People say that everything has a cost. If that is true, what does a dream cost? As I looked through the last four issues of the Montrose Business Times, I have run across articles and Q&A’s touting the efforts of local business owners.
These business owners started somewhere. Although some may have inherited a family business, even the original owners had to start somewhere. There are many misconceptions about how easy it is to go out on your own and turn a dream into a successful business. Most people believe that you just put a shingle up and you are immediately a wealthy business owner. I’m here to tell you that belief is so far from the truth.
Not only do I have firsthand knowledge as a small business owner myself, but I have close friends locally and in other states that are business owners as well and many of their launch stories start the same way.
For example, a few years ago, I invited a Charlotte, N.C. business owner and friend to speak at a women’s conference here in Montrose. My friend Kelly (barely 40 years old at the time) went on to tell the audience her story of launching a dog bar. Yes, a place that offers dog grooming, doggie day care, a full bar and a sports-themed boutique.
As she is telling her story, you can see the audience look at her in disbelief. Kelly spoke of taking $30,000 out of her savings to launch the company, while she still worked full time to fund it. She further went on to explain that there were times when she would warn her husband not to spend any money because they were down to their last couple hundred dollars in the bank. So, the audience is now thinking, why is she here speaking to us? What does she have to offer?
I could see it on their faces. As Kelly continued to explain the importance of perseverance and not giving up on your dream, she fast-forwarded to 10 years later and explained she had three locations including the property that she owned and 90 employees. You could hear a pin drop in that room. One person even interrupted her to clarify that she said nine-zero employees.
This is just one story of people with a dream making the tough decision to dig into their own pockets to launch organizations that give back to their communities, employ people and contribute to the local economy. Although I have not been as successful as my dear friend Kelly, my start story is similar when I launched Our Town Matters five years ago and now with the launch of the Montrose Business Times. So, when I heard the Small Business Administration (SBA) announced it was making it easier for those with a dream to get access to funding, I was ecstatic for all you fellow dreamers who may now be able to realize their dreams with a little help.
For me, I know that if I had to do it all again, I would not hesitate to launch Our Town Matters and the Montrose Business Times. As for my friend Kelly, she is in Italy as I write this, because someone came along and made an offer that she couldn’t refuse. So, in her early 40s, my dear friend is retired and has decided to use her grit and determination to make a difference in this world.
Now it’s your turn. Share your story and encourage other business owners and entrepreneurs.
Tonya Maddox is publisher of the Montrose