Listening to a young entrepreneur describe his situation was giving me a headache and making me smile. The number of false steps, bad financial decisions, poor timing, and inadequate planning was almost unbelievable. Yet in midst of all these problems I was astounded at the number of creative solutions he has implemented to stay afloat. Indiana Jones has nothing on this man. Yet his faith in God and his never say die attitude couldn’t help but make you smile. His drive had kept his businesses alive and if we can keep them alive until the busy season kicks in, he will someday strive.
In this era of people complaining of unemployment benefits running out after two plus years, it is a joy to see that entrepreneurism is still alive. Starting small businesses is beyond hard work and most businesses are not started by MBA’s with nicely done business plans. Most service sector businesses in the under 15 employee range start with a dream and a hope that it will work. Most businesses like this fail because of inadequate planning. The final straw is usually inadequate capital to withstand economic downturns and competitive responses. This was no exception and my headache reflected sheer the number of messes the company had created in two short years.
Yet the “can do” attitude and willingness to keep taking actions had kept this business afloat. For every mess was a creative response. And the more I listened the more my faith grew that I could help him get through his financial crunch. His faith and actions were greater than any mess he described.
The amazing part of his story was that, as his business was struggling, he took on a neighboring business about to close due to a non-entrepreneur running it, and has more than doubled that business in one week. The cash flow is keeping his business alive and protecting his business neighborhood. He went door to door in the business district to offer deliveries rather than waiting for businesses to come to him. He joint ventured with a competitor to make sure the customer had a better selection when he called on them.
So I will help him do MBA-like projections necessary to get some bridge financing and consider myself lucky to have met this young man today. We ended our meeting with a prayer to thank the ultimate backer of both our plans. What a great way to start Valentine’s Day.