When I was a bit younger, I was interested in creating the “Next Big Thing.” I wanted to create a consumer-facing web application, convince investors to pour in millions of dollars, acquire a massive number of users, and then sell the company 5 years later. I wanted to start a “startup.”

Then my eyes opened to all the seldom-spoken negatives of building a startup. I changed my mind. Since its inception, Roompact has worked out of four different technology-focused co-working spaces in Chicago. We’ve seen our fair share of startups!

After close observation, we’ve decided that the word “startup” often comes with a negative connotation. A fly-by-night group of people who think of users as numbers that can be dropped at a moment’s notice if the going gets tough. An unprofessional crew who prefers to focus on ping-pong and happy hour rather than rolling up their sleeves and completing good work. Almost every single stereotype about startups is the opposite of how we operate at Roompact.

That’s why we don’t like to call Roompact a startup. “Startup” is a dirty word for us. Personally, it makes me cringe. We are a small business. We want to run an impactful, meaningful organization–and we’re dedicated to this goal for the long-term.

We aren’t growing just to grow. We don’t have any deadlines imposed by outside investors. We don’t see our financial bottom line as our only goal. And finally, we don’t want to cash out, up and leave, and never be seen again.

We want to do what’s best for our users. We want to develop relationships with them. We want to collaborate and push our industry forward. We want to contribute to and enhance student learning.

We have big goals. Goals that cannot be accomplished with external, shortsighted pressures. Goals that take incremental, intentional, persistent faith and effort. We’re not building a band-aid. We’re building a permanent solution. Something we can be proud of. Something we consider our life’s work.

We’re Roompact. We’re not a startup. We’re a small business. And we’re here to stay.