Rick Geller

Meet Our Editor

In my first post, I mentioned hiring an editor for Entrepreneurs Rock! I must confess it’s taken a while, and as you can see, it’s been a while since my last post. That’s because it’s been busy running my company, Happy Rock Merchant Solutions, providing funding for hard-working entrepreneurs.

Despite the repeated pessimistic news reports on a staggering economy and all the fears the media seems promoting about a “double dip recession” in America, from where I sit, small businesses are hungry to grow and are full of courage. In my opinion, the spirit of entrepreneurship has never been stronger. Serving it the best I can has been keeping me so busy I regretfully haven’t had time to write.

But with banks virtually ignoring entrepreneurs, the small businesses that are truly at the heart of our incredible country, I deeply feel that my responsibility to do all I can to provide funding during this lingering cash crunch across the country has never been greater. Nor has my sense of responsibility to provide insights into what it takes to build and grow a successful business. That’s why I’ve hired David Kullman as our Editor.

Though a Long Islander by birth like me, and a true New Yorker at heart, David has reported on business all over the world as a foreign correspondent and has some cool start-up experience, too. The next post and many after that will be his, and he will be my mouthpiece when I can’t post.

We look forward to serving you with the conversation we hope to encourage about entrepreneurship. Because Entrepreneurs Rock!

Enjoy! And feel free to comment, ask questions and submit ideas for posts and discussion. If you’re an entrepreneur, or dream to be, think of our blog as yours.

Rick


Inside the Entrepreneur, Mind and Soul – 3 Defining Differences

I know I said I’d be posting about the 800 lb. gorilla, the controversy regarding the Merchant Cash Advance industry, but there’s something else I’ve been burning to post. It’s something that as entrepreneurs we may forget when we face the kind of pressures we’re now facing in the current economic climate of uncertainty. Yet it’s something we need to remember more than ever: who we are at heart and what makes us different from MBAs and worker-bees. Two big things. The first is how we think. The second is our soul.

What sets us apart

So what sets the entrepreneur apart from the rest of society? Studies have been done and reports written, really long ones. But who has time to read them? Here’s the skinny as I see it:

1. The MBA CEO has been taught to plan. Entrepreneurs are born to improvise.

Entrepreneurs often do not start out with concrete goals. Rather we think about how to apply our strengths and whatever resources that we have on hand to come up with goals on the spot, on the fly. Entrepreneurs are bold, confident, optimistic and creative. Most of all, we’re not afraid to be free thinkers.

MBAs are too often boxed by causal reasoning and bound by linear logic. They get lost in market research and can be too focused polls and focus groups. Think gatherers. Top entrepreneurs, on the other hand, are hunters. We’re not afraid to ask What if and we’re not afraid to jump in and get started with nothing more than our brains and our bootstraps.

Apple and Nike may be the two most iconic American entrepreneurial successes of our time. Their defining mantras best capture the creed: Think Different and Just Do It.

2.  MBA’s live to predict. Entrepreneurs know you really can’t.

Even more, we don’t want to be in a business that’s predictable. Entrepreneurs are driven by an idea, by vision, a vision our friends may say is crazy but our soul says is right on the money. Our task is simply to make it happen. The best way to do that is to just get started. Let the road reveal itself.

The mindset: Ready, fire, aim. Remember that Clint Eastwood line from Heartbreak Ridgewhen he played a hard-ass Marine? Improvise, adapt and overcome. Entrepreneurs recognize, respond and reshape, because entrepreneurs know that the biggest risk is too often not taking one and that he who hesitates spectates.

The defining mantras here: Go with your gut. And Go Maguyver.

3. MBA’s obsess about the competition.

Entrepreneurs know that’s cart before the horse. We see ourselves as being not mainstream but niche, yet a niche that we can make mainstream. That’s really how Facebook happened. It was first thought of as a fun tool to serve one school, not the planet. From the start, product, not market, is paramount.

Sure, top entrepreneurs do more formal research and planning over time, but the best don’t lose what sets entrepreneurs apart: that gusto and the guts to go Michael Jordan and sayGive me the ball!

Guy Kawasaki, author of The Art of the Start and the founding partner of Garage Technology Ventures, was a major force behind the marketing of Macintosh computers for Steve Jobs, the co-founder of Apple. He defines entrepreneurs as “brave souls who never say never.”

Sure the going may be tougher than ever right now. But keep pushing. Keep grinding it out. The one thing that every recession in American history has in common is that they end.


For Entrepreneurs Eyes Only

Hi, I’m Rick Geller. Welcome to Entrepreneurs Rock!

