Audrey Spirit, LLC

audrey spirit

Audrey Spirit LLC is an inspiring example of a business born out of passion, need, and love.

In 2011, Donna Yadrich lost her beloved 15-year-old daughter, Audrey Grace, from complications of serious medical problems.  Although appreciative of the tremendous care Audrey received during her countless hospitalizations, Donna observed that generic hospital gowns stripped young patients of their youthful attitude and personal dignity.  Street wear worn in the hospital required a nurse to unhook and re-hook medical lines just to change in to a clean shirt.  During Audrey’s final hospitalization, Donna made customized t-shirts that were both “hospital-friendly” and also expressed Audrey’s spunky personality. After 25 years in the medical field, Donna experienced a lapse in employment after Audrey’s death.  That is when Donna decided to launch Audrey Spirit LLC, a clothing manufacturer that continues her daughter’s mission – to make difficult times that hospital patients face as personable, comfortable and empowering as possible.

The first line of Audrey Spirit apparel includes xamtees™; these therapeutic t-shirts help nurses get around invasive medical devices without having to disconnect them or contort the patient’s body into uncomfortable positions.  Most importantly, the clothing looks “normal.”  Donna worked with an apparel designer to develop original, patent-pending designs for high quality garments that are comfortable and useful in medical environments.

With the help of the JCCC KSBDC, Audrey Spirit LLC marked its first commercial sale of xamtee™ therapeutic garments to a local children’s hospital in 2013. Donna explained that “without the support and guidance of the KSBDC, I would not have found a U.S. manufacturer to produce the garments that are being worn today by children fighting cancer and other critical illnesses.”  Donna has been meeting with Elisa Waldman of the KSBDC on a regular basis since 2012.  According to Donna, “Elisa provides an unmatched dimension of practical and visionary support for my small business.”

Convincing seasoned healthcare professionals to support a new venture, like Audrey Spirit LLC, and to embrace an innovative new product is challenging in the healthcare industry. Donna spent many months forging relationships within the healthcare system. She organized beta tests and meticulously surveyed patients, nurses, and doctors to gather feedback and suggestions for improvement of xamtee™ t-shirts.  Now that the t-shirts are available for sale, Donna continues to champion the needs of her customers by seeking payment for Audrey Spirit xamtee™   through medical insurance.

Donna has taken full advantage of KSBDC offerings including QuickBooks courses, business plan review, and in-depth assessment of financial goals and projections. Donna believes that “having the confidence through preparation and the numbers to support my financial projections directly reflects the efforts of the KSBDC. Elisa required me to stop avoiding unknown details and create a five-year sales plan. As a result, Audrey Spirit LLC won a $5000 award in a local pitch contest!”

Donna is an outstanding example of an entrepreneur who is succeeding as a result of determination, hard work, persistence, and the support of seasoned professionals. When Donna is asked for advice from new business owners, she always tells them that “every obstacle is an opportunity.” Donna truly practices this advice, and she remains busy identifying opportunities and designing future medical industry products worthy of Audrey’s legacy.

About Audrey Spirit
Owner:  Donna Macan Yadrich
Nature of Business:  Therapeutic Garment Manufacturer
City: Kansas City, Kansas
County: Wyandotte
Phone/website: (913) 980-6282   www.audreyspirit.com

About our consultant Elisa Waldman

Elisa Waldman brings her past experiences as an attorney and a retail store owner to her current position as a consultant for the Kansas Small Business Development Center (Kansas SBDC) at JCCC. Prior to joining the Kansas SDBC in 2005, Elisa earned her undergraduate degree from Harvard University and her law degree from George Washington University. Elisa practiced law in the Kansas City area with a focus on land use and business litigation, and she worked as the Advocacy Manager and in-house Counsel for the Academy of General Dentistry in Chicago, Illinois. While in Chicago, Elisa also taught as an adjunct professor at DePaul University Law School. She is currently an Adjunct Instructor of Business Law at Johnson County Community College.

