Prepared with a Game Plan
By Deborah Jeanne Sergeant
|According to Kamerion Wimbley, defensive lineman for the Tennessee Titans in the NFL, “Every person who's an entrepreneur will have successes and failures, and you have to learn from your failures.”|
You may soon need to make some tough decisions about your business, whether because of the economy or changes in your life. The decision could include shuttering the business and opening another. It's important to develop an exit plan. Kamerion Wimbley, defensive lineman for the Tennessee Titans in the NFL, has spent a decade planning for his future retirement from the gridiron. A serial entrepreneur, Wimbley founded several successful—and varied—businesses, including barbershops, restaurants, real estate investment company, dog kennel, marketing firm, and car detailer.
Home Business Magazine® recently spoke with Wimbley about his best tips for new entrepreneurs and making smart financial and business decisions in a tough economy.
Home Business Magazine (HBM): You're a serial entrepreneur. What are your best tips for home business owners to achieve entrepreneurial success?
Kamerion Wimbley (KM): Study and keep your attention on whatever it is you're going into. Build a good team. The team needs to know what it's doing They need to be people you can trust and people you can work well with. I don't have a lot of time for managing [my businesses], so I put a lot of trust in people I hire to manage my businesses. I can't necessarily attend to [the businesses] while I'm in season. We swap ideas on how we can improve and deliver a better product.
I spend a lot of my downtime studying different businesses and learning from a lot of entrepreneurs when I'm not playing football. They can help me evaluate different ventures to see if they'll work. I was aggressive with my initial investments, trying to hit a homerun each time. But now, I'm stepping back and being more patient, giving them due diligence.
HBM: When the economy is tough, how do you decide what kind of business to start?
KW: I tend to go with things people need. Obviously with the barbershop, people will need haircuts regardless of the economy. In a down economy, I choose businesses that don't require a lot of start-up cash or a cash injection on a regular basis. They might need some initially, but not often after. Rental of properties is a good business in a down economy as people struggle with mortgages.
HBM: How should entrepreneurs formulate an "exit plan" for their current businesses?
KW: The NFL has done a great job in giving players information on how to go to a second career after football and how to invest their money while they're playing to ensure when their career is over, that they have something else in place to fall back on. One of the big things the NFL does is promote education in different fields. I took a business course at Stanford University, and it puts you in touch with other players who want to be entrepreneurs and resources, as far as other people who are versed in different entrepreneurial areas, and people who have experience in starting businesses and helping entrepreneurs. You can get in touch with professors who are very open and give you their contact information. They bring in people who have started different companies.
HBM: What about people who aren't savvy about raising capital?
KW: Partnerships can be very big. The relationships you cultivate can help. If you put together a business plan that makes sense and that you can present to other people, they may be able to help you out, especially if you're short of cash. Angel investors, perhaps, may help. You may not have to go through a traditional bank. If you're not able to secure funding, you can get up under someone who has experience, learn from that person, and work your way up.
HBM: Why is investing in the community important for entrepreneurs, both personally and for the sake of their businesses?
KW: It's part of my upbringing. People around me gave to me. If you're ever in a position to help others, it's important to do so. It's good for your company. It helps your brand. It's the right thing to do at the end of the day.
HBM: What is your home office like?
KW: It's not elaborate. I do a lot of business transactions from my phone and laptop. I do have some bookshelves and desk at home. The books are on business, investing, and self-improvement. HBM
When he's not playing football, Wimbley and his wife, Monicha, and their daughters, Meghan, 5, and Maliah, 2, make their home in Tampa, Florida.
Deborah Jeanne Sergeant writes from her home office in Upstate New York. Visit her online at www.skilledquill.net.