Raising Money

Lois Melbourne

Business Data: President and CEO of TimeVision Inc., an Irving, Texas, business-to-business software-development firm

Allowance: None

Views On Debt: Avoid it if possible

Things To Know: Poor, rural, two-parent household; parents never discussed money with her; father refused to disclose his salary even to help her get a scholarship; family members were self-employed

Self-Description: Only started spending for needs and wants in the past year: "At my first job, I made more than my parents' combined. You didn't spend money in our house-hold. All [five] kids were expected to earn their way-as soon as we were 16, we were working. I learned to be very careful what I spent money on; I also learned there's defi-nitely a difference between what you need and what you want.

"We've really boot-strapped the company and managed growth via cash flow. We probably could have grown faster if we had gone into debt or taken on equity investors. But I believe in knowing where we stand, and knowing we can support the investment we have. I take my employees' livelihood seriously. It would kill me to think I overextended the company and cost people their jobs."

McCall: "This is a fabulous case of parents who did their offspring a huge favor by instilling strong money values. Lois learned to differentiate between wants and needs. Entrepreneurs with this background, however, should be aware of one potential problem: They may feel such gratefulness and loyalty to employees that they borrow money trying to save a struggling company rather than lay off workers."

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This article was originally published in the August 2000 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Raising Money.

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