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ARES Sportswear

ARES Sportswear, Mike Campbell

Title / Role: ARES Sportswear
Location: Hilliard, Ohio
Formed in: 1994
What do you do?

Screenprint and embroidery. Custom apparel.

What inspired you to start your business?

I did not want to work for anyone else.

What's special about your business?

We are fast and we give white glove level account management to our customers.

What have been the high and low points of being a business owner?

High Points: Growing from 0 to 15 million in annual revenue over the years. Finding, helping, and supporting long-term employees. Helping business partners become financially dependent. Providing for my family. Being able to learn life lessons by owning a business with employees, partners, vendors, customers, challenges, and rewards. Low points: Most of the basic ADHD entrepreneur challenges: Growing 50/50 partner relationships and then watching them break over unaligned ambitions. Lost money because we scaled up operation flaws when we scaled up revenue. The head-fake that comes from poor accounting. Putting green people into important positions w/o support because I am inherently cheap. Bank problems, vendor problems, financial problems.......employee problems. Serious problems. Ransomware and COVID have not been a walk in the park.

What is your relationship with SCORE? SCORE client What influenced you to seek help from SCORE?

A conversation with my father in law.

How SCORE helped.

My SCORE mentor helped me come to terms with the fact that I am a naturally unfocused communicator.

What's great about my mentor?

She is ruthlessly focused. She listened and figured something about me out and then got to work. The business was not going to get fixed unless I got fixed.

What advice would you give to someone thinking of starting a small business?

Start it when you are young and broke or old and can afford to lose what you put into it. Be VERY WARY of 50/50 partnerships. Don't put green people in charge of important unsupervised responsibilities. Don't be every contractor's first customer. Save money for a rainy day. Hire slow, fire fast.

What have you learned from your experiences as a business owner?

Humility. Vulnerability. FOCUS. PATIENCE. How to make a plan. How to execute a plan. How to prioritize. I learned how to better communicate with people. Lastly, I am learning how expensive "risk" is even if you never pay a dime for it.

Additional media
View of production floor for ARES Sportswear
65 E State Street #1350
Columbus, OH 43215 US
(614) 664-7267

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Funded, in part, through a Cooperative Agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration. All opinions, and/or recommendations expressed herein are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the SBA.

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