Greg Jensen, Splash Zone -- A True Entrepreneurial Story
Greg Jensen says that his current success with Splash Zone Waterpark and Putt Putt Golf is a bit of a fluke. Don't you believe him!
A grain inspector for 10 years, it is entirely possible that Greg did not realize he wanted to own his own business; at least until he learned that Splash Zone was up for sale. Then his, heretofore unknown entrepreneurial spirit kicked into gear. He purchased the park in March of '97. That left him very little time to learn what he needed to know about the business and prepare the park for its May 23rd opening. However, with a spouse that was willing to work with him side by side and his willingness to seek out answers to his many questions, he managed to achieve his goal and open the park on time.
"I wish I had known about the existence of OSBDC/SCORE when I first started. I actually found out about them by asking a lot of questions around town," says Jensen. "Ultimately, they were very helpful, particularly in the area of marketing and advertising. I even had a Small Business Institute team of students from NWOSU. They helped me to draft out my first rough marketing plan. I also attended the OSBDC's ABC's of Marketing & Advertising workshop and worked with Charlie Kuchinsky and Bill Gregory on advertising concepts. All of that helped me get a handle on the whole marketing issue. Now it is probably my favorite management duty."
When asked about the conflicts or obstacles he's had to deal with in business, Jensen responds, "In the beginning time was a major issue. The business purchase went through so late in the year. But we made it happen. Also, signage has always been an obstacle. There hasn't been sufficient signage for the park until recently. Now we have a colorful new billboard on West Garriott that should help a lot. Maintenance is yet another major issue. There's always a lot of work to be done to keep everything clean and in good condition. It takes three to four people about a month to prepare the water park for its spring opening."
Last year Jensen made arrangements to lease Dexter's Putt Putt (located adjacent to the waterpark).
"This agreement has worked well thus far. It opened the doors for a cooperative arrangement with Skate Town and Oakwood Bowl for a student day camp that allows parents to drop their kids off for a day of activity at a combination of those four facilities - - Oakwood Bowl, Skate Town, Putt Putt, and Splash Zone."
Additionally, Jensen has built a skate park on Splash Zone's property. It provides skate boarders and roller bladers with a safe place to skate.
As if all of this isn't enough work to keep him busy, last year Jensen co-purchased Advanced Fiberglass Services in Hennessey, which he also manages.
"It's a good merger. It allows me easier access to materials and services needed for repairs at the waterpark," says Jensen.
When asked what words of wisdom he would impart to new potential small business owners, Jensen said, "I hope people who are thinking about going into business thing through he entire process before making a final decision. It is worth it, overall, but it is also a time consuming proposition. Therefore, it is important to have a good support system in place, be it family, friends, or a combination of both. Also, people should be aware that good credit will go a long way in helping in the building of the business. Lack of credit could be a major roadblock."
Although not included in his list, one could also add creativity as a good quality for a new business owner to have. Had Jensen not had that quality, he might not be where he is today; the owner of two businesses and the leaser of a third, with cooperative agreements in place with two more. It is his creative thinking, energy, enthusiasm, and pure "love" of the business that has allowed Greg Jensen and his wife Kristie to build an entrepreneurial dream. And they aren't done yet.
"I still want to add more attractions and rides, attract more public and private parties; and bring in more people from the communities surrounding the Enid area."
He may feel he has a way to go but Greg Jensen is already well on his way to total business success!