Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Chris Crosby, CEO of Compass Datacenters, located in Dallas, TX, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
At Compass, we make lives better by providing the world’s technology leaders with a secure place to plug in wherever they grow. We provide custom, move-in-ready data centers from the edge to the core. Our facilities serve hyper-scale, cloud, and enterprise customers while featuring our hybrid-colocation model for ultimate flexibility and control.
Tell us about yourself
Like most ideas for a new business, I founded Compass to fill a need that wasn’t being served by competing data center providers. The traditional model for data center wholesalers involves constructing a large facility and then leasing it out to multiple customers in defined increments. This limits the ability of customers to get a data center that meets their specific requirements as well as capital inefficient. Compass was conceived to offer an alternative to the existing wholesale model by marrying modern manufacturing techniques with advanced construction, with the ability to build multiple data center configurations from a standard “kit of parts.”
The second component of Compass’ success in being a market disrupter is an enduring corporate culture focused on innovation and continual improvement. From a personal perspective, seeing how we have been able to leverage our core beliefs to change the competitive balance in the data center industry, for example, we have been named one of Fast Company’s 2023 magazine’s Most Innovative Companies, is exciting for me, obviously, but for our employees as well.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
I think when it comes to Compass, the accomplishment that I’m most proud of is the building of a highly effective, diverse team. From personality type to background to gender and race, diversity of my direct reports has been a highly intentional goal since 2016. As a dominant personality, the business is stifled without diverse thought. This journey was rounded out in 2020 with the filling of my final executive position. This team is a force in the industry thanks to a formal culture, clear alignment around vision, and the strong diversity of what each member brings to the table.
What's one of the hardest things that comes with being a business owner?
I think the toughest part of being a business owner is accepting the responsibility you have for the well-being of your employees and, by extension, their families. Obviously, this comes with the territory, and you can’t let this responsibility dissuade you from taking specific actions that will benefit the business as a whole, but there is certainly a human element to every decision you make.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
My advice to other entrepreneurs is that without true diversity of personality and thought in your executive team, your company could not grow as fast as its potential. This simple truth is incredibly hard to do, and it takes real discipline to make it happen. You may still get there, but a diverse team gets there faster through the elimination of blind spots and the creativity of diversity.
Where can people find you and your business?
If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.
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