Tom called and turned down the job. After a very lengthy interview process, I really thought he'd accept our offer. We were probably $10K (20%) lower than his target, but he seemed really interested in all the things we were doing. And the money was going to be there in the next 6-12 months. I guess it was really just about the money.
This highlights what a hard job entrepreneurs have. They have to compete with incumbent businesses in their market, struggle to make investments with paybacks that stretch for months or years into the future (where their competitors already have begun to see a return,) defend themselves against start-up costs of all kinds including a rash of government friction costs (including compliance, risk and unexpected expenses) AND compete for talent with competitors and the negative image of being a small/start-up company.
You have to wonder how small businesses EVER succeed and WHY entrepreneurs even try. It must be about FREEDOM. It is no less a primal force in business than in life