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It's a Win-Win

Whether you're having a capital crisis or need funds to support growth, your customers may be an unexpected financing source.

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This story appears in the August 2005 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

In 1994, one of Doug Brendle's customers, an R&D firm for the screen-printing industry, approached him about engineering new technology to streamline the screen-printing process. Brendle was the ideal candidate to get the job done: An engineer and physicist by trade, he had also worked as a consultant for the screen-printing and manufacturing industries. Though he had the necessary technical expertise, he didn't have the $300,000 needed to fund a project of that magnitude.

"Not only was it a funding issue, it was a time issue, too," recalls Brendle, founder and CEO of HardKore Inc. in Cheyenne, Wyoming. "It had to be done by a certain time, and it would have been impossible for a company of our size to acquire that kind of funding that fast, especially when we were already leveraged with other jobs."

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