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Letter

from the

Editor

Dan Mathers shares some personal insight into this month’s theme

It’s rare to think of a suburb as an incubator for business. Usually the “next big thing” comes out of New York, LA or San Francisco, places with educated, prosperous and large populations. But then, West Chester is more than a suburb of Philadelphia; it’s a mini-city in it’s own right, and if wealth, education and population size drive business development, well then our town should be a hot bed: the last census placed Chester County as the 25th richest in the country; we’ve got a top-ranked university; and the Greater West Chester Area has a population akin to cities like Hartford, CT and Charleston, SC. I like to think I knew this intuitively. I grew up in West Chester, but my first job took me to New Jersey, Delaware and New York. Still, when it came time to found my own company, I felt there was no better place to do it than 19382. I worked hard to establish this business, but the building blocks were already there. Which is good, because one third of businesses fail within their first two years; only half make it more than five. This January, The WC Press turned seven. While I joke that this company is my baby, if it were in fact a child, he/she would be halfway through the first grade. I was pretty proud of that accomplishment, until I read Malcolm Johnstone’s “Setting the Standard” and learned there are a handful of businesses in the borough that are my age, and at least one that was born a year into Herbert Hoover’s first term. Assembling this magazine, I had the opportunity to learn a lot from the folks behind our town’s defining businesses, and there’s one lesson I encountered more than any other: a good leader is quick to accept blame and deflect praise. Time and again we encountered this trait, to the point that we had to intentionally cut many such remarks. When asked why they’d been successful, the people we interviewed cited their team, their employees, their partners and their communities. When asked about missteps along the way, they always spoke in the first person. My biggest struggle in growing this business is sourcing employees in whom I don’t constantly find fault. I’m swift to blame for mistakes I wouldn’t have made, quick to grow frustrated when others don’t learn, and angry when I try to sort out the root causes. Sure, in superficial situations when a client’s had a small problem, I’ll give it the ol’ “The buck stops here,” but in daily interactions, I’m not so good at taking the blame. As I write this, we’re halfway through January, and I’m yet to settle on a New Years resolution. In light of what I’ve learned— about myself and this company—I’m certain I’ve found something to improve upon: remembering to accept blame and give recognition. So, to Adam, Kehan, Kaela, Jill, Jeremy, Luke, Walt, Justin, Kevin, Christine, Lexi, Chelsea, Clare, Paul, Hutch, Gabbie, Annie, Rachel, Jennifer, Brad, Gina, Mollie, Jesse, Naz, Luke, Kate, Niki, Jack, Julie, Becca, Diane, Jon, Daniela, Geoff, Sabina, Andrea, Suzanne, Jamie, Skye, Amy, Dan, Bill, Courtney, and—of course— Nick, thank you for everything you’ve done to see this magazine through it’s first seven years. —dan@thewcpress.com

FEBRUARY 2019 THEWCPRESS.COM

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Profile for The WC Press

The WC Press Local Business Growth Issue - February 2019  

Voice of the Borough

The WC Press Local Business Growth Issue - February 2019  

Voice of the Borough