“Don’t get discouraged in the difficult moments, no business ever prospered without hard work and overcoming adversity.” – Alex Cruz
Headquartered in Grand Rapids, Michigan, I Ride provides high-end ground transportation options to individuals, teams, and companies looking for an alternative to air travel. Whether they have a strong aversion to flight, need room to work in transit, or have a large group that needs to collaborate in comfort from point A to point B, I Ride has affordable options for any number of people.
Seizing the Opportunity
Alex Cruz started the company by working with local lawyers who required transportation from Grand Rapids to Detroit and Chicago for meetings and court appearances. Many law professionals began utilizing the service to make the most of their time—working, preparing depositions, reading, and meeting together while in transit.
“As we grew in clientele, I began to see a real business opportunity and wanted to leverage the momentum through growth and fleet expansion,” said Alex.
Therein lied the rub. Transporting white-collar professionals in and around Michigan and outlying regions required an investment in large, luxury vehicles, equipping each vehicle with high-speed Wi-Fi, an investing in high-quality chauffeurs, not to mention fuel costs.
Alex was at a crossroads, but then an acquaintance told him about GROW’s resources and positive impact in the Grand Rapids small business community.
GROW – Opportunities for Everyone
Alex was initially hesitant to reach out to GROW because he is male. The name Grand Rapids Opportunities for Women says it all. But it’s important to note that GROW professionals welcome and work with all genders, helping them start, build, and scale their businesses.
“It was difficult to find the funding we needed to keep up the company’s momentum,” says Alex. “GROW was integral in providing that to us.” Alex began his journey with GROW by attending one of our Intro to GROW sessions, he then participated in a one-on-one business counseling class, working with us to better identify the direction and scalable opportunities in his business.
After those two positive interactions, Alex decided to apply for a GROW microloan and got it! “GROW secured us the funding necessary to purchase another vehicle, which allowed us to increase our trip frequency and profitability,” said Alex.
In addition to expanding his fleet of luxury vehicles, I Ride also used a portion of the loan to develop a mobile app, which will be launched in mid-2018. The app will allow clients to request transportation services directly on their mobile device and will also provide language translation services, so anyone can ride with I Ride.
Best in Class Transportation and Advice
As Alex has continued to grow his business, he has a couple pieces of valuable advice for any prospective small business owner who is thinking about taking the plunge. “Work hard to establish a positive reputation in the community. Word of mouth is one of the best methods of promotion for your business. Don’t get discouraged in the difficult moments, no business ever prospered without hard work and overcoming adversity. Building a successful business required the help of the community and individuals/institutions that believe in your vision.”
At the end of the day, Alex finds the entire experience to be a very rewarding one and has enjoyed watching his dream become a reality. “It’s a valuable endeavor and a meaningful undertaking. I began with a dream to serve my community and with hard work and investments, I have watched it succeed, prosper, and make a positive impact on the community. I’m very thankful for that.
Learn more about Alex’s company online at www.holarider.com.