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Local entrepreneur offers advice on overcoming adversity

Jasmine Grillmeier
December 11, 2015

Kent Sauber, founder of two start-ups, has faced his fair share of adversity on his path to entrepreneurial success. At the Nov. 12 Venture Café, hosted by the Center for Entrepreneurship, Sauber shared his story with a group of students and aspiring entrepreneurs and provided advice on obtaining entrepreneurial success. 

After resigning from one of the six McDonald’s establishments his family owned and operated, Sauber co-founded American Repair Service with a partner. Unfortunately, things went south after his partner embezzled money from the company.

Because of his passion for entrepreneurship, Sauber decided to use his situation as a lesson and started a new company from the ground up on his own.

“I had to figure out, 'What do I like to do, what am I good at and how can I make money off of those things?'” he said.

These questions led Sauber to his current venture, KBS Inspection and Consulting, a professional home inspection and testing company serving 11 counties in southeastern and central Ohio. KBS Inspection and Consulting has now been in business for eight years, but spurring his company’s success was not easy or quick. Sauber had to work full-time at another job to fund the start-up and maintenance of this venture.

As John Glazer, director of TechGROWTH Ohio, said during Sauber’s presentation, “The money from your current job finances the next one, so you’ve got to be flexible and adaptive, with high standards of excellence.”

The risk of failure is always present in the entrepreneurial industry. Sauber said, “If you give someone great service, they tell three people. If you give someone bad service, they tell seven to 10 people, so you’re already facing a losing battle.”

Sauber was determined to beat this obstacle. He set out to provide excellent service, knowledge and personal interactions with each potential customer he came across.

“Risk to me was an opportunity to be better,” Sauber said. “In order to minimize the feeling of risk, you have to realize you can make this all go away by giving it 100 percent.”

To get the company’s name out there, Sauber went onto Google every day, searched industry keywords, scrolled through every result page until he found his website and clicked through to improve the website’s visibility in Google’s search results. He also sponsored local baseball teams, wore company merchandise almost every day and increased networking efforts to advertise KBS Inspecting and Consulting. This hard work and dedication paid off: After eight years, KBS Inspecting and Consulting is going strong. Sauber was able to leave his previous job and now pursues the venture full-time.

The road to success may have its obstacles, but one must persevere. “You’ve got to strive to be the best,” Sauber said. “And actually be it.”

Venture Cafés are networking and information sessions that explore and discuss best practices in entrepreneurship in a casual setting. These sessions are hosted by the Center for Entrepreneurship. Sessions are open to all students regardless of their major, faculty, staff and the general public.

Students can attend the next Venture Café on Jan. 20, which will cover “Lean Launch Methods” with Lynn Gellermann, executive director of the Center for Entrepreneurship.

The Center for Entrepreneurship is a partnership between the College of Business and the Voinovich School of Leadership and Public Affairs.