Sean’s Downtown Import Auto/ Equipment Repair

SBDC Research Helps Find Successful Business Niche

Sean Fleener came to the Small Business Development Center with more than 30 years’ of experience in the auto and diesel mechanic industry and the desire to start a business.

Working with his adviser, Sean reviewed competitive market data gathered through SBDC network sources and landed on the import auto repair niche. Sean worked through a checklist of licensing, permitting and insurance requirements to structure and register his business.

“My adviser guided me through the business registration process and kept me on track,” Sean said. “He challenged me to build my business for the long term and I now truly appreciate the wisdom of that challenge.”

Sean was almost immediately inundated with clients and has been serving a steady stream of customers ever since. The shop has become a gathering point for classic import car owners. It is not uncommon to see rare BMW and Mercedes motor cars sitting beside more common Volkswagens, Audis, Mini Coopers and the like, all waiting for Sean’s capable diagnostics and repairs.

“The SBDC is not a one and done organization,” Sean said. “My adviser stays in contact with me and is there when I need him. The value of the SBDC to our business community cannot be overstated.”

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Juncos and Junipers Preschool

Crowdfunding helps lower financing needs for new preschool with help from SBDC

Amy Stercho and Sarah Chase spent a collective thirty years in the education field before they began to dream of operating a preschool of their own.

They attended a Smart Start-Up Workshop hosted by the Small Business Development Center to learn about the steps they would need to take to be successful. Their dream continued to grow and they met with an adviser at the center.

“We feel lucky to have found Kat and the Small Business Development Center. She answered our many questions and set us up with Live Plan, which helped us think through and articulate a clear business plan,” said Amy.

To secure financing, Amy and Sarah launched a crowdfunding campaign to bring down the amount they would need. Friends, family and the community came together to fund the crowdfunding campaign and to donate supplies and elbow grease to bring their preschool to life.

Together with their adviser they improved their business plan and their resumes before delivering the application package. The South Central Oregon Economic Development District provided financing for the project.

“We are thankful for the opportunity we had to work with the SBDC and Kat. She helped us make our dreams come true,” said Sarah.

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Rodeo’s Pizza and Saladeria

Opening a Pizzeria with Help from the SBDC

David Scott and his wife, Nell, met in a pizzeria and upon moving to Klamath Falls, found their favorite pizza style unavailable. That’s when David reached out to the SBDC at Klamath Community College.

Their business model was simple: pizza by-the-slice baked on a stone deck, fresh salads and bottled beverages.

“We knew exactly where we wanted to go with our business and how hard we wanted to work to get there. As first-time business owners, we didn’t know what to expect along the way – and that was terrifying,” said Scott. “The SBDC pointed out many of the hazards, detours and short cuts we could expect along the way.”

David was meticulous in writing his business plan and worked diligently to create accurate projections. He became frustrated learning that most lenders want experience in the industry and 100 percent collateral. They launched a Kickstarter campaign instead and scraped together enough to cover their minimum start-up costs.

“SBDC staff gave us encouragement when we needed it and criticism when we deserved it. Their guidance helped us to navigate the risks we were taking on and cope with feelings of insecurity.”

“As for recommending the SBDC to others, I’ve already sent someone!”

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Crater Lake Zipline

Zip lining to Business Success with Help from the SBDC

Darren and Jenifer Roe wanted to combine the exhilaration of zip lining with the breathtaking views of Southern Oregon’s Klamath Basin. Today, Crater Lake Zipline is the longest in Oregon, taking three hours to complete with nine zips, two sky bridges and two rappels. It gives participants a view of the highest layer of the forest.

The Roes’ came to the SBDC to finesse a business plan, seek capital for the project, launch and hire for their newly established company.

“The expert help and support that we receive from the Small Business Development Center team often provide the expertise we need to bridge the gap of what we’re really great at and what we need help with,” said Jenifer.

On August 15, 2015, Crater Lake Zipline opened, creating nine new jobs in the community and infusing a healthy dose of capital investment into the economy of Southern Oregon.

“The SBDC is a valuable extension of our team,” said Jenifer. “We know we can count on their help in keeping the doors open and keeping our staff working. In a world where running a small business keeps getting more and more complicated, we need partners like the SBDC.”

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You’ve got the idea and the business, let us help you take it to the next level.