Elisa left the practice of law to pursue her creative and entrepreneurial interests by opening Paint Glaze & Fire, Inc., a retail paint-your-own pottery studio in Overland Park. Elisa opened her small business with the assistance of the Kansas SBDC.  During her eight years of ownership, Elisa was responsible for all areas of business operations including marketing, finance, technical training, employee relations and customer service. In 2000, Elisa opened Successful Studio Consulting Inc. and has assisted over 200 pottery studios in opening their doors throughout the United States and Canada. Upon selling her studio, Elisa joined the Kansas SBDC as a full-time consultant.

Shooting for Success

bob fisher with charles barkley

When Bob Fisher started his business in 2008 all he wanted to do was improve the way basketball shooting is taught.

After 5 years of trying to build a business, he and his wife Connie felt like they weren’t making progress. The lack of revenue was a concern.

So in 2013 they found the Kansas SBDC at WU in Wetmore, Kansas and Mary Ann Reiderer.

Bob could make every shot he took on the basketball court, but was missing shots in his business. He had gained a great degree of exposure early on. The record holder of more than a dozen Guinness World Records, he had traveled nationally and internationally entertaining crowds at various events. They’d been involved with the Advanced Manufacturing Institute at Kansas State University and had developed a relationship with a basketball manufacturer, but hadn’t closed a deal for sponsorship or retail space.

They were, in basketball terms, shooting air balls.

Together Mary Ann and the Fishers began working on a plan that would afford the business the ability to share Bob’s knowledge and affect change in the game he loved, as well as provide a comfortable second career with Bob’s upcoming retirement. They took a two-tiered approach that would both attract steady income and exposure as well as impart Bob’s specific knowledge to students of the game. They have set their sights first on corporate sponsorship and second on one-on-one coaching, camps, and consulting. The Fishers have established a pricing strategy, are currently coaching individual players, and are cultivating relationships to increase their team consulting options.

It was challenging to take a unique personal skill and turn it into a business model with precise focus. By working with their Kansas SBDC consultant team – including Caleb Asher, a social media and marketing consultant contracting with the Kansas SBDC at WU – they have discovered a short list of solutions that will guide their direction forward.

“They helped us pinpoint our focus,” said Bob. “We were confused as to which path to take and our Kansas SBDC consultant helped prioritize our options.” Through working with the Kansas SBDC, Fisher Sharp Shooters, LLC, has gained additional exposure and are continuing to make progress in growing their business.

“Having a defined strategy in place has given Bob and Connie the means of evaluating opportunities and prioritizing their next steps,” shared Reiderer. We still continue to work together as a team to transform Bob’s passion and skill into a thriving business.

When we asked Bob what advice he’d give himself if he could go back in time, he shared that he would tell himself to “plan for more expense” and “there’s more to starting a business than you think.” For someone thinking about starting a business today, Bob would advise someone to “be prepared for it to take longer than what you might expect.” And for those entrepreneurs currently in business,” Put quality first; be the best.” What’s Bob’s key to his business success thus far? “Persistence.”

About Fisher Sharp Shooters

Centralia, Kansas
785-799-5651
https://twitter.com/CoachBobFisher

About our consulant MaryAnn Reiderer

Mary Ann Riederer, consultant with Kansas SBDC at WU in Wetmore is a graduate of Kansas State University and has earned degrees in Management and in Marketing. Prior to joining the KSBDC, Mary Ann worked in large and small business settings, was an independent contractor, and owned her own business.

Recognizing that each entrepreneur comes to their business with a unique skill set, Mary Ann enjoys working with each person toward a complete business balance that includes creative marketing plans, routine accounting and evaluation practices, and constructive management techniques. Mary Ann can be reached by email at maryann.riederer@washburn.edu or 785-207-0267.