I’m the CEO and co-founder of Happy Rock Merchant Solutions, a credit card Merchant Cash Advance company based in midtown Manhattan. I’m starting this blog for entrepreneurs for the same reason that I helped start Happy Rock: because like you, I am an entrepreneur.

I don’t feel there’s anything that’s so special about my story. I was born into working-class beginnings on suburban Long Island, a Levittown-like everyman kind of town called Plainview. Like most kids in my town, I went to public school, in a town where most of the businesses were like yours and mine, small businesses built by everyday people like you and me: entrepreneurs.

I went to a local college, got in to a local law school and started out facing the frustrations of working for a firm doing grunt work for grunt pay. It didn’t take long for the fire to begin to burn in my belly to do something better, to better use my abilities and make more money — to build a business, my own business, and be master of my own financial destiny as much as possible. To me, that’s the ultimate American Dream. Not just to be my own boss, but benefit as fully as possible from my hard work, where commitment alone is my limitation.

In many ways, I feel I’ve been incredibly lucky to make that dream my reality. Not a sprawling apartment on Park Avenue and a monster-sized mansion in the Hamptons, but a business that I am proud of, one that enables me to provide for my family and helps other people provide for theirs. I have a feeling that if you found your way to this blog, that you share that dream and that you yourself are an entrepreneur. And if you are, you know that today, being an entrepreneur is not easy.

In fact, since 2008, being an entrepreneur may have never been harder. I don’t think that in our lifetime or those of our parents it has ever been harder just to stay afloat. That’s why with fellow entrepreneurs I helped found Happy Rock in the wake of the financial crisis in 2008, when credit for everyday entrepreneurs just evaporated almost overnight.

The Mission: Serve

Our mission – my mission – is to serve fellow entrepreneurs. To offer more than funding. I know how hard it is to build and sustain a business. My partners and I have been there, and we remain there: entrepreneurs, just like you.

That’s why I’m building this blog, to build a bank of what entrepreneurs often need more than money: information. Frank information and encouragement. Especially the insights of fellow entrepreneurs who have already faced and overcome the challenges that we are currently facing. My goal is to build a bank of vital information and grow a vibrant, supportive community around that, a community of entrepreneurs, a community where we can help each other and who knows what. Imagine a community that can provide answers, spark confidence and perhaps great ideas, opportunities and fruitful connections.

I’ll talk about finance, offer you my insights into the Merchant Cash Advance industry and help clear up any questions you may have about meeting your financial needs in our current economic climate. But this blog isn’t about industry propaganda or shameless brand promotion. To prove it, let me say up front that while ten of thousands of business have benefitted from a Merchant Cash Advance, Merchant Cash Advance financing isn’t for everyone, as I will explain in an upcoming post. I will also do what I haven’t seen anyone do in the Merchant Cash Advance industry yet, address the negative things and criticism you may have heard about the industry, issues that I feel are too often legitimate complaints and always very important concerns.

But far more than finance, I will talk about the myriad issues facing the entrepreneur today. And more than that, I invite your questions and comments. Because as a finance company, we have up-close access to a wide range of businesses, all kinds of entrepreneurs, hundreds of people we’ve funded over the past few years, people we view as partners. That’s why our mission, and mine personally, is to serve the wider needs of entrepreneurs, needs that stretch far beyond funding into strategically vital areas like marketing, technology, management and motivation, and the many cutting edge advances being made.

We believe we’re in a great position to do this. Where with our financial resources, we believe we can help you leverage your past success with a Merchant Cash Advance so as to see to your future success, with this blog, we believe we can leverage the wider and deeper value of our company. That’s value that has grown from the veritable community of businesses that we have funded: the insights into how to succeed, in many fields of business and the many aspects of these businesses. From restaurants, nail salons, auto repair shops to dental offices and day care centers and about every business you can imagine in between.

We think it’s a cool idea, and good business, too. Because when the entrepreneurs we fund succeed, we succeed too. We succeed not only financially in the near term, but in the long term helping keep the entrepreneurial spirit alive, the spirit that defines America, what is my personal idea of the ultimate America Dream, a dream I am glad you share as a fellow entrepreneur.

As a CEO, I regrettably don’t have time to post as often as I’d like. But at Happy Rock, we believe that more than ever business must be about more than just minding the bottom line. Business must be about serving. We’re committed to that and to building a valuable resource for you with our blog. Consequently, we’ve hired new staff with international experience reporting on business and entrepreneurship whose sole responsibility will be Entrepreneurs Rock!

So don’t hesitate to reach out to us with any questions, with topics you want us to discuss, with comments you care to offer or insights you have to add. If you’re an entrepreneur, think of this blog as place where you can come for answers – answers, ideas and community. Because Entrepreneurs Rock!

Look forward to connecting.