Company: Microware Computers Inc.
Business Began: 1990
Start-Up Cost: $1,200
1996 Sales: $3 million
1997 Projections: $3.9 million
Ron Perry didn't have a lot of money when he started Microware Computers. Indeed, due largely to a difficult divorce battle, the strapped-for-cash Perry was initially forced to move back in with his parents. "They were building a house at the time," recalls the 34-year-old entrepreneur. "I said, 'Let me make you a deal: If the business works, I'll finish [paying off] the house for you.' And everything worked out wonderfully."
It certainly did. Last year, Perry's full-service computer company tallied sales of $3 million-and boasted a roster of clients numbering in the hundreds. Whether it's for the local post office, newspaper or hotel, Perry's crack team of 12 employees helps businesses install computer equipment, then trains users in applications.
"It was pretty terrifying," says Perry, reflecting on his decision to transform a background in computer sales into a full-fledged business. But terror faced is terror conquered: The longtime Alaska resident has parlayed a $1,200 credit card advance into a thriving company that's expected to register a sales increase of 30 percent this year. Now that's a success ratio anyone can compute.