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Last Update: Thursday July 29, 2021

Key Idea: Put Your Values in Writing

Dave Young keeps everyone focused with a set of basic principles that are posted in the lobby for all to see. With Jodi Johnson, they attract great people who are building this company fast.     More...

Key Question:


Like Dave Young and Jodi Johnson, put your values, goals and big dreams in writing.  They are the founders of Oberon and their discipline is one reason that in less than five years their company grew from zero to $45 million in annual sales.

Most small business owners don't put anything in writing. Most get an idea, go out and get a customer and then find good people to hire. Profits are earned  without any formal plans or goals. This is fine and we're not criticizing this operational style, but this approach will keep you small.  If you want to be small, that is your choice and we applaud any owner who is happy in his sweet spot.

Dave Young and Jodi Johnson were lucky to have big business experience they could bring with them to their startup and they respected that experience.  Many of us have worked in big business, but if the goal in our own company is to have fun, we might be hurting ourselves if we ignore some of the reasons that big business succeeds.

Putting things in writing forces you to clarify your thinking and this clear thinking will attract the right customers and the right employees.  If writing isn't your strength, hire a freelance writer to interview you and do this for you.  Whatever you have to pay a writer will be worth it.

Post your values, goals and dreams on your web site.  Print them up and give them to your suppliers, customer, prospects and employees.    As a result of this exercise, you might even come up with a new tag line to add to your logo or business card.  More...

Think about it

Why are you in business?  What does your business do for its customers?  Why do your customers do business with you?  What do your customers say about you to others?  What do your employees say to others about working for your company?

Clip from: Veterans Think Big

Let us celebrate and honor the contributions of our veterans. 

Washington, DC and the nation:  Defenders of freedom. Patriots.  Veterans.   These people come from every part of society and from every corner of the nation.  They get special training and they serve their country.  Some enter combat and some get injured. In one way or another, they all come home,  and are discharged or retire from the military.  Many join the workforce and begin re-creating their life with the special honors and experiences of being in the US military.

Meet four veterans who came home and started a business and each of them has become enormously successful.  They have all been creating jobs for many years now and are all highly respected within their industry.

In this episode of the show they each tell how they started companies to provide services to the military.   They explain that doing business with the federal government is different than selling goods and services to the private sector. 

All three have fast-growing businesses that range from $26 million to $70 million in annual sales.

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Titania Solutions (founders of Oberon Associates as well)

Jodi Johnson & David Young, Co-founders

9700 Capital Court, Suite 301
Manassas, VA 20110

Visit our web site:

Business Classification:
defense/government contracts

Year Founded: 2002

Put Your Values in Writing

VOICEOVER:  At Oberon, everyone knows the tenets of the company:

  • Employ a sense of urgency in all
    things that we do. 

  • Treat the customer as king.

  •  Build a career at Oberon; don’t just perform a job.

  • Take smart calculated risks;
    don’t fear failure as long as you learn from it.

  • No is a negative word, never use it without asking how to get to yes.

  • Work as a team, guard against parochialism.

HATTIE:  It’s one of your unique selling propositions I believe that your customers pick up on.  You don’t wait, you act,  you do it now. There is some enthusiasm and a sense of let’s get this done.

DAVE YOUNG:  Yes, and our customers appreciate it.  No matter what it  is.  I mean if it’s staffing quickly with good people.  If  it’s getting invoices out or if it’s responding to a technical problem, whatever.  I think you’re right, a lot of companies have let that get away from them.  And the bigger you get the bigger you the harder it is.

HATTIE::  Another one is, the customer is king.

DAVE:  Well the customer is king and I think a lot of companies say that but they don’t follow through with it. 

HATTIE:  Okay, how do I know that around here?

DAVE:  We try to visit all of our customers at least four times a year and they’re around the world and we don’t get to the ones in Iraq four times  a year but to be honest because of the, the situation.  But we try to get to and talk to our customers.  We try to have the next level of management talk to our customers on a continuous basis.  Find out what’s going well, what’s not going well.  Just listening to them goes a long way.  You know without them we don’t have a business.  That’s a very simple thing to say but again I think it does escape some people over time.   

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