Angela Hurt’s work as a salaried employee in corporate environments wasn’t what she had hoped, and it got her thinking.
“I didn’t like what I saw, especially when it came to selling. There wasn’t much going on in terms of integrity. I started pondering how I would do things differently if I were in charge.”
With the encouragement of family and mentors, Angela launched Veracity Consulting in late 2006 with a focus on delivering high-end information technology services on a platform of strong values.
“I wanted to be all about transparency and community, and I was excited about what that could mean for information technology service.”
As a single mom, Angela knew she was taking quite a chance by leaving the security of a corporate salary, but it didn’t shake her confidence. She knew exactly what she was going to sell, how she was going to sell it, and what it was going to cost. But what she didn’t know was how hard it would be to focus on running her new business with the distraction of legal and accounting responsibilities that come with doing business.
“I always tell people who start a business to cultivate a good relationship with your lawyer, your banker and your accountant. Beyond essential tasks, you want them to look out for you and watch for problems so you don’t have to.”
For example, about two years after Veracity opened, growth was explosive. There was plenty of money, but cash flow wasn’t meeting the demands of payroll.
“One of my most reliable customers was more than 60 days past due at one point, and it nearly brought us to a standstill. That was one of many ‘gotcha’ moments I went through that convinced me that I couldn’t do it all myself and needed really strong partners.”
Nearly 10 years in, Veracity is a multimillion-dollar company with just under 100 employees and the potential to soon double in size – again. Customers range from Fortune 500 businesses and the Federal Government to state governments, and now small to medium-size businesses too.
“We do high-level, top-down strategy, and bottom-up in terms of operations and delivery. Recently, we’ve broadened our scope to include more businesses in the Kansas City area. So much of what we do really comes down to bridging the gap between information technology and business.”
If there’s one thing Angela has learned about herself through Veracity’s evolution, it’s the importance of letting go of complete control.
“Initially, I created relationships with my employees that put all the responsibility on myself. I wanted to protect them and didn’t want to see them fail. But then I realized I wasn’t allowing them to truly grow, and I was miserable.”
Now Angela empowers her employees and clears paths for them to pursue their potential. The result has been phenomenal growth for Angela, her staff and Veracity.
“One bit of advice I would offer other small business owners is: Make the effort to hire talented people who are exactly right for your culture, pay them well and give them the responsibility of succeeding. If you shortchange any part of that equation, it could cost you money and hurt your business.”
Where would Veracity be without the support of the Kansas City area community? Angela says she can’t imagine it. She is grateful for the help she’s received.
“The Women’s Business Center in particular was there for me from the start. They showered me with valuable information and raised questions that shaped my thinking. They inspired me. I knew back then that I was going to give back to the community because the community was giving so much to me.”
Make the effort to hire talented people who are exactly right for your culture
Angela believes support for business, especially women-owned businesses, is a clear strength of the Kansas City area’s culture.
“If you’re a woman and you’re not seeing the support that’s available for your business, you’re simply not looking hard enough.”
As Veracity closes in on a decade of service, Angela continues to dive deeper into her passion for making a difference. She’s on multiple boards ranging from the Women’s Employment Network to the American Indian Enterprise Business Council. And it’s not a personal effort only; Veracity employs a point person to nurture relationships inside Veracity and beyond.
“It’s not a human resources position. It’s focused purely on supporting each of us as people and coordinating our community efforts, from celebrating birthdays to volunteering. We believe relationships are everything.”
Those community efforts include an ever-growing list of philanthropic commitments, including the City Union Mission, Win for KC, Boys Grow and the American Heart Association. Recently, Angela co-chaired the Go Red for Women campaign, which raised over $1 million to help fund research to fight heart disease in women. She’s a strong advocate for taking preventive measures to reduce the risk of dying from the disease.
“Fundraising is the lifeblood of philanthropy, but getting out into the community and seeing how simple awareness changes lives is extremely motivating. For me personally, it defines my drive to make a difference.”
And making a difference is what growing home is all about. With Angela Hurt and Veracity Consulting at work, the future of Greater Kansas City is certainly in good hands.
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