Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Rob Miles, Founder of Thousand Paces Enterprise Inc., located in Choctaw, OK, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
I have two businesses. The first is Thousand Paces. I am a commercial loan & strategy consultant for entrepreneurs focusing on aligning my customer's goals with their business model and then helping them tell their stories to banks for funding. Along the way, I also started an investment company called Thousand Paces Enterprises, in which I invest in franchise opportunities and, eventually, new ventures.
My customers with Thousand Paces are start-ups or growth customers looking to realign their companies with their long-term vision and find funding. I specifically like working with franchises and small family-owned B2B and B2C businesses. My customers with my franchise StretchLab Norman can range from 55 and older, with previous injuries, to weekend warriors like cross-fitters, golfers, or runners.
Tell us about yourself
I worked in commercial banking for several years in Dallas, then moved to Oklahoma for family reasons. I started attending several local networking events specifically for entrepreneurs since I was in a new place and trying to rebuild a banking network. I found a massive problem with entrepreneurs, there were one or two VCs, and no banks would lend to start-ups. Also, when I asked entrepreneurs about their history of approaching banks, they all had horror stories. After meeting with several small businesses, I determined their problem wasn't that they didn't qualify for bank loans; they needed help telling their stories in a way that the bank could provide lending. These companies were masters in their respective fields, like education, engineering, and art but needed support venturing into my field. I started Thousand Paces to help bridge that gap.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
Throughout my career, I have always avoided leadership positions. So when I took on a franchise, I knew I would struggle finding my fit as a leader. When we first opened, I made every mistake in the book on the real estate and management side of things. Morale was low, no one was committed to the company, and I was ready to sell it off and get out of it. I realized my inability as an effective leader was holding the company back, and I decided to reinvest myself into the company. I started by helping my new manager develop a new sales process, incentives program and focusing the company on our mission and values. We are on pace to have the best month we have ever had. I have some fantastic employees dedicated to the mission, and best of all, they care about the well-being of all stakeholders.
What's one of the hardest things that comes with being a business owner?
The imposter syndrome of being a professor of entrepreneurship and an entrepreneur is extremely challenging. I have never met an entrepreneur who didn't have a flaw in their business. Most are very open about it, and it is understood you will go through peaks and valleys. However, it is incredibly challenging to get up in front of a bunch of students and be inspirational when you know your business is struggling like we were initially.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
Start with a very solid plan. Be willing to adapt the plan when it fails while also sticking to your original mission. Stay focused on your mission, values, and target customers.
Where can people find you and your business?
Website (Thousand Paces): https://thousandpaces.weebly.com/
Website (Stretchlab): https://www.stretchlab.com/
If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.
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