The Learning Curve

by Karen Hubbard January 24, 2019

Like most new college graduates, Mitch Minadeo didn’t turn the tassel on his cap knowing what he was going to do. When he joined the family manufacturing business after completing his education at Cleveland State University, much of what he learned happened through on-the-job experience. “I poured myself into it 100%, putting all my effort into succeeding,” he says. “I created a good reputation for myself and the industry.”

Several years later, he found himself faced with a difficult choice—to continue operating in his comfort zone or step into the unknown and start his own business. It wasn’t easy. Minadeo learned the hard way that handshakes aren’t formal agreements, and a difference of understanding within an organization can lead to larger conflicts. Unfortunately, splitting from the company and starting something new led to a lawsuit.

These setbacks in his burgeoning quest to be his own boss left him contemplative. Tainted to the industry, it took months of reflection for him to summon the courage to launch Proformance Reps, a premier manufacturer’s representative specializing in water treatment, air pollution, and thermal process equipment sales. Overcoming this obstacle wouldn’t have been possible without the guidance and empowerment of other business professionals. Through the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses Program, he was able to turn his passion for providing great service into action. “Business savvy people made me realize the value of the company was with me,” he says, a key factor in fostering the person-to-person touch he established when growing clients in his prior role. Working with a diverse client base and developing his own unique processes has been one of his biggest rewards.

Minadeo is currently the sole proprietor of his company, though he hopes to hire employees in the future. His experience as both apprentice and leader has shaped how he will approach managing others. One value he hopes to instill in his business practice is honesty. Being forthright and transparent about expectations, job roles, and company vision will help eliminate the barriers to growth and engagement with his team. He plans to recognize success through rewarding his employees, which does not have to be monetary. Highlighting those who shine is crucial to helping them feel engaged and appreciated.

Though the leap into entrepreneurship was filled with snags, it has allowed Minadeo to grow in unexpected ways, particularly personally. “People don’t always have your best interest in heart. If something doesn’t seem right, you need to protect yourself. Don’t wait too long to make it work.”

If you’d like to learn more about Mitch Minadeo and Proformance Reps, please visit https://proformreps.com.

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