Entrepreneurial Dreams
A World Gone Awry

In our grandfatherís time near the beginning of the 20th century there was little to worry about when it came to pursue a dream of starting a small business and having it bloom into bigger and better things or maybe just leaving it stay at a level the was just enough to keep body and soul together. Hard work and perseverance along with the idea that one gained the respect of clientele that were neighbors and friends. Each one was just as important as the other. It took a little capital; a little know how to make a go of it. Sometimes change isnít as good as it is thought to be. Mom and Pop businesses thrived during the first part of the 20th century. Competition was a healthy thing.

As time changed things so did the idea of a dream little business where customers were familiar to proprietors and a smile could be counted upon with each transaction. Big business moved to change that ideal and it has become more difficult for the small business people to compete on the same level. We see very little in the way of minor businesses that survive over a long period of time. Large concerns such as Wal-Mart undercut the prices of the small business people, but offer little in the way of customer support for the merchandise they sell. This is where the small businessman can compete. Classes and instruction is the biggest part of what holds the customer coming back to the small shops where they may have paid more for that big-ticket item but service and instruction make it more worthwhile.

The business dream of this writer was to own her own fabric shop and sell sewing machines. When one day the opportunity presented itself to me from a woman who owned an established business that I frequented. I went into it with all the vigor and excitement of a child on Christmas morning as the gifts are opened and awed. I was very naïve, I started with absolutely no education as to how to run a business but I had retail experience and I was confident I could learn the rest as time progressed. My husband had owned a business and there seemed to be no barriers to reaching my goal. We committed ourselves to the deal and started out great. We had very little capital and soon made it grow quickly. We acquired a sewing machine dealership with the business and also a knitting machine dealership. My husband was my mechanic and we serviced what we sold as well, and when he got hooked on the knitting machines my husband became the teacher and taught the classes for them. I hired a teacher for the sewing machines till I could learn what I needed to take over the classes for them. To me, it seemed like I was on top of the world I had reached my goal.

The first year was a good one and we retained many of the clientele of the former owner. We put in many long hours into the life of the business but as time went on the economy fell and our business began struggling. We did all we could to keep it afloat but we didnít see the slow time coming and didnít budget for it. We lost our dealership for the sewing machines and we finally had to close. We lost my dream and our self-respect, along with that our monetary gains. There seemed to be nothing but trouble ahead for us. it took a long time to recover our losses, some of which we never will recover, and to finally find a life we could live almost comfortably. Even though I lost that dream I still learned many things and became all the wiser for the experience.

To those who are considering going into a small business of their own, I say this to you. Do your homework. Make sure you know what youíre doing and check out the market for the type of business you plan to begin. See that the location is a good one, check out the competition and see that you have all the contacts you need to keep it going. Most of all hire a good accountant. (I didnít). Work with a budget and stick to it. Do not try to grow too quickly it can only get you into trouble. Seek out those who have been in business and can counsel you to make the best decisions. Have everything in place before you commit to your dream financially and most of all be prepared to put all your time and sweat into making a go of it. It takes more that just a dream to make things happen in this case. There are no shortcuts in the world of business.


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