Challenges that almost ruined my business

Challenges almost destroyed these small businesses, but their owners overcame them and rebuilt their companies.

An employee stole one-fourth of our profits
An employee stole one-fourth of our profits
Owner: Holden Thomas
Location: Waco and Dallas, Texas

I started Excellent Mortgage in 2006 during the housing boom, and I wanted to grow as fast as possible. I wasn't thorough during the hiring process and did not properly vet applicants.

In 2008, a loan officer I had hired embezzled about a quarter of our annual net profits. That crippled us.

After the dust settled, I realized I had hired people who did not reflect the values that I wanted our company to embody. I didn't want people who wanted to make money at any cost. I wanted people who had good work ethics and morals.

I started over from scratch, hiring primarily based on character. I probably went overboard, but I wanted to make sure that I was building on a solid foundation.

I also realized that we needed a new name and brand that represented the new vision of the company. We changed the name to Oak Mortgage Group in 2011 as a symbol that, this time, we won't be moved.

Our revenue is now up by 400%. The market really gave us a chance for a fresh start, and the slow rebranding and rebuilding repaired the broken walls of a devastating past.

As told to Andrea Williams, contributing writer @CNNMoney - Last updated April 02 2012: 12:56 PM ET
Join the Conversation
I have jobs, but no one wants them

Some small business owners say they're hiring but they can't find employees, despite millions being unemployed.

Most Popular

Most stock quote data provided by BATS. Market indices are shown in real time, except for the DJIA, which is delayed by two minutes. All times are ET. Disclaimer. Morningstar: © 2018 Morningstar, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Factset: FactSet Research Systems Inc. 2018. All rights reserved. Chicago Mercantile Association: Certain market data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved. Dow Jones: The Dow Jones branded indices are proprietary to and are calculated, distributed and marketed by DJI Opco, a subsidiary of S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC and have been licensed for use to S&P Opco, LLC and CNN. Standard & Poor's and S&P are registered trademarks of Standard & Poor's Financial Services LLC and Dow Jones is a registered trademark of Dow Jones Trademark Holdings LLC. All content of the Dow Jones branded indices © S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC 2018 and/or its affiliates.