Rollercoaster Ride Of 20 Years And Still Going
By: Tim Timmons
A date came and went quietly several days ago . . . and we purposefully did not make a big deal out of it.
The Little Paper That Could started its 20th year.
Hard to believe. The list of naysayers who said we wouldn’t make it a month, a year, two years and so on is pretty long – heck, some of them even worked for us. And Lord forgive me, but I hope some of those words are a little hard for those folks to swallow today. That’s not how The Man upstairs wants me to feel – but only He knows how hard this has been. Fear not though, dear reader, this isn’t going to turn into a pity party. It’s a celebration – a quiet one, but a celebration nonetheless.
First, let’s review.
Any new business has the deck stacked against it. Those of you who are entrepreneurs, God love you, know that all too well. So when we started, we knew the odds were long. However, we were young (well, we were then) and foolish and stupidly unafraid. Still, that first year was Ugly – with the required capital U. We bled red ink faster than the Titanic took on water – and that’s pretty much how it felt for a while. But then, things started getting better. The monthly financial losses began shrinking. Year two wasn’t as bad as year one – and year three improved a bit more. And in year four, well, the sun started to peek through the storm clouds . . . and we started talking about becoming profitable – which means sustainable.
It was 2008 and things were looking up . . . until they weren’t.
Our world, and the U.S. economy suffered what was call the economic heart attack. Lehman Brothers fell in September, triggering several banks to go under. Suddenly, everyone was scared – and businesses that are scared tend to cut back on spending money . . . as in advertising.
We went from inching toward profitability back into hemorrhaging ink of the red variety.
But we didn’t give up. In fact, we bounced back quickly and 2009 rewarded us with our very first profitable year. And more followed. And more.
And then the pandemic hit.
And the print newspaper industry started falling apart.
Were we cursed?
Was it Churchill who said when you’re going through hell, keep going? We followed that advice just like successful entrepreneurs have been doing forever, we forged ahead. We adapted. Most importantly, we survived.
Hello, year No. 20.
The list of people to say thank you to feels almost endless – but it has to start with the owners of the company. Without them, none of this would be here. Second are the folks who produce what our industry often calls the daily miracle. That includes all of the ones on board today and a whole lot of others who helped us get here. It definitely includes you, dear reader and you Mr. and Mrs. Advertiser. Without you and your financial support, none of this matters. And lastly, but most importantly, we thank The Aforementioned Man Upstairs. From our very beginning we have made no bones about being a conservative, Christian company. Heck, we publish a prayer on our front page – what else would you expect?
There’s some debate internally about making this a year of celebrating. Not sure if we’ll do that or not. We’ve never been real big about tooting our own horn. But a couple of decades does seem like a big deal. All I do know is that we’ll do what my favorite coach – Rich Clouse – used to tell us: Keep on keeping on. Thanks to you, we’re able to do exactly that.
-Two cents, which is about how much Timmons said his columns are worth, appears periodically on Wednesdays in The Paper. Timmons is the publisher of The Paper and can be contacted at [email protected].