Human Circuit celebrates its Quinquagenary on November 5th 2016. That’s 50 years as a sustained and successful business. Not many can celebrate that achievement. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics about 50% of all new businesses will fail within the first five years, and only a third will make it 10 years or more. The Small Business Administration will also tell you that 50% of small businesses will fail in the first year, so we should absolutely revel in our long-term success.
The metamorphosis from what was Professional Products and to what is now Human Circuit (rebranded in 2011) is a compelling tale. At one point in time the company was staffed at three times its current size and four times its current revenues. While on the surface that may sound negative for our current condition, I can tell you it is not. We lost our flexibility and agility. We weren’t paying attention. It was our almost too late attention to the details that almost caused us to be on the losing end of the statistics. In late 2008 and all of 2009, we could have easily been another bad statistic of the recession. We picked up on these difficulties a number of years before the horrible period of economic disaster and we preemptively downsized. And while we still had to make additional adjustments and downsize even further when we felt the full force of the recession, we knew these changes were necessary but were still painful to make.
The founders, Carter Kaufmann, Fred Burke, and Charlie Faulkner had an early vision of the needs in the business marketplace; audio and video technology. It was with that foresight that they formed Professional Products Inc. Coming out of the consumer hi-fi industry into a brand new professional marketplace was truly visionary. Carter’s stewardship of a company starting in equipment sales, then adding engineering and support services was all about brilliant ideas and timing. Even though it was after Carter’s death that the company rebranded to Human Circuit, he was invested and smart enough to know the rebranding of the company was necessary and allowed the idea to take root.
It’s Carter’s entrepreneurial spirit that continues to lives in Human Circuit. While the company is under different stewardship now, it thrives because of his vision, his ideas and his dedication to a market he saw when nobody else did.
Happy Quinquagenary Poppy (Dad)!