(The short story)
- My name is Bob Foster and I’ve been around for a few decades.
- I’ve worked as CEO, or consultant, from the high-tech world of the Silicon Forest to the commercial fishing grounds of Alaska and Mexico.
- I’ve worked on projects from beer to computers and in industries from pulp and paper to urban renewal.
- I’ve also consulted with municipal governments, and rode “shotgun” through the night to help make law enforcement more efficient.
- I’ve started businesses and sold businesses—not always successfully.
- Along the way I earned a reputation for saving businesses that were deemed unsalvageable… and that is what developed my interest in the world of small business.
- My overall goal is to fan the flames of the entrepreneurial spirit in those bold enough to start a small business; and to offer solutions and resources to help you along the way.
Good luck in all your entrepreneurial endeavors.
(The whole story)
Raised in the woodlands and lakes of Northern Michigan, I headed for the big city a few days after my eighteenth birthday and started working on an automobile assembly line. I worked there while I waited to start college.
During my college years I was fortunate to be involved in a great work-study program — graduating from Kettering University with a degree in Industrial Engineering.
After graduation, I worked in a GM plant and started early as a Maverick. I designed production tools and early-stage robotic equipment, which I then had constructed in the Maintenance department instead of the Tooling department, thus by-passing all the policies, procedures and directives of General Motors. I got away with it because my inventions worked well, cost less to build, and improved efficiency.
Succumbing to the thrill of the airplane over the automobile, I served a stint on the President’s staff of The Boeing Airplane Company. This experience gave me an entirely new perspective of business, plus an opportunity to apply more of my controversial ideas to several Boeing-sponsored small businesses and social service agencies in the Seattle area. (Some of these adventures occasionally appear as a case history in my books—see list of Bob’s Books).
Eventually deciding I needed a new challenge, I took on the job of automating a large mortgage, real estate, and investment company. Successful completion of this task landed me in a position with Coopers & Lybrand (before they merged with PriceWaterhouse) on their consulting staff.
Although large professional firms discourage mavericks and controversy, I lasted long enough to execute a few successful projects (controversial ones, naturally). Then one of Coopers & Lybrand’s clients asked me to take over their manufacturing company that had just experienced a total management and staff walkout—and that began one of the most interesting careers imaginable.
Following the successful resurrection of that company after the walkout, I began working as an independent troubleshooter and sub-contract consultant for several professional firms.
As CEO or consultant, I worked in businesses ranging from the high-tech world of the “Silicon Forest,” to the commercial fishing grounds of Alaska and Mexico. I worked on projects involving products from beer to computers, and in industries ranging from pulp and paper to urban renewal.
I also took my direct and controversial approach to the City Halls of large cities and county governments—and was even invited back.
I rode shotgun through the night with sheriff’s deputies to determine how to make law enforcement more efficient.
I bought businesses and sold businesses, and was lied to by large multinational corporations (according to the late Wilson Harrell, all big corporations lie).
Along the way I earned a reputation for saving businesses that were deemed unsalvageable.
Not content to just help others with their businesses, I also entered the world of the startup entrepreneur where I felt the excitement of success as well as the sting of failure.
Yes, I made mistakes along the way, but I also did many things right. It has been a rich and rewarding career and I experienced things in the business world that would normally take several lifetimes to encounter.
Before starting college I married my High School sweetheart, and we have three children—all of them serial entrepreneurs.
Even though I have spent part of my career working for large corporations, it is the small-business arena that excites me—where “Entrepreneurial Capitalism” is born and flourishes.
So, that is the foundation and background upon which I am now creating books, courses, and resources for small businesses. I want to share much of what I have learned—through real experiences, not just in classrooms—with entrepreneurs everywhere.
As questions and concerns crop up in your daily work on your business, I invite you to review the material on this website for the answers. If you can’t find what you need, I suggest you submit you’re question on the Contact Form above and I’ll help you get an answer.
To the millions of businesses that start up each year, I wish all of you the best of luck and much success.