Cindy and Kevin Abel on Entrepreneurship, Company Culture, and Working with Your Spouse

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Recently ASBN partnered with TiE Atlanta to cover their 2018 TiECON conference. ASBN host Jim Fitzpatrick had the pleasure of sitting down with Cindy and Kevin Abel, Co-Founders of Abel Solutions, a consulting firm that focused on quality of life for their employees, their families, and the Abels themselves.

Focusing on their core belief of “People Matter”, Abel Solutions became a fixture in the local technology space, known for its commitment to employees, customers, partners, vendors, and the community.

The company grew to more than 20 employees and generated greater than five million dollars in annual revenue. The Abels exited in 2016.

The Abels were the morning keynote speakers at TiECON, speaking on hiring the right people into your organization, and what a difference that makes in having a successful company.

VIDEO TRANSCRIPTION

Jim Fitzpatrick: We’re here at the TiECON Atlanta 2018, and we’re sitting here with Cindy and Kevin Abel, who are keynote speakers here at TiECON. Welcome to ASBN.

Cindy Abel: Thank you, Jim.

Jim Fitzpatrick: Yes.

Kevin Abel: Thanks, Jim. Very nice to meet you.

Jim Fitzpatrick: So for the people that weren’t able to make it out today, talk to us a little bit about what you spoke about. I know that you guys are very passionate about hiring the right people into your organization, and what a difference that makes in having a successful company.

Cindy Abel: Well, in the spirit of what the conference is actually all about, it’s people matter. And I feel like very early on, when Kevin and I started our company, Abel Solutions, right here in Alpharetta, we really felt it was important to have that as a core value. So looking for the right people that matched a culture of … that believed in work/family balance, and philanthropy, and giving back to the community as part of what they wanted it to have on an everyday experience in the work environment.

Kevin Abel: Trying to find that magic spot between balancing your work life, your family life and your own self-actualization, working in the community, and that’s what we wanted to do in our company.

Cindy Abel: I think the giving back to the community thing was part of our core values already when we met, and we had started very on, volunteering with an organization in our town called Hands On Atlanta. And so when we started the company, that was just a natural way for us to incorporate a nonprofit.

Jim Fitzpatrick: For the people that are watching right now that maybe are still at their corporate job, but watching ASBN saying, “We think we’re ready to make that move into becoming an entrepreneur and opening our own business”, what are some of the tips that you can share with them in terms of what to look for, and what to do, what not to do when you’re about leave your corporate and go into the world of business ownership?

Kevin Abel: I would say that if you’re inclined to start your own company, if you’re inclined to be an entrepreneur, don’t second guess yourself any more. There’s no right time, there’s no perfect time, there’s no safe time. Risk is at the heart of being an entrepreneur, so take that leap and trust in yourself.

Cindy Abel: And you’ve got to be passionate, I think, about wanting to do something like that. And the environment today, it’s very hard. It’s harder, I think in some respects, for people to make the decision to leap into being an entrepreneur, just because we live in a very different environment. Medical costs are skyrocketing, and those are a lot of big considerations for people.

Jim Fitzpatrick: Talk to us about what it’s like to work as a couple. There’s a lot of people that are watching right now that are couples, that would love to open up their own business together. So what are some of the things that … some of the tips that you can share to have the business successful as well as the relationship?

Cindy Abel: Both of us having a voice is really good thing, but if you’re truly in it together, the both of you being part of the strategic vision of the organization, and coming to some conclusion on what you believe is the right direction and vision for it. I think that’s a huge thing.

Kevin Abel: It’s definitely that blessing and a curse factor, because you come home from the office and you talk about business, and that other person can actually relate, and it’s not-

Jim Fitzpatrick: That’s exactly right. It’s a huge advantage.

Kevin Abel: It’s not what other people experience, but you also do have to have time to separate that, and have other conversations, let’s just say.

Jim Fitzpatrick: Right, right. Sure. Sure. Well, Cindy and Kevin Abel, thank you so much for joining us on ASBN. We’ve enjoyed it very much. I know that the people that are watching right now get a lot out of it, and the fact that you guys are successful entrepreneurs working together, that’s a cool story. So thank you again for joining us.

Cindy Abel: Thank you very much, Jim.

Kevin Abel: Thanks, Jim. [inaudible 00:03:31].

Jim Fitzpatrick: Great.

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