a child falls and gets hurt–which may happen–the cameras can show that it was an accident. In this business, there is always a risk that parents will make allegations; we want to be able to show what really occurred. In fact, we have an open-door policy, so parents are always welcome to see how we’re caring for their kids.”
Such constant reinvestment may help enhance operations, but it also can cause cash flow problems. “That was why I sold my house.” Turner says. “I received $150,000, which I needed to get rid of my debt and have capital to expand. But I found out that expanding to four centers was too much; it’s more profitable to operate the two larger ones.” After trimming her operations and establishing her business as a steady profit-generator, Turner went for a ride with her husband, driving by her old house. “We stopped and asked if they wanted to sell,” she says. “A month later we got a call from the owners, giving us first choice to buy it back for $160,000.” Now, Turner reports, things are going so well that the couple are spending their weekends looking for a new home so that they can trade up in the housing market. Even the most dedicated entrepreneur needs to take care of herself, too.
Through trial and error, Turner learned what to do and what not to do when growing a business.
Some of her lessons include:
BE A PROPERTY OWNER,NOT A LESSEE
When you own the building where you do business, you won’t have to worry about crippling rent increases. Property ownership can also help you build your net worth, as it has for Turner.
REINVEST IN YOUR COMPANY
Before putting money into your own pocket, put it back into your business to encourage growth. Turner even went so far as to sell her house when she needed capital.
At the same time, don’t go too far, too fast. With four centers, Turner wasn’t able to give each one the time it needed. After cutting back to the two largest centers, she has been able to manage her business efficiently.