"Very fast" track to success: chamber member business Prestissimo finds a niche in Southeastern Michigan.

Author:Eakins, Louis
Position:DAY IN THE LIFE - Interview
 
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Carl Scott is president (or il Presidente, as he sometimes goes by) of chamber member Prestissimo Window Cleaning Co., a Ferndale-based window cleaning company that has taken off big time and now serves southeast Michigan and northern Ohio. He's not your average business owner; Scott started his business at 18 and runs it while going to school full time. He joined the Detroiter to talk about his success.

Detroiter: Did anyone tell you it was foolish to start a business at 18? Who provided you with the most encouragement? Did anyone tell you not to do it?

Carl Scott: Plenty of people tried to discourage me from starting a business, but none more feverishly than my parents and the owner of the window cleaning company I worked for at the time. When I got into it, I had a shoe-string budget, and absolutely no clue about the bureaueratic and legal ends of the business world. I just knew how to talk to people and clean windows. I went into business because I was tired of working my butt off for minimum wage. I have learned by making mistakes -just never the same one twice.

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D: Where did you learn to manage the day-to-day operations of the business? Did you take a class, or consult books, or just learn along the way?

CS: I've never had a single business class, but I see now how it would have made things a lot easier. I registered my business about a week after declaring sociology as my major at Wayne State. Even though social science is a passion of mine, it is certainly no way to pay the bills.

In my business's infancy, when I was still a teenager, I would skip shaving every day, thinking that my stubble made me look older and therefore more trustworthy. I'd go to networking events and get invited out for drinks and have to make up an excuse as to why I couldn't make it, because I didn't want to reveal my age.

D: What is a typical day like for you?

CS: A typical day for me involves class at Wayne State, quoting jobs, meeting perspective clients or associates for lunch, networking events, homework, study groups, random office work (emails, faxes, invoices, phone calls, etc) and supervising jobs. I try to work every job if I can. And of course, I'm still young, so I feel obligated to have a good time at the end of the day, staying out way too late and not sleeping sufficiently before doing it all again.

D: What do you consider your greatest business success thus far?

CS: My greatest success as a business person thus far is that I've maintained...

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