Interview Report School Interview report: The purpose of this assignment is to examine in more depth the risks, rewards, challenges and opportunities of operating a small business. This paper summarizes the interview with John Meredith, and provides insights into the factors controlling the success of small businesses. Meredith used to work as a firefighter in Richmond, Indiana before he started the Saver Systems. Originally, when he was working as a firefighter, so he frequently happened to sweep the chimneys. When he did that, he noticed that there were a lot of problems that where inherent in most chimneys which included but were not limited to the faulty design of the chimneys, and lack of conformity between the design specifications and construction.
So he started to work with a chemical company in Oklahoma to develop some products specifically for chimneys. Later, he started privately labeling and distributing them and then in 1991, he brought on a full-time chemist and then started to add to that by developing and manufacturing his own products. Right now, Saver Systems makes a lot of water proofing for chimneys and wood stains for log homes (Defy) and decks for architectural contractor use.
This company also makes water repellents. Instead of making paint, they make the insulators’ products that paint companies don’t make well. In addition to that, the company makes water proof mastic’s and flashing repair and concrete repair products. Meredith’s business evolved as a consequence of about four years of continuous struggle and hard work that he did to identify objective solutions for the problems experienced by people in the masonry chimneys including leakage problems. Meredith had to approach and work in close collaboration with the experts in the academia and industry.
Organizations that helped included the Brick Institute of America, the Masonry society and the Portland Cement Association. It is a big deal to seek time and attention from such busy people and make the meetings productive enough to develop products at the end of the day, that are of immense use to the society. Therefore, in order to evolve as an entrepreneur, one needs to put in a lot of hard work.
Meredith considers hard work an inherent feature of entrepreneurship. At one point in the interview, he defined an entrepreneur as “Someone who works ninety hours a week to avoid working forty hours a week for someone else”. It takes a lot of stamina and patience. “Entrepreneurs are not easily discouraged” (Schramm cited in Petrecca, 2010). The first and the foremost challenge an entrepreneur is exposed is of the management of cash. There has to be adequate cash flow particularly in the initial four to five years as they are very intensive in terms of cash flow.
To achieve this, the entrepreneur must have stable and reliable sources of funds identified at the outset. Starting a new business is a risky process as on the entrepreneur’s part, as it requires him/her to be determined and consistent. Good business takes time to evolve. Still, not all businesses grow with time. It depends to a large extent upon the entrepreneur’s fortune. If circumstances are unfavorable, and the business does not yield the intended benefits, the entrepreneur’s time, money and often repute are at stake. However, if the business turns out to be successful, rewards included profitability, success and psychological satisfaction.
Another factor that carries immense tendency to destroy the business is the influence of generations on it. Originally, the person from the first generation starts the business in a certain way following certain principles that become the secrets of the company’s success. The following generations tend to run the business in their own ways and often have inadequate knowledge or understanding of the fundamental principles that helped the first generation take the business to the level where it stands.
While it is advisable for the future generations to gain proper schooling and education in business, it is equally important for them to have a thorough understanding of the history of the business and the principles adopted and implemented by the previous generations. For Meredith, the rewards include being able to help customers in general and the home owners in particular solve chimney leaks problems. Customers who are the contractors that install the products bought from the Saver Systems are rewarded financially in the market place.
It is also rewarding for Meredith to see the organizational personnel grow as professionals. The trust of customers gained by the Saver Systems for the quality of its products is indeed, the biggest reward any entrepreneur can think of. The first time Meredith was able to assist the Indiana chimney sweep in solving the leakage problem was the biggest success of the Saver Systems, as a reward of which, the name of the company spread in the market which resulted in the expansion of the product line. To start a new business and make it successful also requires the entrepreneur’s passion which fundamentally drives his/her motivation to chase the goals.
However, for an entrepreneur to be successful, there are certain things that need to be taken serious care of. The entrepreneur must have done sufficient homework on such aspects of the business as demography, capital required, sources of capital and the insurances involved. Alongside, the entrepreneur needs to assess how much time he/she can reserve for his/her personal life apart from work. Outright and rational assessment enables the entrepreneur to make informed decisions along the way.
Every business has an obligation towards the society. While a business is meant to be profitable for the entrepreneur, it needs to play a positive role in enhancing the economic strength of the country. Small businesses have a huge contribution in the national economy. Particularly, in the contemporary society, when the notions of corporate social responsibility and green working are being much emphasized upon, entrepreneurs are expected not only to be more ethical in their works, but also make the world a better place to live in by producing useful services and products.
The Saver Systems achieves this by providing people with high quality and cost effective solutions for their masonry chimneys. References: Petrecca, L. (2010, Mar. 26). Facing the challenges of starting a small business. USA TODAY. Retrieved from http: //www. usatoday. com/money/smallbusiness/startup/2010-01-29-facing-challenges_N. htm.