I just returned from a weekly Optimist Club meeting. Continuing on a positive, optimistic note, I'm spotlighting three of my customers representing three vastly different industries who are continuing to succeed in spite of the present economic conditions. To use Dave Ramsey's phrase, these entrepreneurs are choosing not to participate in the recession.
Entrepreneur A has owned and operated a hydroponic greenhouse operation in our town for the past 4 years. Through hard work, diligence, and innovation, he and his family have cultivated a specific niche in the hydroponic greenhouse industry. Two years ago they developed a new product which has allowed them to diversify their customer base and to stabilize cash flow. They have effectively removed seasonality risk in a notoriously seasonal industry. "A" has recently negotiated a deal to supply 275 locations of a nationally-known grocer, which creates the need for additional funding. We've discussed the specifics of the company's funding needs. It is likely that Crescent Bank will find a way to help.
Entrepreneur B is a low-volume residential construction contractor. He built approximately the same number of homes in 2008 that he built in 2005, 2006, and 2007, and he's on track to continue to do so in 2009. I attribute a significant portion of his success to two factors: 1) Superior Quality. DM provides a Cadillac product at a VW price. He is able to do so in part because of his background as a trim carpenter. A larger reason he is able to do so is that he personally supervises all subcontractors. 2) Manageable volume. B always has a contingency plan. He has never taken on a greater amount of construction debt than he can find a way to repay. We closed a pre-sale construction loan for him this week, and he has two prospective homeowners willing to sign presale contracts on two additional homes as soon as they decide which lots to buy.
Entrepreneur C owns a disaster recovery company which is experiencing tremendous revenue growth. The company has been in business four years. Growth has been driven by providing superior customer service to P&C insurance agents who are the most profitable source of referrals. One of the ways he says "thank you" to his agent customers is by providing a tasty BBQ meal to each insurance office once per quarter. The company owns a custom-built, towed smoker and "C" is an accomplished cook.
The best news of all? Each of these smart, honest, capable, hard-driving American entrepreneurs owns either commercial or residential real estate and each is contemplating business expansion in 2009 and beyond. The USA's peculiar and enduring brand of capitalism will prevail over all naysayers.