As modern-day disruptors continue to shake up the financial world as we know it, stories like Solomon RC Ali’s are a breath of fresh air.
At age 21, he was running a thriving maintenance company when he realized he was falling behind on the accounts receivables.
“I had this company and I didn’t know what accounts receivables were,” he said. “After spending all my money on materials and equipment. I had all these people working for me and a couple of trucks. Now it was time to pay all these people. I owed out $148,000. I had about $15 in the bank account, but I was owed half a million dollars. I just didn’t know how to collect it.”
It didn’t take Solomon RC Ali long to pick himself up again. Soon, he was running a string of successful nursing homes then disaster struck again, as it did in 2008.
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“I had procrastinated and not taken the proper steps to protect myself, financially,” he said, adding that he’d contemplated suicide when his business went bust, because he was putting his wife and daughter out on the streets with him and he had no one to blame but himself.
Today things are much different for the entrepreneur, who dusted himself off enough to found an eponymously named company. The Solomon RC Ali Corporation is a non-traditional capital lender that also offers business consulting services and promises to work with its companies to get as high as a 3000% ROI. He says, the goal is to make sure budding entrepreneurs value their worth in the market — and convey their worth to investors.
“Too many talented entrepreneurs fail to raise capital, not from a lack of talent, but due to a lack of knowledge and understanding about what investors are looking for and the value they bring to the table,” he told AfroTech. “As a business owner looking to raise money, you have to appreciate the hard-earned money that other people have worked to make. These people have already made their money to potentially invest in your project. To undervalue that is to undervalue the very thing you are seeking.”
Solomon RC Ali makes it clear that, above all else, money isn’t the be-all, end-all to entrepreneurial problems. As his own mistakes demonstrate, money in the wrong hands can only mean more problems.
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“Everyone thinks money is going to solve their problems. Money doesn’t solve problems. Money is just a tool. People solve problems. If I give a million dollars to the wrong person, they are likely to burn through 2 million dollars and then come back around looking for more money. Well, the problem isn’t the money, it’s you,” he said. “You cannot underestimate the importance of the right mentors and consultants. When businesses come to someone like me for help, I am able to package their business and introduce them to a vast network of professionals and potential investors, which is what you need first, because every other person you hire is going to want what? Money.”