Seeing Opportunity… Part I


“Hey Pete, I’ve got a couple business ideas I’d like to run past you… when can we talk?”

The year was 1986, and I was in the final planning stages of launching a company that would soon come to dominate the staffing landscape in this area for much of the next twenty years.

Of course, no one knew that then… the only thing I was sure of was that I had belief in our team, and what we were about to do.

And Pete? Well… I had two items on the agenda when I met with him.

First, I felt he had excellent people skills and thought he’d make a great addition. The question was whether he could envision leaving the security of the job environment to lay it all on the line in a business of his own.

He couldn’t.

So I brought up point number two. I needed to raise about a quarter of a million dollars, but at twenty-six years old, my only assets were my strong will and a handful of great ideas… oh yeah, and a 1976 Ford F100 pickup that looked like it had hit a couple of trees… because it had.

Ahhh, the memories… but I digress.

One thing was certain… because I was in no position to dictate terms, I was willing to allow people to invest at whatever level they were comfortable.

I was also, for that matter, willing to pay whatever interest rate I needed to pay… and if Pete wasn’t interested in coming to work on the project, I thought, maybe he was interested in investing.

He wasn’t… no one was.


Well… almost no one.

The first $10,000 was the most difficult… but there is always money available to back good works. Then came a boost to $70,000 and then $170,000 more. All on a signature… and my promise to repay.

And repay we did.

In fact, we paid it down early… in effect giving a premium on various portions of the money borrowed. Yes, it was a good investment for those who saw the opportunity… but what about those who only saw the risk?

Well, interestingly enough… many of them found a way to stay in the information loop. I guess they were always wondering what would have happened if they had gone ahead with it.

Especially Pete… and thirty-three months later as we paid off the remaining debt, he found out.

At that time, he made the comment that if I ever ran into another business opportunity that he could be part of… he’d REALLY appreciate it if I’d tell him about it. I said I would.

And ten years later, I did…


Photo Credit:

Chi King

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