Seeing Saving And Earning As A Small Business

By: Chidi Akomas

Who doesn't dream of owning their very own business? My cousin John is a successful small business owner, making a tidy profit off of ownership of a chain of restaurants in Chicago. He is living the American dream, you might say, but getting to that point was like a nightmare.

I used to work for him when he opened his first restaurant. It's been a tradition in my family to own small businesses or at least to try. My dad ran a small construction company, my uncle ran a furniture store, but times were so lean that neither of them had any work for me. I was in highschool, and there wasn't much for me to do but follow the mind-numbing American tradition of flipping burgers that summer, until John called me.

At the time, he showed off, pretending he had charmed the money to start the business out of a bunch of wealthy investors. Now I know that he probably just got a small business license, but I was so taken by his finesse growing up, that I believed him. The first month of work was just getting the shack he rented up to health code. There were birds nesting in the walls and rats in the floor, but finally it was sparkling clean and ready for business.

The first week, nothing worked out. Opening day was deserted, the fryer broke, the power even went out once for six hours! It seemed our small business had a small run. All summer we spent just trying to get the place on its feet. Finally, I had to go back to school.

So what worked for John? Plain old persistence. He worked day and night, flyered the town, sent out circulars, and made connections everywhere he went. There was never a big breakfast but rather, a series of little ones which added up to success. He was featured once in the entertainment section of the local newspaper. He sponsored a little league team, and found his place soon patronized not only by them, but by several of their rivals every week after practice. Soon he was opening up a second restaurant on the other side of town, and then a third. It took him years of hard work, and twice he almost went under. But he's always told me that hard work just made the success that much sweeter.

Money Management
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