The American Dream

A little over 3 years ago two young men stopped me as I was walking into a local restaurant (they worked in an adjacent strip mall business and had apparently done some R&D). Despite some initial awkwardness, they politely told me they had a business plan they wanted to pursue and asked if I would spend a few minutes one day going over it with them.  Unsure what this was really all about I had some reservations, but I admired their “chutzpah” so I gave them my business card and agreed to meet the following week.

They showed up at my office — on time — and hurriedly began pulling numerous small pieces of paper out of their pockets and started walking me through their idea (retail services business), their math, their research (product and location) their execution timetable and their financial needs.  They also discussed the impediments to success, the controls they would use to minimize these risks, and the “learnings” they obtained in this same field while working for someone else that made them better prepared to succeed in this endeavor.

What they lacked in classic book smarts they more than made up for in hustle and street smarts.  I also admired their energy and passion.  As the saying goes “looks can be deceiving”, and I was frankly blown away by what these two guys had pulled together and thought through.

They needed $8,000 of start-up capital and were prepared to accept whatever terms I proposed.  I’ve been blessed and I quickly reflected back on all the folks that had taken a chance on me.  After this one conversation, I decided to make a bet on them.  I gave them $10,000, took copies of their driver’s licenses as my “collateral”, shook their hands and made them look me in the eye and promise me three things:

— That I’d never have to chase them for payment

— That they’d never tell anyone where the funding came from, and

— That one day after they became successful they would they would remember this moment and do the same thing for someone else.

Next month these two guys will have paid back 100% of the loan in complete compliance with our loan terms.  Hands down they are the easiest folks I do business with and its been a pleasure to see them build a business from the ground up.  This really is the American Dream.  Its nice to see it work.  Congrats to J and D.

Find someone to take a chance on.  Cheers.  DC

PS — By the end of the year they will have 3 locations open — the 2 new ones funded by cash flows from the single initial storefront which we funded.  Makes me smile.

About dougcurling

a compassionate capitalist
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