“It can be done. It can be done with limited means. It can be done from a humble background,” Tommy Hudson said. “I am just a guy that had an idea and put a plan together and sought the right advice and enough advice to convince myself really that it could be done.”
Hudson started Rural Waste Solutions, LLC, in tiny Hardtner, Kansas (population about 200). They rent roll-off dumpsters to customers across a 60 mile radius. Waste is hauled to a nearby landfill.
“I call myself a glorified trash man, but I’m proud when I pull up and see my trucks sittin there.” Hudson said. “There’s nothing glamorous about what we’re doing. But there’s a need.”
He found help through the OSBDC (Small Business Development Center). He printed off the business plan outline, and started filling it in. It was kind of overwhelming, but he just started typing. His counselor asked him questions he hadn’t thought of and helped him work up realistic financials.
All that preparation helped him through the startup process. It has meant he hasn’t hit a lot of surprises, and it also means that people have been very willing to help him and work with him. In fact, when he went to the first bank, a small local bank in Kiowa, Kansas, they said that was one of the best plans they’d ever seen. They told him that people come in really unprepared, just with an idea and a scrap of paper.
“That’s not the world we live in these days,” Hudson said. “You’ve got to put a plan together, and you’ve got to be prepared.”
Small Town Realities
It was a step out to set up a business in Hardtner, Kansas. There’s not a lot of economic development going on in that community, Hudson said. Remember, the population is fewer than 200 people.
“In a rural area, you’ve got to get creative, and you’ve about got to get more than one iron in the fire,” Husdon said. “You’ve got to diversify.”
“I had some sales experience, had some good people skills, but I’m learning what it takes to be a manager,” Hudson said. “I knew what cash flow was, but I didn’t know what it was from a business standpoint.”
Especially in a small town, growing too fast can kill a company, he said.
“At times, I could have used 10 more containers,” Hudson said. But it wasn’t a good business decision to expand that fast. He didn’t want to, but he had to tell some people no.
“We’re only six months into this,” Hudson said. “I know for a fact that we’ve got a lot of trials and tribulations ahead.”
Tommy Hudson was a speaker at the Entrepreneurship Day at Alva, Oklahoma, November 20. POV is our ongoing series sharing the Point Of View of entrepreneurs from all over.
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