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Nearly twenty years ago, Curtis Jewell was struggling to make a living and develop a career when he came to a life-changing realization: "I realized that I was selling 'stuff' that I didn't believe in and if I had to live by this 'stuff,' I'd never make it." He decided that if he was going to take care of his wife and give his children the best education, he would have to become an entrepreneur. Then, in 1989, after spending 4 years learning the computer business with Morgan Management Systems, Inc., he ventured out on his own and single-handedly started EXCEL Management Systems, Inc., which is now a thriving computer consulting firm employing over 100 people.
EXCEL provides focused professional IT services to commercial and federal, state, and local government agencies. They provide enterprise wide field-based IT services to geographically dispersed agencies and companies including desktop, servers, and connectivity management; voice and network integration & deployment; project management, system integration, life-cycle systems development, and telecommunication solution and services.
SBA provided the assistance to establish 8(a) certification for the business. This allowed the business to enter the federal market and obtain contracts. Further assistance was provided to receive Small Disadvantaged Business status offering additional opportunities for the growth. Loan assistance was provided later to allow for the purchase of a building to expand the business.
In an interview, Mr. Jewell was asked a few questions. Here are the questions and his responses:
Q: What is the best advice you can give to someone thinking about going into business?
A: "There's something in us, I believe, that calls us. We have a purpose in life and if we don't listen to it, or if we do listen to it but someone else drives it out of us... we lose it. Trust YOU. Trust what is in you- what is calling you... You've got to trust yourself and take the risk that you know who you are... Life is for risk... You can find a way if you dream and if your passion is strong enough. If you don't risk it, you can't have it. The more you are willing to trust yourself, the bigger your reward.."
Q: How has your business affected your life
A: "My life journey has in many ways paralleled my business journey. Overall, I've experienced prosperity in both. My family and employees have benefited from the growth in my business; and I as a person have grown in many ways as my business has grown."
Q: What has made you successful?
A: "I credit much of my business success to discipline. Early on, I discovered what for me has become "the law" of business: do not use cash flow for personal or community needs; rather, it is imperative to reinvest earnings into the business so that the company can exceed the customers' expectations and begin to grow." "This article and the accompanying photograph do not constitute or imply an endorsement by SBA of any opinions, products or services of any private individual or entity."