Oh man, it's been so bitter cold up here and no snow to show for it! Weather, you're an asshole.
Tomorrow I have one more meeting with the Small Business Development Center to finalize my business plan and help me make the next steps in finding funding. My contact fellow there, Howard, is really great. He's a Vietnam veteran with a kind but no nonsense approach to taking care of business. He seems to like me and thinks I have a good chance at getting the financial backing I need. He's already given me some great advice for who to contact and I'm really excited about the next few weeks. He said that once I send out the plans, I'll probably hear within ten days of the banks' and loan funds' receipt. The only thing getting in my way right now are the holidays and my timetable is such that that is no true issue.
I've gotten tremendously positive feedback concerning my business plan since the course I completed in November. I just spoke to one of the judges tonight and he said not to be discouraged since I didn't win or place. (Apparently I came in fourth out of fifteen. Mike and my friends are more excited about that than I but that's neither here nor there.) He said my enthusiasm was apparent and my presentation was exceptional. That's awesome except I'm not going to be making presentations to the banks or loan funds. All that happens is some poor schmuck is going to get a cover letter and bound presentation to sort out. Happily, I've been told the plan is well written and to beef up certain portions- which I've done.
One awesome thing that I must share with you all is that one of the panelists is a banker and she LOVED me. She fought for me the whole way through the debate. And according to Howard could be instrumental in my future. Being the biggest point of contention, I kept the judges there for a while. I guess cause problems is what I do very well? There was a debate over my location and I just had really strong competitors. Things I learned? To add color to my presentation; to spice-up the section titles; and have more about me as a manager. Things I think I can do.
The classes I've taken have me feeling fairly prepared. There are many questions I have, that can't be asked or answered until I'm in the middle of them, but I know that I can reach out to the new contacts and friends I've made here in the Albany book world. I still have to introduce myself to local booksellers in other towns. It's a small, tight-knit community that I really can't wait to be a part of.