Ok…picking up where I left off, when the opportunity to operate my business out of the Impact Athletics center fell through I was scrambling to find another place. Mind you, I had had back ups all the while

(tip 1). Number 1 backup, if you can even call it that, was the original warehouse I was going to move in to when I first checked out the triangle area. I’m not sure if this option was really fair to call a backup option since it was the original plan and I never let it slip off the radar even when it seemed as if the Impact facility partnership was a lock. The reason I kept pushing forward with this option even while it looked like the multi-million dollar opportunity at Impact was certain is because you NEVER know what’s going to happen (tip 2) and the time lines given by other people are almost always fatally optimistic (tip 3). The guy I’d be working with at this location would also be a good match for what I’m trying to do. I had also been looking for commercial real estate in the Cary area as a second backup. When Impact fell through, options 2 and 3 moved to the forefront. Temporarily. In no time at all though, the managing director from Impact who was going to bring me in (and was laid off when the new company bought operational rights) hustled his ass of to make things happen. He was on the phone, building connections, and exploring all possible alternative options. He wanted to act fast to keep our original plan intact. He was worried that I would go elsewhere and then he wouldn’t have the sports performance company he needs to create a combination medical and sports facility. He also had some other contractors from Impact who had been laid off who would be able to bring their client base with them if he acted fast to open a facility. We made Barnes & Nobles are new office, made up a new LLC, and visited every existing facility that might be interested in collaboration or sub-leasing for a temporary holdover. I appreciated working with him because he knew the business as well as I did, found a way to get things done, and had lots of connections. It really drove home the importance of surrounding yourself with people who complement what you do and do their job well (tip 4). We managed to get in to another facility but as I mentioned in a previous blog, the entire facility had already been leased and the leasors weren’t interested in sub-leasing. Seemingly bad. What happened though is that the owner of said facility tentatively agreed to build another facility from the ground up that would rival anything in the country as a comprehensive center for athletic excellence. Something like this obviously takes time though which means that I’m back to waiting for 6-9 months (also see tip 3 above). So I need a holdover facility. One that I can have for 6-12 months and get out of if necessary if and when the new facility is ready. So I went back to backup plans 1 & 2 from above. Last week I was scheduled to sign a lease and move in to a property but then I pulled the plug and decided to wait til June. Why did I do that after months of waiting to finally get going? Because I looked at my calendar for April, May and June and realized that between my graduation, teaching three USATF Level 1 schools, one USATF Level 2 school, coaching and providing sport science services at USATF National Championships and several other smaller domestic elite track and field meets, and lecturing in Beijing for a week, I would be out of town for 36 of the next 70 days….not exactly the best scenario to have when you want to put up a grand opening sign. In fact, it seemed like business suicide. With that is tip 5: know when to hold.

So that brings me to where I am now. For the first time since I’ve moved to the triangle, I actually have some sense of certainty. I’m not depending on anyone else’s time schedule or facility availability at this point. I’m looking to open doors to a training facility (either the original facility in Apex or another short term lease somewhere) in June once everything has died down enough to make it work. It might be June 1st, might be June 8th…it just depends how much I can get down between all my other commitments to prepare the facility for ‘doors open.’

So to wrap this up, business startups please take away the following:

  1. Have backup plans
  2. Recognize the certainty of uncertainty
  3. Realize that you shouldn’t count on the time tables or promises of others
  4. Surround yourself with good people
  5. Know when to hold