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Key Idea: Keep Cash In The Business

Eddie and Darlene didn't take a salary from their baby business until it was strong enough to stand on its own two feet.

Key Question:

A: 

Think about it

What can you do in your business to improve cash flows from operations?

Clip from: Jet-a-way

Host-producer, Hattie Bryant, with Jesse Jeter, the son of the founders

Boston: In this episode of the show we take you inside Jet-A-Way, a recycling company for construction and demolition waste, commercial waste, and recycled paper. They are also a transportation company to pick it all up and, then when it is all sorted, to bring it to refinement centers and sanitary landfills.  You'll meet Darlene Jeter and her family. 

Darlene and her husband have been recognized by their community and by the nation for their achievements.

With over $10 million in sales and 50 employees, this business has been in  operation since 1969.  Darlene has endured enormous setbacks -- the death of the love of her life,  her husband and business partner -- and major swings in the construction business in Boston. It is a dusty, tough industry. There is a lot of heavy metal -- trucks, tractors, and front-end loaders. Darlene not only survives, she thrives with grace and dignity.

Darlene Jeter has tenacity. No moaning, blubbering, sniveling, whimpering or whining; she gets the job done and then gives back to her community.

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Jet-A-Way, Inc.

Darlene Jeter, CEO

47 Kemble Street
Roxbury, MA 02119

Visit our web site: http://jet-a-way.com

Business Classification:
transportation, waste management, recycling

Year Founded: 1968

Keep Cash In The Business

HATTIE: How long did you keep your job before Eddie needed you?

DARLENE: About two more years. Plus I was working 11 to 7 at night and I wasn't getting any sleep. I was keeping the books, taking care of my four sons and on and on and on, so something had to give.

HATTIE: Could you sleep at night?

DARLENE: I kept the phone by my bed so that if someone called for a job, I'd just wake right up and write it down. There were mornings -- let me tell you -- I would look, `What in the world did I write here?' It's hard because when we first started, sometimes you didn't get paid right away. So I had to take the money that I was earning and pay or invest it into the business, which at that time I thought, `Oh, no, what's gonna happen here?' But as time moved on, things got pretty good.

HATTIE: What's the lesson here . . . that you don't just start a business and have money?

DARLENE: When we started, all we had was $200.

HATTIE: And even after two or three trucks, you were still subsidizing the business with your job?

DARLENE: Yeah.

HATTIE: You were subsidizing with his job.

This is important. There are lots of people watching who are thinking, `I'm gonna start a business today,' but they have to know that they're not going make money instantly.

DARLENE: No. But you have to believe in yourself.  You have to be willing to invest in yourself beause if you're not willing to invest in yourself, why should anybody else?

HATTIE: What does that really mean, invest in yourself?

DARLENE: Take risk. OK. We were willing to take the--you know, whatever savings we had and put it at risk and just invest in the business and try to make it work and see what happened after that.

HATTIE: And invest in the business means put money into buying another truck as opposed to buying yourself a personal car that's fancy.

DARLENE: Oh, yeah. Right. It won't bring you any money.

All you're gonna do is ride in the car. But if you invest the same money in the truck, you have an opportunity to earn some money. Then you can go out and buy the car.

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