Small Business Spotlight: Waste Revelation

By: Horizon Bank Last Updated: May 23, 2012

WasteRevelationLogoWaste Revelation was founded in 2000 by Mr. Cole Doolittle. Its mission is to identify opportunities for savings and revenue from recycled materials and waste disposal. Mr. Doolittle is completely self-funded, and Waste Revelation now employs fourteen people, as well as four independent sales staff. What started as an idea has turned into one of the top twenty largest companies providing this service in the United States. Here, Mr. Doolittle shares a bit about his values, struggles, and philosophies.

What inspired you to open your own business?

I had a punch list of items. First of all, I didn’t want to have to wear a suit and tie to work. I had done that in my career as an engineer and was tired of it. I didn’t want to be a slave to a time sheet. I also had an interest in recycling. One of the great things about this company is that while we have a physical office, we can also work virtually, so it’s more relaxed.

What were your biggest concerns about starting your own business?

I didn’t really have any major concerns. I was entirely self-financed, which meant that I had to make a few lifestyle changes. I never thought that I could fail. It wasn’t an option. I think it’s having that mental state. If you don’t believe in yourself, maybe self-employment isn’t a good match for you. I’ve heard a bunch of times that one in three small businesses succeeds. People who second-guess themselves are probably the two that don’t. You can’t look at the short term when you’re starting. Don’t try to figure out how much you are making an hour. You’re doing this because you want to.

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What business steps did you take to get to where you are today?

I definitely had a well thought-out strategy and a plan. I’m a planner by nature, and I had that plan in place when I left my engineering career to start my company. I kept an alternate income to make sure I had some cash flow, and pinched every penny. Pinch every penny you have, then cut your pennies in half and save them, too. I started out working 100 plus hours a week, and continued to do so even after I didn’t have to. I’m so thankful I was able to fuel my own growth, especially in today’s economy, where competitors are shutting down because they can’t pay back their loans.

What major challenges and obstacles did you face in the process of opening your business?

My biggest challenge was becoming known and getting my name out there. I was competing in a national arena, working out of my garage. In the beginning I took a lot of contract work to get my name on the big accounts. It gave me the experience and the opportunity for my name to become known. From there, I gradually phased out of contract work and began getting my own accounts.

What have been the most valuable lessons you’ve learned throughout the process?

Take the amount of time you think it’s going to take, and the amount of money you think you’ll need, and double both. Always be fiscally conservative. You can’t be tight enough with your money, and stick with this philosophy even after you become successful. I have no debt from my business and in today’s times that relieves a huge pressure from my shoulders.

How has your relationship with Horizon Bank helped your business?

I stumbled upon the bank and have been very pleased with their operations and the way they act. Even though they are a smaller bank, they present ideas that make my business move forward with bill-paying for my customers. They’re willing to work with me to give me what I need, and I didn’t find that at other banks. There’s inherent value in selecting a bank that’s sized similarly to your business. Smaller banks will worry and care about your needs. For them, you’re an important customer. And that’s the value that I see in Horizon.

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