Jeremy Veatch is the co-founder of Ironwood Venture, a management consulting company specializing in accelerating growth for emerging and middle-market businesses. Jeremy and his business partner, Patrick Holcomb, have been members of The Department since day one.
Tell us what Ironwood Venture is all about.
We work with emerging businesses to accelerate growth. We have found that the people who run businesses tend to be technical experts in their field and they work diligently within their area of expertise. As the business grows, it gets to a point where the CEO can no longer tangibly touch the business like they used to, and they know the business needs to be managed in a different way, but aren’t sure how. We help them create a structure that excites growth and gives them tools to better manage a scaled-up business.
At around the half million to one million revenue mark, that’s where we come in to help connect strategy to execution. This doesn’t mean just sitting around a whiteboard coming up with a bunch of ideas, but actually hands on, linking arms with the founder or CEO, getting right into the middle of it. We don’t work at the advisory board level or at the employee level, but somewhere in between.
What is it about working with small business clients that you particularly enjoy?
The reason we started Ironwood Venture is because we believe that when someone’s business is going well, they can have better lives at home. I know that I’m the worst husband and father when I feel I am underperforming or trapped in a business situation I don’t know how to get out of. So really our driving force is to give small business owners the opportunity to be better husbands and wives, fathers and mothers.
We just had our annual review with one of our clients. We sat down with them to go over what we’ve been working on for the past year and to review the results. What we saw was that their revenue was up 75% and their net income was up fourfold – largely because they had learned how to manage the business differently, to focus on the right kind of sales, and to build the team they need. The smile on our client’s face wasn’t because they’re greedy, but because their home life is better and because they feel like they have things under control. That’s the win, and that’s why we do this.
Given your line of work, why do you choose to work in a shared environment like The Department, rather than your own office somewhere?
One of the big reasons is because, by nature, I’m a learner. When I was growing up, I was that kid who asked people how much money they made or how much they weighed – not because I was nosy, but because I thrive on information. So here at The Department, I get lots of opportunities to ask people what they’re working on. I don’t care what company you’re with or what your position is – I just want to know what you’re working on, because at some level I can learn from you, and that makes me better.
I was talking to a guy at the copier recently, and he was telling me about what he was working on. We got into what problem his business was trying to solve, and I got really animated with him and said, “That’s awesome!” I told him my wife’s company would be a user of that, so I connected them. In the end, my wife’s company was helped simply because I was shooting the breeze with some guy at the copier. These types of small connections happen every week, and it’s a way for everyone involved to be better at what they do.
You live in the Coronado neighborhood of Phoenix, just a couple of miles from here. What’s a best-kept secret about living downtown?
A couple of years ago we got trailer bikes for our family. So we hook up the kids’ bikes to our bikes and cruise around downtown. The trailer bikes keep them safe but let them pedal along with us. What we’ve discovered is a secret foot bridge near 10th Street behind Good Sam Hospital. It’s a magic maker, since it takes us safely over the freeway, into the Garfield neighborhood, and into downtown. Sometimes we ride to Welcome Diner, Phoenix Public Market, or to church at New City.
We also love to ride to Arizona Center, which is the absolute best place to go see a movie, because you show up ten minutes after showtime, skip all the previews, and you can still get a seat. Arizona Center is such a sleepy place, but we spend hours there, playing in the fountains, running up and down the escalators, going to Cold Stone Creamery. Our kids love having the place to themselves!
Learn more about Ironwood Venture at ironwoodventure.com