Last week, I paid a visit to Beaver Street Enterprise Center. If you haven’t heard of this business community resource, I am pleased to tell you about it. In short, it’s a nonprofit organization with the mission to create successful entrepreneurs. It’s the brick and mortar space where a half dozen or more community resources are located to help nurture emerging businesses. Tenants enjoy reduced market rent, technical expertise, and perhaps even more valuable, access to capital. My friend and Small Business Development Center analyst, Kevin Monahan, describes his efforts there as being a “social worker for the potentially rich.”
I usually carve out some time each month to be around this space and interact with some of the tenants. My latest interaction was with Pegine Echevarria, leader, motivational speaker, and founder of Team Pegine, Inc., a consulting, training, and project management firm. As we sat in her office, Pegine proudly showed me some of her work with the Pentagon, where her company single-handedly organized and produced the 50th anniversary Memorial Day tribute event for Vietnam Veterans. Three thousand veterans, President Obama, and heads of state were all in attendance. It was a monumental task with enormous pressure. Since then, Pegine and her team have been instrumental in helping train our armed forces in interacting with different cultures. Team Pegine is growing, and business for them is great!
As many of you will keenly understand, Pegine’s main client, the U.S. Government, issues request for proposals (RFP’s) when they need certain goods and services. Lots of time and effort goes into preparing these packages for review. Usually, the issuer wants to see proof of similar completed work and financial stability.
Looking over her shoulder at the desk behind her, Pegine motions towards a stack of papers. “There they are,” she says. ”It’s out of my hands now.” She is referring to the responded RFP’s totaling nearly 70 million dollars. “Just waiting on decisions,” she says, sighing.
Meanwhile, business must go on. Employees still expect paychecks, and vendors expect their payments. “We are in a bit of a cash crunch now,” Pegine admits. “But this is part of a growing business. So, I’m focusing on an asset I recently completed that I am excited about. It’s a book called Bragging Rights.”
“This book is among my best work,” Pegine continues. “Even though I wrote it, I reread it on occasion to remind myself of key principles essential to the success of teams, organizations, and companies.”
Pegine goes on to tell me of her plan to sell 5,000 books, one at a time. In fact, she launched an entire campaign that, through word of mouth and social media, will help get the message out. Part of the plan is to postdate a check, giving $10,000 to United Way. “It’s not about me,” she notes. “It’s never been about me. Providing opportunity for my employees, empowering leaders, and training 18-year-old kids on how to stay alive in hostile environments is my real motivation.”
So, until our legislators get their act together, this entrepreneur is doing what small business leaders do: being resourceful. Adversity and challenges are part of the maturation process every business must go through. Successful ones evolve with their customers and market conditions. It’s always painful, but necessary. Pegine is learning this lesson right now. Being in the Beaver Street business family will certainly help weather the storm.
If you would like to learn more about Pegine, her campaign to donate $10,000 to United Way, and her book, Bragging Rights, please visit www.pegine.com.
Until next time,