Taking a risk in a down economy

Posted by Bryan Henry  -  bio | email

MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - In a relatively small room at the Greenville Area Chamber of Commerce, Billy Jones is thinking big and bold.

"I think it would be something the people need," said Jones.

Laid off 19 months ago Jones was among a handful of people looking, listening and learning about what it takes to start a business. Mr. Jones is considering a medical supply operation.

"Things like wheelchairs, beds and walkers," said Jones.

Starting a business is not for the timid. That's why Adelaide Wood and her partner from the University of Alabama's Entrepreneurship Institute advised people like Jones to do their homework, a mistake so many make considering more than 50% of new businesses fail within the first three years.

"They don't think about the hidden expenses. For example, like a household budget we sometimes don't think about the laundry service or yard service," said Wood.

Part of the free seminar today included being introduced to books written by people with real world experience and learning the ins and outs of getting started such as money management.

Jones admits he's a little nervous.

"All it takes is one bad decision to ruin me, you know," said Mr. Jones.

While Billy Jones debates the pros and cons of doing something he's never done before, 3 new businesses are up and running in Greenville. They opened last month. That means the owners took the  plunge. Billy Jones on the other hand needs more time to test the waters.

Jones says he considers himself a methodical man, thinks things through and probably will make a decision this year.

Billy Jones is starting over at 54.

The University of Alabama started its entrepreneurship institute 3 years ago. It primarily targets rural areas of the state, giving potential business owners advice on how to get started.

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