Magazine article Black Enterprise

Failing Forward: Lawrence M. Hibbert and Randal D. Pinkett's First Line of Business Didn't Survive the Recession-Thank Goodness

Magazine article Black Enterprise

Failing Forward: Lawrence M. Hibbert and Randal D. Pinkett's First Line of Business Didn't Survive the Recession-Thank Goodness

Article excerpt

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

EVERY RECESSION HAS ITS CASUALTIES. BUT IF THE STORY OF NEWARK, New Jersey-based BCT Partners (www.bctpartners.com) is any indication, the collapse of a company can also spark something greater.

"I would describe it as a reinvention," says Randal D. Pinkett, chairman and CEO of the management, policy, and technology consulting firm. Before Pinkett, 38, won Donald Trump's The Apprentice in 2005, he and his business partners overcame the demise of their educational training company, MBS Educational Services and Training, in the midst of the 2001 recession. But that's just the beginning of their story.

At the start of 2001, MBS was coming off of its best year since its 1993 launch with $373,000 in revenues. "We began noticing that the economy was going down," recalls Lawrence M. Hibbert, 37, co-founder, president, and chief technology officer of the company. Then the attacks on Sept. 11 took place and companies stopped flying their employees to the training conferences MBS organized. "[Before] we had about six or seven major accounts," says Pinkett, who remembers them losing all but one. We were pretty much back to zero."

When the books closed on 2001, revenues had dropped to $150,000, so they decided to focus their energy on bringing in new business. "We loved training--we had been doing it for almost 10 years and we were good at it," says Hibbert. "But we did not become so emotionally attached to that work that we were unwilling to discard it if opportunities were not available. …

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