How I Did It: Building and Selling a First Business

A discussion with Atlanta Tech Executive Darrell Mays

A discussion with Atlanta Tech Executive Darrell Mays

This week in In Process (Trusted Counsel's bi-weekly podcast show), we revisit a previous interview with Darrell Mays, who successfully built and sold his first business to a multi-billion-dollar corporation. But his first entrepreneurial foray started with an unexpected beginning: getting fired.

In 2003, Darrell founded nsoro LLCas a turnkey telecommunications infrastructure services company, which he sold to MasTec, a $4.4 billion corporation providing end-to-end solutions designing, building, installing, maintaining and upgradinginfrastructure in the telecom, energy and communications industries. He went on to become Senior Vice President at MasTec, Inc., and President of MasTec’s wireless division―and now serves as a Senior Advisor.  

Prior to that, Darrell’s telecommunications career had included 12 years in leadership positions with AT&T, serving in network operations, engineering, marketing and sales organizations, and in various positions with Ericsson, Inc., Motorola, Palmsource, and a consortium account of British Telecom and AT&T.

Everyone wants to leave a job on their terms. But when that didn’t happen for Darrell, he was able to turn an uncomfortable situation into business success.

“Everyone has that ‘A-ha’ moment,” Darrell said. “This was mine.”

With an immediate need for income, Darrell spent the first few months “working for himself” doing whatever it took to secure business and build trust with his clients.

The wireless industry was in its infancy and growing at lightning speed, but Darrell still had to convince his friends and professional connections that it was worth the risk of trusting huge projects with a small, unknown company.

“You know the old story: No one gets fired for using IBM,” said Darrell. “The ones who do take a risk [on your new company] are brave people, and they’re few and far between. Because you could fail—most people do. And that person would fail along with you.”

During the course of this podcast learn how Darrell has been able to turn risk-takers into heroes and grow and sell a successful business along the way through:

  • Leveraging industry knowledge and connections
  • Adhering to a philosophy that outmatched "Big Bureaucracies"
  • Hiring the right employees with the right leadership and skill sets
  • Using experts to negotiate a sale that's a win-win-win for the buyer, seller-and customers
  • Ensuring a smooth transition after the sale

Stream the conversation with Darrell in the player below to learn how you, too, can start, grow and sell a successful business. You can also subscribe to In Process on iTunes to receive this episode as well as future updates from the show on your smartphone.