Ron Flavin is a self-made man. And a self-remade man.
A high school drop-out – one who now holds an MBA – he went into business at age 21, starting with a chain of retail stores. In his mid-30s he and his partner went into the sports apparel and poster business.
For the next few years things went well for Flavin. His company was selling their wares in Walgreens, Kroeger, Big 5 and the biggest dog of them all, Wal-Mart.
“Then,” said Flavin, “it imploded. Let’s just say that some very poor business decisions were made.” He doesn’t go into details. “I personally ended up probably a half-million dollars or more in debt.”
Fortunately, Flavin had an alternative ready when his primary business failed. Something he had been doing as a volunteer or for extra cash – in other words, something he wasn’t really doing for the money. It was a business dedicated to locating government grants for various entrepreneurs and helping them get off the ground.
“I am a growth and funding strategist,” said Flavin, the author of Business Grants: Everything you need to know to connect with local, state and federal grants for business. “What I do is I help organizations, start-ups, universities, governments – any kind of entity – to develop growth strategies and to develop the funding they need to realize their growth goals.”
He started locating grants for companies just “for walking-around money or vacation money, for things I wanted but didn’t really need,” he said. “When I went out on my own, I started to focus on developing that business and honing my skills and building my client base.
“The stars were aligned and I was able to work out my problems with all of my debtor,” he added. “It took me a few years to do that, but once I got that out of the way I was really able to focus on growing my business, building my brand and all that happy stuff, and now I’ve got this very successful business.”