What does it feel like to lose your dream? To put your heart and soul into building a community of like-minded team members, and loyal clients, only to have it ripped out from under you? I experienced it, as many business owners do, and it feels shitty! As an entrepreneur, your business is your baby and you’ll do anything to save it, but nobody else will die for your dream. You find out if you truly have grit, if you truly have real love for your business, when you refuse to quit because you believe from the depth of your soul that your business must stay alive. You do everything in your power to save it and you are the last person to leave the sinking ship. One of the most important lessons I’ve learned, is loving your people and building deep relationships is the key to saving what might not otherwise be saved.
During the financial crisis in 2008, AXIS was on it’s last leg, with two locations that would not be profitable in any foreseeable future. At that time, we were lucky to have been in the hands of Lighthouse Capital, with Rick Stubblefield at the helm. He was a great mentor to me and we got to know each other well over the years we spent together. It would have been no skin off his back to shut down the company and move on, but it would have destroyed our entire team. Because we had a good relationship, Rick gave me a rare opportunity to buy out Lighthouse Capital; I could own AXIS/my dream without investors, with no strings attached. He took a risk because he knew I had the heart to keep it going, but he also cared about me and he cared about our team, because we spent time building a strong relationship. January 9th, 2009 was the official start of APT, or AXIS Personal Trainers as we know it, which looked much like the AXIS of 1996 when we first started the company. It was with love, grit, and caring that brought us to the thriving business AXIS continues to be today.
Putting your heart and soul into your business is a must for everyone building something great, but taking the time to build deep relationships is something that will inevitably save your business when you need it the most.