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1996 Inc. 500 #75

George P. Birdsong III, Systems Partners

"Our company grew pretty fast, but we were just making payroll, and to do that we dinged every credit card we had. One day my sons were on their way to school, and they said, 'Dad, we need some lunch money.' And I didn't have it. It dawned on me that this must be what it feels like to be a real entrepreneur, because I really couldn't go anywhere to even get a buck. The banks wouldn't talk to me. I remember shaking some coins out of my son's cheeseburger piggy bank and saying, 'Kid, I owe you some money."