The best ideas can come from the most random places so do not discount anyone and most importantly, keep your ego in check.
Charles Botchway is the founder and Chief Executive Officer of Madison Street Capital, LLC, where he manages the firm’s overall strategic direction and operations. Prior to forming Madison Street Capital, Botchway was co-CEO and Vice Chairman of Houlihan Smith & Company, Inc., where he was responsible for the company’s strategic direction and operations, as well as crafting and executing the firm’s international expansion strategy. Prior to joining Houlihan Smith & Company, Botchway was instrumental in starting and eventually leading the investment banking subsidiary of one of the largest middle market consulting firms in the world. He has also served in a variety of roles within the corporate finance and mergers and acquisitions sector of investment banking, focusing on private middle market and emerging market transactions.
Madison Street Capital is an international investment banking firm committed to integrity, excellence, leadership and service in delivering corporate financial advisory services, merger and acquisition expertise, financial opinions, and valuation services to publicly and privately held businesses. These services position clients to succeed in the global marketplace. In undertaking each new project, the client’s goals and objectives become the goals of Madison Street Capital, ranging from financial advisory and successful capital raises to M&A transactions to transfers of ownership. Madison Street Capital views emerging markets as the core component driving the global growth of clients, and will continue to focus significant assets on these markets. The firm has earned the trust of clients around the world through unwavering dedication to the highest levels of professional standards. For additional information, please visit www.madisonstreetcapital.com.
Where did the idea for Madison Street Capital come from?
I was Co-CEO of another investment bank. My compatriot wanted to focus on derivatives and larger corporations and I wanted to remain focused on serving the M&A and corporate finance needs of our middle market clients. That segment is the core of the American economy and quite frankly, the impact we make on the individual lives of these entrepreneurs is more fulfilling. This divergence of strategy is what influenced the creation of Madison Street Capital.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
I can’t honestly say that any of my days are typical or alike. I generally spend the better part of my mornings meeting individually with my executives. In between those meetings, I return phone calls, emails and handle administrative duties. I spend a good portion of my time floating in and out of our various departments checking in with individual employees to get a gauge on how they’re doing and providing guidance.
How do you bring ideas to life?
We are constantly brainstorming and sharing ideas about how to do things differently and more efficiently. Because we’re generally an analytical bunch, we vet ideas rather quickly. If we all get excited about a particular idea, we execute. We limit the usual paralysis by analysis that plagues a lot of companies.
What’s one trend that really excites you?
The scale of globalization. International transactions used to be reserved for large, global investment banks. Thanks to technology, boutique banks like Madison Street Capital can now compete in the global investment bank arena.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
I surround myself with people who are smarter than me. This motivates me as an entrepreneur.
What was the worst job you ever had and what did you learn from it?
I haven’t had a job I didn’t enjoy. I sold encyclopedias door to door in my early twenties. Not only was it loads of fun for a young man but the gentleman I worked for at the time has been my mentor throughout my career. The life lessons I’ve received from him are too numerous to count.
If you were to start again, what would you do differently?
Absolutely nothing. All the experiences good and bad have helped shape who I am today and have provided valuable lessons along the way.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
I have a thirst for learning and I’m constantly looking for new approaches to solving problems. The best ideas can come from the most random places so do not discount anyone and most importantly, keep your ego in check.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
I insist that our entire staff makes sure that any potential client we meet is better off for having interacted with us whether or not they engage us. Teach them something valuable and leave them with a piece of advice for which they would have to pay if they were talking to another firm in our field. I preached that from day one with the belief that it would create a lot of goodwill and increase the frequency of inbound calls from clients. It took a while but it worked and we get a significant amount of business from referrals that I believe is driven by that policy.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
During my college years, a couple of childhood friends and I started and lost a few businesses. We had great initial success with those companies, but we spent the money faster than it came in. Learning at an early age that fiscal responsibility is key to entrepreneurial success has been invaluable.
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
It was a little more than $100, but I just gave each of the employees that have been with me since the day we opened our doors a gift at our 5-year anniversary party. The level of enthusiasm and appreciation was not expected and very gratifying.
What software and web services do you use? What do you love about them?
We use a web-based CRM service from a company called Cool Life in New York. The original system was essentially custom designed for us. Improvements to the follow-on versions have made managing client information and communications even easier.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand. No matter your political persuasion, it sends a message of individual responsibility and accountability. Something very critical to every entrepreneur’s success.
What people have influenced your thinking and might be of interest to others?
Tom Gores of Platinum Equity and Richard Branson are two of my biggest influences. I have a deep admiration for guys who don’t buy the nonsense from the naysayers and have become huge successes despite the odds. I’ve had the pleasure of meeting Gores personally and hearing first-hand the story of how Platinum Equity got started, most impressive.
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