BE Next: Fearless Young Entrepreneurs Reveal Most Valuable Play

added myself last.

Had we gotten the lines and loans when we first got started, we would have been borrowing to get new equipment, to get new trucks, to perhaps get other office space. And looking at the state of the economy right now, not owing anyone is probably the best position any business could be in. However, you do have to structure your growth and work smarter when you’re debt-free. We don’t do business with everyone for that reason. And I think that if we had the credit lines to pull from, we wouldn’t be so conscious. Will we have to incur debt? Yes, eventually. It has absolutely worked for these years, but of course to grow even more we would have to. But now we’re operating in such a fashion that the debt will be a bonus. And it will be used properly.”

All in the Family: Moore may be the owner but she relies on the advice of her father and assistance from her 25-year-old brother, Theodore Jr. “My dad, who’s worked in construction for over 25 years said, ‘Sirena, I can do the service, so if you can figure out the business side, we have a business.”

From the Ground Up: “The same time the market was crashing, we hired eight new full-time people. I thought the economic crisis was a curse, but it’s a blessing because we don’t owe anyone anything.”

She Works Hard for the Money: “Getting our certification in the 8(a) Business Development Program was quite grueling. But it’s a certification you should get, because it introduced us to the government marketplace, which is consistent money, consistent contracts.”

Julius Erving III Age 34
Erving Carter Entertainment L.L.C. (formerly Julius Erving Group)/Atlanta, GA

Type of business: Entertainment management
Employees: 5
Year Launched: 2008
2008 Revenues: $1.5 million (JEG)
Game changer: Knowing when to sell

We were definitely a little hesitant at first, because the offer came to us after only 18 months in business. Is the timing right? Is this the right company? We had a phenomenal offer on the table, but more than the money, we wanted to be in a position to be successful.

The due diligence process took about six months and was a pain. They want to know everything. But it helped us understand our business a little bit more—like where we spend money, how we make money, what our future projections were. It brought structure to the business. And when it was all said and done, the money enabled me to fund projects I was always interested in.

My core business that I handle the day-to-day of is the entertainment company. The best part of it all is getting to see things develop from the very early stages. Every day there’s a different challenge, there’s a different opportunity. So hopefully within the next 18 months, we’ll be doing this all over again. The end-game is always the sell.”

TKO: Erving and his partner, Troy Carter, sold their Philadelphia-based entertainment management company, Erving Wonder, to Sanctuary Records (now a defunct subsidiary of Universal Music Group)

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