To support his company’s growth, Reeve forged a relationship with a small bank early on. It was a fortuitous move. “Those types of organizations are more willing to work with, encourage and help small businesses. Some of the large banks get to the point where they’re so risk-averse that they only want safe things,” Reeve says.
Reeve provided Composite Advantage’s business plan to his personal contact at the bank and routinely keeps the financial institution apprised of upcoming projects that require upfront investments. “They constantly know how we are doing,” says Reeve.
That relationship proved particularly valuable in 2008. “When we were having some bad months through the recession, they were confident and comfortable enough that they didn’t constrain the value of our line of credit,” Reeve says.
No matter how comfortable your balance sheet is today, these entrepreneurs’ stories are potent reminders that every organization is at the whim of market cycles. Planning for a future of ups and downs may seem overwhelming for companies in the beginning stages of growth. It can help to know you’re not alone. Not only are you following a path paved by other entrepreneurs, but there are countless resources available to support small business growth.
“Be involved in composite industry associations such as ACMA and numerous other business groups, as well as business education,” advises Miles.
Kreysler offers another simple piece of advice: Don’t be afraid to make mistakes as they can provide learning opportunities. “I’ve bet the business many times, but part of doing that has to be a willingness to fail and to suffer the consequences, even if it means losing everything,” he says. “If you do things well and thoughtfully, the money will come, and the business will grow.”