Jesse Russow became an entrepreneur before he could even drive. He grew up on a small farm and through daily hard work; he developed a mindset that he could do anything. When Jesse was 13 years old, he started doing landscaping in his hometown of Joplin, MO. When Jesse was 15, he was heavily involved in sports at school. No matter how busy he was, he was also driven by the entrepreneurial spirit; he started working nights and weekends on appliances. At 16, he was taking service calls by himself. Then, when Jesse turned 19, he opened his own appliance service and repair business. When asked why he was so driven at a young age to be a business owner, he replied, “Simple. In school, I saw a statistic that said something like 97% of millionaires were self-employed. So, I always knew I would be self-employed”.
Little did Jesse know that he would later start a highly successful business in roofing and exterior remodeling in Colorado.
After completing high school, Jesse attended college for a couple of years and studied engineering at Missouri Southern State University. He supported himself through school by owning and operating an appliance sales and service company. In 2005, he was recruited by a roofing company from Oklahoma. Jesse was hired to do sales for the company, but quickly learned that he had been hired by one of the many ‘stormers’ – companies that move from city to city offering low cost roofing services that often prove to be low quality. The company left town soon after, leaving Jesse without a job and without earnings still owed to him.
It was at that point that Jesse decided to start his own roofing and exterior repair business. In December of 2007, Jesse started Avalanche Roofing & Exteriors.
Jesse’s business was doing very well in Colorado Springs, but he knew that he needed assistance to manage his fast growth the right way. He had questions about sales retention, business entity, and he knew he was going to eventually need a loan. Jesse had known about the SBDC in MO, so he knew to look for onein Colorado Springs for business assistance. Jesse contacted the Colorado Springs SBDC in July of 2010.
He attended business training classes offered through the SBDC and met with volunteer counselors for assistance with tracking sales and retention, outsourcing, and intellectual property. He also received assistance with preparing for a business loan. Through the assistance of the SBDC, he was approved for an SBA 7(a) loan in February 2011 in the amount of $500K.
Jesse also credits his success by asking questions, reading a lot of business books, and having the confidence to surround himself with knowledge and not be intimidated.
Future plans for Avalanche Roofing & Exteriors consist of continuing an excellent customer service, and an expansion of services including siding, stucco, gutters, paint, windows & doors, and attic insulation. He knows that this includes still working long hours every week, but states, “I believe in putting your time in and paying your dues. After 10 years, I’ll be able to step back and the company will be running itself.”