True North Consultants Growing in Naperville
Interview with Brian S. Mihelich
Q: Describe your business. What do you do?
A: True North Consultants is a consulting engineering firm made up of engineering and science-related professionals dedicated to providing sustainable site development and environmental resource management solutions. We partner with clients spanning both the private and public sectors to address their environmental management, land development, and public infrastructure needs locally and nationally.
Q: What made you start your business?
A: As an environmental consultant working in an industry that is directly tied to the various aspects of real estate acquisition, development and divestiture, my job situation was significantly impacted by the real estate crashbust in 2008. Many of the firms in my industry began downsizing and I anticipated that it would only be a matter of time before my employer followed suit. With limited prospects of finding another job at the time, I determined that I had just as much job security on my own as I did with another company. Having worked with my business partners, Mike and Ryan, for several years and sharing similar business and personal philosophies, we embarked on creating True North Consultants.
Q: What has been the most difficult obstacle in running or starting a small business?
A: There are many challenges in starting and running a small business. Starting out, it was cash flow and building name recognition. Now that True North is established, the greatest challenge is growing the business beyond the three partners. We've experienced significant growth over the last year and have struggled with servicing the needs of our clients in a manner they have become accustomed to. We must now hire staff if we want to continue to grow and become more profitable.
Q: What do you enjoy most about operating your business?
A: Working for myself affords me the opportunity to directly benefit from True North's successes, whether it is financial or experience related. Being a business owner in my field has opened the door to many new professional and personal opportunities and has enabled me to develop meaningful relationships with our vendors, partners and clients. …