Undefeated Seasons

Looking Ahead

In the end, the September 11 attacks may have actually had positive effects on the small-business community. Many businesses are now more nimble and able to do more with less. And some experts believe there's renewed interest in entrepreneurship. "September 11, I think, caused people to look inside and say 'What's important to me?'" says Hughes. "If I've had any dreams or ideas about running my own business, now's the time to do it."

Dovier agrees: "Nine-eleven reminded us all that we don't have a promise of tomorrow. The time is truly now to do the things you really want to do."

Duty Calls

Ted Valentini's company is located far from Ground Zero and the Pentagon, but the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks hit Beaver Creek, Ohio-based Tramco Mold hard. The 37-year-old father of three had to take out a $91,600 loan when he was deployed to the Emergency Operations Center at the National Guard Bureau in Washington, DC, last December. Those funds are providing working capital for his $1 million plastic molds business, but the company still lost $125,000 last year, a 63 percent drop in sales.

"Where it's really hurt us is I did all the sales and marketing," says Valentini. "And now's the time we need to be out there, beating the bushes harder than ever."

Tramco Mold isn't alone. As of May 31, the SBA had approved 28 Military Reservist Economic Injury Disaster Loans for a total of $2.56 million for businesses affected by the activation of reserve units.

Michele Marrinan is a Long Island, New York, writer specializing in small business, technology and e-commerce.

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This article was originally published in the September 2002 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Undefeated Seasons.

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