Young entrepreneur wins award from SBA
Entrepreneurs come in all shapes and sizes, but maybe they all share something in common: "An impeccable, gut-wrenching feeling of doom."
So says Bevan Collard, who has won the Small Business Administration's Young Entrepreneur Award for 2010. He founded his business, Bevan's Precision Alignment, three years ago, taking the leap of faith in his own talent and marketing strategy. He designed and built a mobile rack that could hold big rigs - trucks, motor homes, buses - for on-site servicing.
And, in keeping with the "feeling of doom," he had to put up his house and land as collateral for the SBA loan that made it possible. "Nobody sees that sacrifice," he said of the risk involved in launching a business of one's own. After eight months he was able to establish a permanent maintenance facility in Wellington but still tows his mobile rack across Castle Country and as far away as Salina and Vernal to serve his customers.
Mr. Collard says he was not compelled to start his own business for financial reasons. He had a good job as a mechanic at Nielson Construction and loved it. "I guess I'm just someone who needs to be challenged," he says.
Picking the type of work he wanted to do was easy. He grew up surrounded by mechanics. He even took courses in diesel mechanics from his father, Dean Collard, at the College of Eastern Utah and earned his Associate of Applied Science there in 2003.
Although he's been trained and has experience in just about all aspects of diesel mechanics, he decided to specialize in alignments rather than be a generalist. "You need to have a niche, something solid where people know who to call when they have a specific need," he explains. In other words, there are already plenty of good general repair businesses around, but not many specialists in alignment.
Technically he's still in the start-up phase of a new business, building a customer base and reputation. "It boggles me that I won this award because I'm still struggling," he admits. Nevertheless, his progress so far was enough to convince the awards panel that he earned the recognition.
He has some advice for those who may want to launch their own business: have a support group to prop you up when the going gets tough. Mr. Collard gives credit to his wife and parents for their moral support, which has been vital in keeping his dream alive.