From Football Player to Entrepreneur: A Success Story

Roby Darcus has the determination and discipline required to be a successful entrepreneur.

“Where there’s a will, there’s a way,” he says.

Darcus used that drive to play sports in high school and football in college. After graduating from a Southern California university, Darcus started his career with a large business supply manufacturer. He was highly motivated but the experience was rocky. “The manufacturer would promise you the world, dangle a carrot in front of you then not follow through.”

Darcus grew increasingly unhappy and left that job in 2013 to start DJ’s Business Supplies, LLC.  His small business provides office supplies with an emphasis on toner and ink for printers, copiers and fax machines.  The company specializes in laser toner cartridges. “I didn't have contracts with clients when I started but I had relationships that I’ve built over the years."

Roby's business was successful from the start. "I retain about 95% of my customers once I work with them. I was very knowledgeable about the industry and knew I could be successful on my own,” he says.  “But I was definitely a little scared,” he says.

Funding his new small business was an issue from the start. “I didn’t have any money saved up and I was denied unemployment. I had to borrow money from family members to start the business.”

At that time, Darcus didn’t explore outside financing. “I didn’t even try for a bank or any other type of loan. I didn’t think that was an option since my personal credit score wasn’t good.”

Darcus quickly found out that poor credit had implications with his vendors as well.  “No one wanted to give trade credit at net 30 terms.  I was finally able to get those terms from one company. It really, really helped my cash flow.”

He’s since improved his business credit score and that opens up small business financing options. Before his score improved, Darcus took out cash advances for working capital. “I’ve had 3 or 4 cash advances over the last few years. They worked at that time but the high interest and short terms were tough,” he says. He kept his eyes and ears open for alternative funding options.

“I received a SmartBiz mailer but I didn’t pay attention to it. I’d heard that SBA loans were too difficult and I doubted that I would qualify.”

Although his company had an annual revenue of $260,000 in 2014, he was unable to get funding from a traditional bank. He decided to give an SBA loan a try. Working with SmartBiz Relationship Manager Elizabeth, he found the process much simpler than he thought it would be.

“Liz was great. She walked us through everything and kept my spirits and hopes up.  Our first email contact was in August and my loan took only about 30 days to fund.”

Darcus secured a $151,000 SBA loan from SmartBiz at 6.5% APR for a 10 year term.  He has lots of plans for the funding including paying off cash advances and hiring employees to help with sales.

“My brother works for the business and my wife helps out too. But the business is 80 – 90% me. I work between 50 and 70 hours a week. I plan to hire some employees to do sales and that should free up some of my time.”

He’s also exploring opening a retail shop and loading up on product so he can lower prices.  Establishing a nice home office is also a goal. “We don’t have a dedicated workspace – there are lots of boxes and paperwork stacked around. We want to put a nice office in the house and might need to rent out storage space for inventory. Basically, I want to take things to another level and I have the cash to do that now.”

Is your small (or large) business in need of office supplies? Visit DJ’s here and learn more about their stellar customer service:

The only way we have been able to become a successful business is by making our customers happy. Feel confident that you are receiving exceptional products and services by choosing DJ’s Business Supplies.”

Are you ready to grow your small business? Apply now and discover if you qualify for a low-interest SmartBiz loan in just 5 minutes.