Going out of business vs. going for it

Every day, newspapers and magazines (the ones that are left, anyway) tell the new but familiar tale of a company that is cutting back severely or closing altogether. Just today, PDN relates a story of a wedding and portrait photographer in Pennsylvania who’s filing for bankruptcy after 21 years in the business.

If you know where to look, though, there’s a lot to be inspired by. Today, there was a story in The New York Times about—stay with me now—a mechanic who nearly packed it in because business was so slow. His financial obligations were so overwhelming, he had all but decided to sell his East Harlem shop and move his family to Florida..

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“This is what panic can do: inspire near-manic bouts of excellence.”

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Then he had a flash of creativity. He’d observed that his contact at AAA, from whom he was trying to win a contract that would keep his fledgling towing service afloat, was none too impressed with the state of his grimy garage. So rather than finalize plans to move to the Sunshine State, he completely changed direction and invested in a facelift for his shop. Thanks in part to some fresh paint and a waiting room stocked with fresh baked goods and a plasma TV—plus a good measure of persistence—his plan worked and, reports the Times, he now has “more than enough” business to remain in New York. “This is what panic can do: inspire near-manic bouts of excellence,” notes the Times’ Susan Dominus.

Closer to home, Doug Menuez is offering advice on how photographers can keep themselves in the game. In his latest column at Resolve, he’s just written about how to get a small business loan and what to do with it once you do get it. Doug understands his audience and writes about business in a way that even the most right-brained among you will find not just comprehendible but interesting. And amusing.

“When I first heard about the SBA [Small Business Association] in 1993, I was technically bankrupt, having spent my life savings on my first book project. I won’t deny that learning to create spreadsheets and to write marketing and sales stuff was a nightmare. Like being stabbed in the eye over and over.”

At the time, Doug was desperate for a small business loan of $100,000 that would make all the difference between failure—which was unimaginable—and his ability to both maintain and develop his business. He got the loan, and you know the rest. In a way, now that he’s long since paid it back, Doug is spreading the wealth via his column. He’s even taking questions on how to run a photo business. You can find him here.

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