Lessons Learned in Small Business: “never put all of your eggs in one basket”

Lessons Learned in Small Business
Written By: Tonja Witmer

My husband was a ceramic tile mechanic for 14 years and I was an administrative assistant for 10 years. After a lot of thought my husband and I decided to start our own business in September of 2001. He had his own tools and truck and I had a computer. We had $3,000.00 in savings. We had two small children at the time and were extremely scared once that weekly paycheck stopped, but proceeded on. We came up with a name, acquired a federal identification number, purchased a fax machine, and established business insurance. I made up an introductory business letter, business cards, and began making phone calls to contractors in the yellow pages for contact names and their fax numbers. I faxed thirty letters to all different contractors. We got a couple of responses and some jobs but one of the builders was extremely busy building new homes, back in the good old days. We decided to make that builder top priority and everyone else we pretty much let go to the waist side. We never knew what was about to hit us. All of a sudden in 2005, we started getting less and less job orders with this builder and red flags went up so we ask them if we needed to start looking for other contractors and they just kept saying that it will pick back up. They were loyal to us for four years so we didn’t do anything different and then bam, they had no more work for us. We were scrambling, we had a mortgage, bills to pay and growing children. We went three months with no work. I was faxing letters out to everyone including remodeling companies. For four years we had only done new construction and that was coming to an end so we had to expand. Finally after the three months, we gained a couple of contractors, and I stress “couple” who kept us busy. Lesson learned “never put all of your eggs in one basket”. We are still in business today and going strong even through the recession.

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