One Million in the Bank

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Gold Medal Best Business and Entrepreneur Book (Nonfiction BookAwards 2015)
Gold Medal Best Financial Book (Nonfiction Book Awards 2015)
Best Business Book (Next Generation Indie Book Awards2016)
1st Place Gold Medal Best Informational Book (Feathered QuillBook Awards 2016)
3rd Place Bronze Medal Best Self- Help Book (Feathered Quill BookAwards 2016)
Eric Hoffer Award Finalist (top 10%) (Eric Hoffer Awards2016)

This is not a get-rich-quick book, but it will tell you how to be a millionaire in 3-7 years.Plus there are 12 inspirational stories of everyday people from all backgrounds, from people with graduate degrees to high school dropouts, and from yard guys to corporate professionals. Really, the only thing they all have in common is that they’ve put $1,000,000 in the bank (or will shortly).
Part I is about how to pick a tried and true business model that you know works, and then how to find the help you need to get started.
Part II is about money: how to find it, how to spend it, and how to save it.
Part III is about the basic sales and marketing skills critical to starting your business.
Lastly, Part IV is about the personal skills critical to maintaining your business. You don’t have to stop at $1,000,000.
You don’t have to stop at one business or $1,000,000. But this book is where you start.

Chapter 1:


The Three Keys to One Million in the Bank





You don’t need a million-dollar idea to make $ 1,000,000. Plenty of everyday businesses, run by everyday, ordinary people, make extraordinary money. You don’t have to come up with the next Facebook or Amazon. You don’t need to be the next Bill Gates or Steve Jobs. You don’t even need a new idea. Every day, thousands of seemingly boring, unremarkable businesses quietly make their owners a lot of money. Mine was one of them. When my partner and I began our company, we didn’t have something new to offer. We didn’t even have an original business idea. We lost confidence in our former employer and decided to use what we had learned to start our own company. We used the same systems, the same approach, and sold to the same market (but not to the same customers— we didn’t take anything from our former employer except the skills we had learned).


After one year, I bought my partner out. Within just three years of that, I had $ 1,000,000 sitting in my bank account. I could tell you all about the perils and pitfalls I had to go through, but that’s not what this book is about. Instead, I’m going to share with you the secrets to doing this for yourself— drawing mostly from how other everyday entrepreneurs have done it (or soon will). The people you’re going to read about have either already put $ 1,000,000 in the bank, have a business they could easily sell for $ 1,000,000, or are solidly on the path to doing so. I have personally interviewed these down-to-earth, average Joes (and Janes) to understand what they’ve done and how they did it. Why focus on their experiences instead of my own? I want to prove to you that whoever you are, you can put $ 1,000,000 in the bank. The way I did it would only show you one way. You could easily dismiss it, calling it a fluke or luck. But the lessons I share in this book are based on the stories of people from all walks of life. From white collar administrators to blue collar machinists to day laborers, from wealthy to wanting, and from every ethnic background— whoever you are, you’re represented in the group of entrepreneurs who form the foundation of this book. Let me show you a great example of what I’m talking about with Frank Nuñez. Born on a farm in rural Mexico (with fourteen siblings), Frank came to the United States without his parents when he was just sixteen years old. For the next seventeen years, he was a yardman. He cut, trimmed, weeded, planted, and did everything else yardmen do.


One day while picking up some shrubs at the local nursery, he fell into conversation with the nursery owner. The man said he was moving and jokingly asked Frank if he’d like to buy the place lock, stock, and barrel. Going along with the joke, Frank asked how much he wanted for it— $ 1,000,000? When the owner said $ 25,000, Frank stopped joking. Even though he had no savings and no collateral, $ 25,000 was within the realm of possibility. Although Frank had never really thought about owning a business before, he was suddenly seriously considering it. He went to every family member, friend, and acquaintance he knew to borrow the money, but could only raise $ 15,000. He showed up with the cash and said, “This is all I could get.” To his surprise, the owner said it wasn’t a problem. He agreed to let Frank pay him the other $ 10,000 out of the nursery’s profits over the next twelve months. They signed the papers, shook hands, and this former yardman was suddenly running Frank’s Nursery in Richmond, Texas. Shortly thereafter, he found out why the business was such a steal. The owner had misrepresented the financials. After doing the math, Frank saw he would be out of operating capital within a few months. He needed an infusion of money.


With all of his friends and family tapped out from their initial loan to him, he had to turn to the banks for help. He went to eleven different places asking for a loan. Every single one of them flat turned him down. At the last bank, though, the loan officer sent him to the local Small Business Development Center (SBDC) for help. The SBDC counselor there helped him organize his financials and other business documents, then helped him prepare a business plan. Frank went back to the last banker, presented his business plan, and secured the loan. Fast forward thirteen years— thirteen years of hard work for Frank and his wife, usually seven days a week, and often in 100 + degree heat. During that time, Frank got his business on solid ground again, repaid all of his family and friends, and reinvested his profits into the business. He steadily expanded. Starting with just half an acre, he grew into adjacent lots, then others nearby, and now occupies fourteen acres maintained by twenty-five employees. Today, his biggest problem is trying to find more land for his growing enterprise. The year prior to our interview, his gross revenue was $ 3,000,000. In fact, just eight years into his business, he turned down an unsolicited offer of $ 9,500,000 for his business, including his real estate— a far cry from the $ 25,000 he originally paid for it. Let’s step back for a moment to look at this again. Frank’s native language is not English.

He didn’t have the opportunity to graduate high school, much less college. He had zero personal capital to begin with, and no prior business experience. In other words, the only things he had going for him were a great work ethic, a trustworthy reputation, and the courage to give it a shot. Yet in just eight years, his nursery business had made him a millionaire. In Frank’s words, “My wife and I have worked very hard… and we have been blessed by God.”


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Michael L. F. Slavin