Steve Clark, President and CEO of Company Capital Inc, will be making special appearances on this blog from time to time. Having started some 14 small to medium sized businesses over the years, some of which grew into large businesses (case and point – Money Mart), Steve is a wealth of knowledge when it comes to the hard work, dedication and frustrations of owning your own business. He’s jumped through the hoops of traditional bank financing, spent countless hours pouring over budgets, gone into debt and needed an alternative. Sound familiar? Steve Clark offers a first hand look into the challenges and successes of business ownership. Looking for specific industry information or have a topic you’d like input on? Please don’t hesitate to email your questions. In the mean time, here’s a look into how it all started.
“Is it possible to start a business on $1,100 or $16,500 and survive? Maybe not nowadays but once upon a time it was. Today you need the cash flow to carry you through the start up, growth, opportunities and emergencies that come along. If every company had all the capital it could ever need from the beginning, there would be fewer businesses, causing in less competition, creating no motivation to improve an existing service and eventually resulting in a significantly smaller number of truly successful companies out there. Starting a business takes hard work and usually a period of struggling … heck Microsoft was started in a garage!
I started my first company with $1,100 in 1972. At 19 years old, my buddies were either going to school or joining the military. I had just flunked out of community college so thought I would try starting a business a good friend had learned about in Denver Colorado. It was a service business so start up capital could be supplemented with many long working hours. Obviously, with only $1,100, I didn’t have the money to pay people so I worked the 82 hours a week we were open. Every hour, every day. The company provided detailed residential rental information in Edmonton. The Alberta oil economy was just cranking and residential rental properties were hard to find, you needed help. The idea was great and the timing was perfect. All I needed was to be open thirteen hours a day, seven days a week. I made up for the lack up capital by killing myself working long hours. In my first year I made $32,000 and the second was over $102,000. All from $1,100 and keep in mind that was 1972!”