Tisha Grannum-Skinner risked it all to become an entrepreneur. In 2007, the married mother of two quit her job as a sales manager for consumer products giant Colgate-Palmolive Co. She raised $100,000 by cashing out her 401(k), taking out a home equity loan, and soliciting contributions from relatives. She then secured an additional $210,000 Small Business Administration 7(a) loan through a bank and, with her husband, opened a Smoothie King franchise in DeKalb County’s Chamblee, Georgia.
“Pretty much all my life I knew I wanted to own my own business,â€ she says. “Once I decided it would be this, it took about two years to take it from conception to reality.â€
Things started out smoothly. In 2007, “our net was about $30,000,â€ says Grannum-Skinner; a decent return, “since businesses never prosper in the first year.â€ At first they easily kept up with the bills, but in 2008, a sinking economy and rising gas prices led customers to forgo smoothies in favor of necessities, such as groceries. Grannum-Skinner began to feel the effects of the weakening economy; soon the franchise struggled to pay its bills. With two full-time and nine part-time employees, rent, and other expenses, the prospects were not looking good. But, accustomed to success throughout her sales career, Grannum-Skinner didn’t know how to use the word quit.
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