Guest Post: Seizing An Opportunity In Disguise

March 19, 2015

This post is republished with permission from Deluxe Corporation’s Cameron Potts, who is spearheading a project that spotlights thriving small businesses across the country. It’s called the Small Business Revolution, and it has produced some pretty stunning work already. Check it out at SmallBusinessRevolution.org.

Andy-Galbach

Tuesday, March 10, was a dark day in Minneapolis for anyone who works for the Target Corporation, but it might also turn out to be a day in which dozens upon dozens of new entrepreneurs were born.

Now, granted, it is hard to think positively when 1,700 people lose their jobs in one massive corporate restructuring at Target. Yet, as history has proven, many small-business ideas are sparked when the axe comes down. 

“I think back to that day I got fired….that’s probably the best thing that ever happened to me.” – Andy Galbach, Owner, Solar Feeders

“I think back to that day I got fired….that’s probably the best thing that ever happened to me.” – Andy Galbach, Owner, Solar Feeders

Andy Galbach can attest: He was fired from a steady-paying job at a sheet-metal business nearly 25 years ago. He was young, but had gained some experience. He wasn’t an entrepreneur, but he had a passion for wanting to be his own boss. Now, without a job, he had the opportunity to prove himself, to see if he had what it took to run his own business.

“I think back to that day when I got fired,” Galbach said. “That’s probably the best thing that ever happened to me. If you can take the chance without hurting your family, do it. If you feel passionate about it and you know you’re the best, take a shot.”

Galbach opened his own sheet-metal business and hustled and worked hard. He attended trade shows, networked in his field and eventually ended up in the right place at the right time. That place was in the path of Hugh Wayman, an innovator and builder who needed a sheet-metal shop to help him build his newest prototype, the Solar Feeder.

With a handshake and the firm knowledge that he could do the job, Galbach began to manufacture Solar Feeders, a solar-powered machine that weighs, sorts and dispenses feed for cattle and other farm animals at periodic times throughout the day. A revolutionary product, Solar Feeders saves small family farms the tedious and time-consuming task of feeding their stock.

Solar Feeders is taking off, but don’t think that any small business is an overnight sensation.

“My first 10 years of this business, I worked 20 hours a day,” Galbach said. “You can’t just quit what you’re doing, thinking you’re going to get off with a part-time job. I mean, it’s not going to happen. Nineteen years into this business, I still work 8-12 hours a day. I enjoy it.”

Hustle and opportunity; Galbach always had the hustle, and when opportunity presented itself in the form of unemployment? Well, he had to take it. Galbach’s story is one of the many inspiring stories told at The Small Business Revolution.

One of my former bosses tells the story of how a company he worked for engaged one day in eliminating hundreds of positions, including his. He went on to found one of the largest public-relations agencies in the U.S. A former colleague this week posted on social media how much she loved her time at Target and looked forward to what lays ahead for her. Perhaps her career path is to start a small business.

It is hard to see that silver lining when handed the pink slip. And not everyone is suited to be their own boss. Yet it is through experience and drive that the genesis of small business ideas comes together. Whether that experience is in public relations or sheet-metal manufacturing, harnessing the desire to work hard and try is how life’s goals are achieved.

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