Persistence and creativity help turn your business vision into success


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Last month, the SBA and our network of Resource Partners held a number of workshops, trainings and counseling sessions for Entrepreneurship Month, Veterans Small Business Week and Small Business Saturday. All of these occasions helped to showcase the SBA’s resources and services dedicated to supporting entrepreneurs year-round. And recently, the hard work, ingenuity and talent of America’s entrepreneurs, especially those who are veterans, were fully on display during my recent visit to the Dallas, Texas area.

In Texas, I had the opportunity to meet with Taiga Coolers’ company founders and veterans John Hohenshelt and Adam Artho. Hohenshelt and Artho have built their small business around producing custom-built products right in the Lone Star State. Together, the owners saw a niche in the market for fully customizable coolers made with their clients’ logos and personalized design requirements. However, like most entrepreneurs, they first had to jump over several hurdles to turn their vision into success.

These entrepreneurs quickly learned that storing all the variations of custom inventory for their business was not cost-effective for them or major retailers. They realized that what they needed was a way for a customer to directly give them their specifications for an order by using an on-demand kiosk. Their problem was that the cost of developing a custom kiosk with a contractor would be roughly $60,000. That’s when the skills they learned from their military training – including persistence and creativity – kicked in, and as Chef Robert Irvine recently wrote about, they worked backward from the goal to take Taiga Coolers to the next level.

After securing funding through an SBA backed loan and the use of their skills and knowledge, the veteran-owned business was not only able to fabricate the metal to build their needed kiosk, but one of their founders also taught himself how to code so the business could create the operating system for it. These efforts took a lot of skill and time but proved to be a worthwhile endeavor. Today you can now walk into retailors and design the product you want to buy through their kiosks, which can be shipped directly to you within a week.

Stories like Taiga Coolers illustrate why America’s veterans are 45% more likely to be self-employed and they show us why our nation’s entrepreneurs are the best in the world. There are countless stories like Taiga Coolers across the country, and they remind us that our small businesses are still the drivers of innovation in our economy. More and more, American entrepreneurs are utilizing technology to compete in their industry sectors and the SBA is there to support those efforts to help start, grow, or expand their small businesses throughout America.

Taiga Coolers is now looking to expand the number of countries that sell their products internationally and continue to develop their products for their loyal customers. As we enter a new decade of small business opportunities, it’s important to remind ourselves of the unique and unmatched qualities our nation’s entrepreneurs bring to the table. At the SBA, we remain focused on helping our nation’s small businesses start, grow and expand their operations domestically as well as through exporting opportunities. Under President Trump, small business optimism has consistently sustained high levels, and it’s our goal at the SBA to continue helping entrepreneurs thrive in today’s and tomorrow’s economy.


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