I recently had a reader correct me in referring to my start up as a “small business,” which described as a “micro business” due to the number of accounts and annual dollar amount the first few years.

I readily admit to being undercapitalized those first few years and invested a lot of sweat equity since I had more time than money to invest. I remember approaching a bank about a small business loan or line of credit and was politely escorted out of the building. Although it was humiliating at the time, it forced me to rely on myself and not get into debt.

I will admit to milking a few credit cards for startup costs for new accounts and even had to use them to cover insurance and other expenses when a customer was slow to pay (or didn’t pay at all which occurred a few times over the years). This was before being able to use a search engine, smart phones or even the Internet. Our high-tech toys were beepers/pagers, fax machines, DOS computers and the large bag phones which gave us accessibility that helped us compete with the big guys.

My advice to you is to avoid debt like the plague and beware of all the wonderful credit cards that will be thrown at you. Develop and manage a budget for the business and personal expenses. Learn to live within your means even if it means sacrificing large vacations (think two week cruises to the Caribbean) as well as trying to satisfy all your children’s desires. We learned early on to take mini-vacations to local sites, made our own sandwiches for picnics and made other cost saving decisions that helped us stay in budget.

While others were going to Disney World, we went to local state parks and other free stuff. My daughters still rave about the great adventures they had walking the woods and spotting owls, eagles and gopher turtles. They never felt that they were sacrificing anything since we learned how to have a good time at low cost.

Manage your money or it will manage you.

Your comments and feedback are always appreciated. I hope to hear from you soon. Until then, keep it clean...

Mickey Crowe has been involved in the industry for over 35 years. He is a trainer, speaker and consultant. You can reach Mickey at 678-314-2171 or CTCG50@comcast.net.