This weekend was “almost” like any other weekend as an entrepreneur. On Sunday morning I sat down around 9 am with my cup of coffee ready to start my 15 hour day. Everything was going smoothly until about 11 am, when my laptop started overheating, flashing a message saying “turn this in for service immediately or risk your machine blowing up."
In my business, my laptop is my life, and, I hate to say it, almost my best friend. It’s traveled this country with me. It usually falls asleep on my lap at night, and wakes up at the same place in the morning. Needless to say, there wasn’t time to be emotional. I jumped into my car with my daughter and laptop, and we were off. I was ready to buy another laptop if need be. A few days without my laptop, and many of my clients would feel that their worlds were blowing up,like mine was.
It was Sunday. Ideally I like to support a local small business, but on Sunday the local computer shops are closed. So I debated between Staples and Best Buy, and purely by chance I picked Staples. I stood before the commissioned sales guy at their tech counter, my life (and budget) were in his hands. He didn’t know it, but he could have a new laptop sale on his hands in about two seconds, which would have messed up the rest of my work day (Sunday) as I set it up and transferred all my data.
The tech blew me away. He opened up the back of my machine, and told me a new fan would not be worth it. He asked for my permission to buy a can of air compression for $2.99. I said “sure.” Within minutes he cleaned a bunch of dust out of my machine. Then he recommended a base fan for $9.99 and for about $13 we were on our way home with my laptop in tip top shape.
My new best friend at Staples made my day. He didn’t have to do what he did. I left there thanking him. I was in such a good mood that my daughter got a new pink chair for her room.
My turn into Staples was good luck. If I had gone into Best Buy, it’s possible that I would have left there with a $1000 hole in my pocket and the rest of my day in disarray. Mr Staples saved my day. I wish there was some way to give him a gold star or a crown on his head, so other small business owners could know “good guy here”.
Why am I telling this story on a finance blog? In many cases, when small business owners are looking for or need financing , they have that same feeling I had on Sunday morning. They’re desperate, nervous, and not sure what to do. I got lucky on Sunday morning. But it doesn’t happen all the time.
There are thousands of sticky webs waiting to capture a small business owner out there looking for funding. It could be a branch manager at a local branch of a big bank who has no authority and can’t help, but strings on a small business owner for months while he tries to protect his job. It could be one of the financing leaf generation sites,where small business owners get bombarded with crazy offers and pitches that make no sense for their business. In my instance, my laptop was at stake. It felt like my life, but it really wasn’t . But when it comes to financing – in many cases the entrepreneur's life and dreams are at stake. Their employees' jobs and livelihoods could be at risk.
I wish that everyone looking for a business loan in America had my Staples experience. We try to do the right thing for every client every time at MultiFunding, but we only reach the tiniest fraction of folks in these situations.
How can we make sure that every small business owner has an experience, like I did at Staples, when they have a pivotal/ critical situation on their hands? I know it’s a pipe dream, but if we could find a way, we would all be better off for it.
Thanks again, Mr. Staples. You made my week.