West Points

Friday, November 19, 2010

The Joy of My Job

By Loyd Hambrick
Chief Operating Officer

A privilege - Today I had the opportunity to do something few people have the privilege to do and the results are the reason I do what I do. For the past several months, I have been working with an individual committed to pursuing a dream of starting a business; today was the first meeting with potential lenders. Many don’t realize the work that must be completed prior to that first meeting and Joe (not his real name) was no different. What is unique is his commitment and his teachable spirit.

The plan - The first drafting of his business plan was destined for the circular file as it required a great deal of work from the reader, in this case a lender, to find any reason to support the plan. I’m sure it wasn’t easy for Joe to hear my comments and suggestions but he was extremely teachable, a trait absolutely necessary for the process of business consulting to work, and he went back to work. Eager to make changes in his approach, he took the instruction I gave and came back with a totally different focus in his plan. There were still several changes that needed to be made and I’m sure Joe wondered what he had gotten himself into, but he never backed down. In addition to seeking help from West Company, Joe sought out industry-specific counsel because though he is experienced in the industry, he recognized he doesn’t know it all. Working many times late into the night, Joe produced a plan worthy of submittal for loan consideration.

The meeting – Having the opportunity to sit alongside someone willing to dream and fight for his dream is truly an honor. Listening to Joe answer the many questions asked by four different lenders, it was evident he had done his research and was confident with his plan but then I knew that already. I was very glad I had been honest with him through our many sessions, had insisted he be confident with his plan, and that his projections were based on reality and not some pie-in-the-sky belief. I remember and shared with the committee how Joe’s realization that these projections translated into his ability to pay his bills and support his family of five drove his desire to "get real". Every question the lenders asked, and there were many, Joe did not hesitate and always had a good sound answer. It was great fun to watch!

The result – It is a great feeling to walk out of a potentially disappointing meeting confident in the performance! After receiving a unanimous decision from the committee to move forward with underwriting, we were both on cloud nine. I encouraged Joe, “We still have a long way to go, but you should celebrate the accomplishment of this goal! You have done a very good job!” Today’s mission was not for his plan to be approved but rather submitted for underwriting and that is exactly what happened!

The joy – I have several times sat in front of lenders and weathered the barrage of questions; having the opportunity to support someone daring to dream is much rarer and a feeling I will never forget. I am grateful for Joe’s teachable spirit and his willingness to allow me to help. Thanks, Joe. Stay tuned for further updates and the Grand Opening!

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