportunity. It was fun and rewarding. That opportunity pushed me to feel as if I could create more customers and make more money. I took that into my life and always created opportunities to buy and sell and create opportunity for others. When I was in high school my grandma Coontz saw me cutting grass and gave me the opportunity to cut multiple yard for her real-estate company. I had 4 yards along with my 5 yards a week that allowed me see the chance to see that I could do it. My attitude in sports was also a big factor. I was the youngest of 3 and my brothers always pushed me. My brother Mike showed me the drive to compete and protected me while my brother Mark was big in business as teen. He created clubs and held meetings to organize people for a cause. He set a great example of leadership. From those meeting working to help our family while watching his little brothers was a great example for me. He is a successful businessman to this day!! I have to admit that it was difficult at that time have my father move to Chicago at 5 years old after the divorce of my parents. Again, I am so grateful for my family, parents, grandparents, brothers, cousins and friends support always make transition in life better. The fact that I was a heavy child created some insecurities that pushed me into sports. I say that to say that I feel like something in me always look to be better. The motivation of things that we don’t posses or have can do one of two things, push or give up. I am so grateful that I look at obstacles and challenges as opportunities. Another thing I say is “Optimism is frustration turned inside out..” I started my business career with out a lot of focus. I was just doing. I have been motivated to help and achieve. I was a struggle to create a business without sources. The lack of structure as I grew made it difficult to scale properly. I did not now that what I needed so I guess it has created a resilience as I learn more. The lack of resources force you to utilize the what you have. I had to create opportunity and keep fighting to keep going. Success come with different bench marks. My business was in a community that was not thriving. I had to push hard to draw people into the area and motivate the community to support there own. I enjoy challenges but I also realized that there are other ways that are proven to move me closer to my goals quicker. Systems and resources are the key to growth. I truly rest on my “Core Values.” My commitment to excellence and the ongoing pursuit to excellence motivates me daily. I have 4 identified and motivating core values. 1. Honesty and Integrity. 2. Work hard and have fun. 3. Service with a passion. 4. Get better everyday. I give credit to one of my old. business partners. I got motivated me to lock these in and live and die by them. My 27 year entrepreneurial career has brought me from cutting grass, to having a auto dealership for over 20 years to now finding my passion as a real estate developer and lender!!!!!!!!
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
I am always fascinated when people you care for come in town and you have all these plans and lay out cloths to where and so many times we find ourselves only doing 1/2 of what you planned and really enjoying time at home with friends and family. I will plan a realistic week of time to talk and fellowship. I must start off with understanding that I enjoy both going out and home time. Atlanta has landmarks and great food. The night life is fun and the weather creates outdoor fun. The first thing for me is to pick them up and let them get settle and enjoy a great home cooked meal. The fun of food and libations, along with games create time to catch up and relax. When you have the grill going and cocktails pouring with a mindset of gratitude you can’t go wrong. I won’t go into the menu but traditional outdoor fun with outdoor moving depending on the weather. The first day would start with breakfast and a possible stop at one of my favorites. “Thumbs up”. I would have the truck gassed up and ready to look at the massive growth of the are. Our mutual love for growth and business would encourage me to take a drive around metro Atlanta and see the diversity of East Atlanta to mid town, to southsides growth and all of the expansion of west midtown. This journey around the metro Atlanta would give a clear understand of how amazing this city is. The second night I would make reservations at a local event at the Fox theater or the Art Center. The third day I would look for a Park day at Piedmont with sport activities from kick ball to bike riding and mixing in a stop at Kilwins Chocolates & Ice Cream. That night might be a night of movies at the house and home cooked mexican with cigars and bourbon. I would look at the 4 day to be a day on Lake on my colleges boat and beach living in Georgia. That night would be a walk and just convo. 5th day we would go golfing at historic Bobby Jones golf course. Dinner at twisted soul and cocktails at Fellaship. 6th would be a day of shopping to see famous Lenox mall (event with recent situations) and phipps We would also travel to battery park to wind out the night. 7th day we would just relax. lol
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
This question really touches on the spirit of giving. I have been blessed with so much love. I grew up with a single mom with 2 brothers. I had a diverse family. I am African American (black) and European(white.) and I have 2 brothers who are Mexican. I say that to say the strength and support from my mother is the next thing to God. She was the cliché’ . My mom worked from 7am to often 11pm. Double shifts to make ends meet was normal. The even more amazing part is that I never felt, not for one second unloved or not cared for. Here leadership as a mother over her home and her children was incredible. She always made me feel so loved and cared for. In my early years she would make time on the weekends and take me to eat and make me feel so special. She would make me feel like the only person in the world. I have to give credit to my brothers for being the type of brothers who made sure I was taken care of and they really made me feel special. My grandparents, Bill and Charlie Mary were the definition of a southern family that created a safe haven of love for the entire family and me in particular. From trips to amusement parks to providing a pool and Saturday cook outs that will never be forgotten. I can go on to share the things that they did to make me feel like tearing up right now and feel love that I carry with me to my last day. I can’t really say that anyone can top the love and support I feel from my mother but if I could my father would be right there. One thing that separates my father is the insight and deep thought that challenged me as a man. I spent 7 summers in Chicago Illinois and that time really shaped my perspective on life. To see the big city really excited me and motivated me to want even more. Living in a major metropolis exposes you to a way of life and opportunites that only the city can. I was exposed to people and events that made me realize that I am special. I attended a a day care at the Lincoln Park Zoo. I was exposed to different races, nationalities and cultures. This is something I can add to the extensive list of thing my father thought me. He was a though provoking and motivating man I admire and miss daily. The example of the way to act from a moral and ethical standpoint was the most important things. He is my good angel on my shoulder to motivated make great choices. As I grew up and was naturally drawn to business I knew I enjoyed serving people and bringing joy. I was motivated by my cousin Don Coleman who was a powerful and successful entrepreneur. Success is a motivator, but for me having a upbringing that was supported by substance and doing things the right way is key. Don spoke with such a commanding and leadership tone that it was kind of intimidating but motivating as well. I understand now that he had to lead and for me it helps me have some insight and as I grow I take some of those qualities and mix in my own flavor. He had reached a level of success to become the largest black owed marketing company in the country. To reach that success has always been a great example. I know that my time is now and I have been enjoying the journey. When I progressed into business and started my professional career I had to chance to work for 2 amazing people that taught me business. Kay Kirkpatrick was my boss/leader at BFI Waste Systems. She gave me a chance to see corporate America as a young African American male. She shared with me some of the obstacles that I would face and the mind set I would need to make it and to be successful. She encourage and motivated along with reprimanding me to make sure I knew the difference. She also assign Rudy Ondrus to mentor me and he was God sent. He created a safe place to be able to talk an learn while seeing my qualities and letting me know my greatness!!! I love both of them to this day. From my basket ball coach “Ken Cunningham” to my teachers “Sister St. Martin, Mrs. Perry, Al Moseck, Mrs Smith, to family, my brothers Mike & Mark to cousin’s Jo, Kelly, Kelli to friends Ken, Baye, Lawrence, Bryan and the list goes on. The historic figures like Martin Luther King, Michael Jordan to so many others. I have been a business owner for 27 years and continue to learn grow and be grateful!!!!!!