Economic Perspectives with Hopeton Hay on KAZI 88.7 FM in Austin, TX

BCL of Texas Business Counseling Helps Austin Firm Obtain Funding and Overcome Obstacles

Posted by Hopeton on August 10, 2012

Travis Benford, CEO of Blue Light Integrated Services

Peter Drucker once said, “The best way to predict the future is to create it.” If that statement is true, then Travis Benford just might just be the next Nostradamus. He is building a future to fit his vision. Moreover, he is building a future full of hope and opportunity for his team and his community.

Travis was a car salesman for the 14 years prior to opening Blue Light Integrated Services. He recalled the salesman experience fondly, but remarked that the hours kept him from his family for too long at times. The rewards were good, but there weren’t many opportunities for long term development. Travis knew he wanted to be his own boss someday. He wanted to do something that would allow more time to spend with his family and provide unlimited potential for growth.

Blue Light Integrated Services, a sales call center handling everything from Dish Network to security systems to home repair services, didn’t just spring up from nowhere. Travis worked hard to turn his dream into a reality. A turning point in this process came when he sought out a business coach at Business & Community Lenders (BCL) of Texas. Travis said that at first it was difficult to find time to go to the meetings and classes while working. “It was really tough to make all of those obligations work together, but I knew I had to go,” he said. To be a successful entrepreneur, Travis noted, you have to surround yourself with like-minded individuals. At a Biz Aid orientation class Travis met one such like-minded individual named Carlos Vasquez. Carlos is the Business Development Analyst for BCL of Texas. Carlos is there to help people like Travis transition from traditional employee to successful entrepreneur. He and Travis started speaking and found that there were a lot of ways that Carlos could help.

Travis was beginning to get frustrated with the process of starting a business. Finding financing and office space, hiring people, getting the appropriate legal documents: all of these prerequisites to getting a new business off the ground seemed hidden behind unreasonable expectations.

“The banks couldn’t understand that I was going to start this business and work full time there,” Travis said when asked about this aspect of the process. “I was concentrating all of my effort to make that work. I had a little seed funding from my family, but the banks wanted us to show that there was no chance of default by offering my family’s income as collateral. It was just unreasonable.”

Carlos was able to help Travis overcome most of his major obstacles. Carlos and Travis worked together to get funding and find an office space that worked. As of now, Blue Light Integrated Services is well above the sales goals that they set out in Travis’s business plan. The business operates out of a great office location that also houses their call center. In less than 6 months since beginning this venture, Mr. Benford has hired thirteen other staff members to keep up with all the demand coming through the 7703 N. Lamar Blvd office.

“We are doing great. Right now we are expanding our products and services. We sell commercial TVs now to meet small businesses needs all across the nation,” Travis said. “We have almost outgrown our current space! We are one of a very small group that Dish has approved to sell nationwide. Sometimes the hours are still very long, but I couldn’t be happier.”

For a free business counseling session from BCL of Texas call (512)912-9191.

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