Small businesses are at the heart of every community. At Univest Bank and Trust Co., we have the privilege of working with local small businesses. Whether they are starting a new business, growing their existing business or expanding to a new facility, we’re honored to be their partner and help them on their journey to success. That’s why we’re kicking off our small business series highlighting a few of our small business customers. They will discuss what inspired them to take the leap and start their own business, bumps they hit along the way and advice they have for other entrepreneurs.
Employee to Entrepreneur
After working in the modular furniture industry for more than 20 years, Jack and Bettina, who worked in marketing and business development, decided to take the risk and open their own business. With Jack’s good reputation, he had many loyal contacts and references including a client who was willing to support their goal of opening a business. Plus, he had a crew lined up who had encouraged him to start his own company for years.
They started the business in 2008 during the middle of a recession when businesses weren’t willing or able to spend money on new furniture installations. Jack and Bettina initially found challenges to find the right individuals specializing in legal, accounting, technical support and financial solutions in which to partner to ensure their business would be successful. When they started the company, they tried to avoid having a lot of overhead. Instead, they decided to build slowly and used personal finances. In addition, they worked with their bank to ensure payroll would always be covered. Then, they obtained a line of credit and borrowed money to purchase trucks.
With the knowledge they have today, Jack and Bettina advised, “Go to a bank first and try to avoid using your own personal finances when you can. We should have applied for a loan to use for our startup funds rather than using our personal finances. Find a bank that shares your ideals and understands your type of business needs.”
When asked to share any advice for other entrepreneurs, they offered, “Always do what you say you are going to do even if it costs you money. You can’t put a price on your reputation.” They added, “Owning your own business has its challenges but there is nothing more motivating. What you put into it is literally what you get out of it.”
Univest Bank and Trust Co. is Member FDIC – Equal Opportunity and SBA Preferred Lender.