Owner of five Schlotzsky's in Texas
Lesson: Listen to your gut.
Charles Reed got his entrepreneurial kick-start in 1993 when he decided to leave his job in HR at a large oil company and buy with his wife a Schlotzsky's sandwich shop in Plano, Texas. Nearly 20 years later, the couple owns five Schlotzsky's, all in Texas. "I was working for a major corporation and I was just looking for a change," Reed says. He decided on franchising; he wanted something that was local, but had opportunity for expansion. But being your own boss comes with pros and cons. "I have a lot of responsibility," Reed says. "That being said, I do have a fair amount of opportunity to arrange my day in a way that fits the things that I am doing." "The most important thing is it allowed me to provide appropriate jobs for people, and that's important to me," he adds. As a minority, though, Reed acknowledges that finding capital has been a challenge. "For me the challenge has always been, where do you get the cash to grow and