They call their business “BAM,” and that’s the impact this West Texas business consulting firm is hoping to have as they help entrepreneurs in Odessa and Midland launch their new businesses, and help existing companies grow.
Since starting the consulting company in February 2020, BAM co-owners Michael Crain and Angel Garcia have guided dozens of Permian Basin entrepreneurs through the process of getting their businesses started off on the right foot.
“We provide custom-made business development strategies – from helping to develop a business and marketing plan, to helping entrepreneurs obtain the resources they need to be successful,” said Crain, the company’s executive partner. “We’re a business helping businesses.
“The idea is to be a partner for the life of the business.”
The Midland-based firm works with a broad variety of companies, including those in the food and restaurant industry, retail, trucking and oil companies, said Garcia, the company’s co-executive partner.
In addition to working one-on-one with clients, the company offers a variety of online classes taught by Crain, a former business professor at UTPB.
Often-times customers arrive with an idea that isn’t fully thought out. It’s Crain and Garcia’s job to help their customers flesh-out the plan, or be honest and explain why it won’t work and try to steer them in a direction with a pretty chance for success.
“Last year we had a truck driver come to us,” Crain said. “He wanted to be an independent business owner; but we knew he would be a small fish in a big pond.”
Crain and Garcia explained to the truck driver that it would be difficult, if not impossible to compete with larger trucking companies. But instead of letting him give up on his dream, they proposed a different plan.
They connected him with three other independent truck drivers with the same desire to start their own business. After meeting, the four trucker drivers decided to join forces and create one bigger company which enabled them to combine resources, Garcia said. The locally-based company is flourishing and continuing to grow one year later.
By joining forces, the truck drivers created a larger company that had more leverage when bidding on jobs, Garcia said. They also complimented each other because each truck owner specialized in a different area; for example, one man was a sand hauler, another owned a refrigerated truck.
Crain and Garcia recently helped another group of entrepreneurs combine forces and start their own oil company.
“A lot of people want to become entrepreneurs, but there’s a lot of questions they don’t ask,” Crain said. “We try to educate them to look at the market and determine if they can handle the demand.”
Crain and Garcia’s own business venture got off to an unexpected bumpy start. They moved into their Midland headquarters at 3107 N. Big Spring in February 2020 just weeks before the COVID-19 pandemic shut down most businesses throughout the country, including Texas.
“I left another job in February and then COVID hit,” Garcia said. “It felt like we had walked off a plank.”
But the experienced businessmen didn’t panic. They were already working with several clients which kept them afloat last year. In December, they purchased their current building.
Crain and Garcia say their combined experiences help them relate to other entrepreneurs, or as Crain says, “We’ve done what they’re trying to do.”
Crain is a longtime entrepreneur and taught business-related classes for 10 years as a UTPB professor. Garcia was one of Crain’s students.
“I had tried many times to run my own business and had reached a point where I was done with trying to be an entrepreneur,” admits Garcia, who grew up in Austin.
He enrolled at UTPB about six years ago with the new goal of becoming a history teacher. Crain’s teaching style and passion for business reignited Garcia’s enthusiasm.
The teacher and student grew closer and decided to launch BAM which is an acronym for business acquisition and mergers.
“That’s the real story behind BAM,” Crain admits as both men begin to laugh.
“It’s also something you say when someone has a great idea and does something with it,” Garcia adds. “And then it’s “‘Bam!’ that works.”
BAM actually has two components, Crain said. BAM BIZHUB is the nonprofit side of the company that provides free and low-cost business classes. In 2022 they plan to launch their first High School Bootcamp, a four-week program that will introduce young people to the idea of become an entrepreneur. BAM is the for-profit side which works with clients to develop their businesses.