My Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses Story (Part I)

During the spring of 2013, I had the wonderful opportunity to participate in the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses program.  This program is designed to give business owners the skills required to grow and sustain their existing businesses.  And in some cases, it may even open a few new doors.

For me, the journey started before I even knew about the program.  In 1997, I started Rent-A-Nerd, Inc. with little to no business experience.  I had been working in the computer industry for three years prior, but mostly in a sales capacity.  I strategically placed a few signs around the city, and my new business was born.  At first, invoices were handwritten and logged onto a spreadsheet.  This was easy enough for one person.  As the business grew, more employees were hired, accounting and invoicing software was purchased, and the list goes on.  I was working more than ever and I was bringing home a nice paycheck.

However, the things I did not know about being a business owner would eventually come back to haunt me. For you see, I was so busy being a service technician (my own employee), that I did not do the things a business owner should be doing.  I was not on top of the finances, bills were slipping through the cracks and not getting paid, we were not getting new business, I was neglecting new technologies and social media, and my paycheck started getting smaller.

The period between 2009 and 2012 were some rough years for me—both personally and professionally.  Rent-A-Nerd, Inc. was still providing great service, but we were going nowhere as a business.  I was ready to throw in the towel; I thought that I was simply not cut out to be a business owner.  For some of you, especially my employees, this may come as a surprise.

Then, in the middle of 2012, things started to change for me. I met wonderful woman who would eventually become my wife.  Little did I know—at the time—that Charlotte would be instrumental in encouraging me to sign up for the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses program, as well as throughout the process.

In 2013, I met a potential client and we were discussing the issues of being a business owner.  I found that we had much in common.  She could relate to the questions that constantly swirled around in my mind.  How do I get new business?  Where do I find the time to implement new processes?  How can I do all of this and still work in my business?  The potential client informed me about a program that addresses these questions by teaching business owners how to make a well-thought-out growth plan.  She gave me some information and a contact for the Goldman Sachs program.  After a couple of phone calls, I had the application in hand.  With the help of Charlotte, I filled out the application, submitted it, and waited.  Several days later, I received a call and was invited to an interview.  A few weeks later, I found out that I was admitted to the program.  The second best thing to happen to me that year would start that April.

To be continued next week…