Hard work grows a business

hard work grows a business

Dexter Pfeifer, owner of Pfeifer Landscaping, has demonstrated how hard work can grow a business. He created the business because of his love of landscaping and desire to own something of his own. What started as a passion has developed into a full-fledged landscaping business with a complete list of services including, but not limited to installing and repairing sprinkler systems, lawn maintenance, and landscape design. During the colder months, the business even offers snow removal services.

The business is located in Colby, Kansas, but has expanded to serve much of Northwest Kansas. Mr. Pfeifer reflects, “The greatest challenge was getting started.” His Kansas SBDC consultant sat down with him and went through the business plan and loan process step-by-step. “It taught me a lot about business and marketing I did not know before. It helped me look at the business at a different angle,” explained the owner.

Mr. Pfeifer is constantly surprised by the demand for services. One of his biggest successes has been the positive response to the business’ quality work. Even as the business grows, Dexter is planning for future expansion. His advice for budding entrepreneurs, “Make sure your heart is in it. Make sure this is something you want to put 80-100 hours a week into and still wake up with a smile on your face, ready to go to work.”

SECRET TO SUCCESS

“Working hard. When it comes down to the business you don’t have any days off. you learn from your mistakes and get better the next day.”

Owner: Dexter Pfeifer

Nature of Business: Landscaping Service

City, County: Colby, KS

Phone/E-mail: (785) 462-0134  /  pfeiferlandscaping@gmail.com

Structure: Sole Proprietorship:

Began: 2012

Employees: 3 full-time, 3 part-time

KSBDC Consultant: Megan Horinek

Get to Know the Consultant:

Hey Machinery Company, Inc.

Hey Machinery Company, Inc.

Any business that has been around for 85 years clearly has the ability to stand the test of time.  Hey Machinery Company, Inc., also known as Hey Wheel, has spanned four generations of family owners so far. Hey Wheel sells re-purposed aircraft tires for off-highway, agricultural use.  They also manufacture rims and centers.  Their products can be found on tractors, grain carts, feed wagons, and other agricultural implements all over the country.

Will Hey started the business in 1929.  Mr. Hey was a dealer for International Harvester, who also did custom threshing, house moving, lumber sawing, and anything else he needed to do to make the business go in the early days.  In 1938, Will Hey mounted an aircraft tire to a rim to be used off-highway, which proved to be a key development.

The business has been located on its current Baldwin City site since 1962.  Right around that time, Hey Wheel manufactured their first bolt-together wheel, which expanded the potential uses of aircraft tires.  Rather than disposing of  tires that don’t pass rigorous pre-flight inspection, Hey Wheel makes it possible for farmers and OEMs to use these tires, cost-effectively, in ways that make sense.

Long-standing family businesses face a number of unique challenges.  Hey Wheel approached the Kansas Small Business Development Center at the University of Kansas (Kansas SBDC at KU) for assistance with valuation and family succession/transition issues.

“Our KSBDC Consultant was easy to work with and completed a difficult assignment for us in a timely fashion,“ according to Bob Hey.  With careful planning, hard work, and the right assistance, Hey Wheel plans to be around to celebrate even more birthdays.

SECRET TO SUCCESS

 In our business, customer relationships are everything.  Whether it’s farmers or OEMs, we pride ourselves on meeting customers’ needs in the areas of price, quality, and delivery time. –John Hey

About Hey Machinery Company, Inc.

Owners: Bob Hey, John Hey, Bryan Hey
Nature of Business: Wheels, rims, aircraft tires for agricultural use
City, County: Baldwin City, Douglas
Phone: (785) 594-3441
Website: Hey Wheel

About our consultant Will Katz | Kansas SBDC regional director and consultant

Will has undWill Katz Kansas SBDC at KUergraduate majors in Philosophy and Russian to go along with an MBA and CVA (certified valuation analyst). Will has expertise in valuation, financial analysis, and non-traditional sources of capital. He loves working with small businesses because each one is a unique snowflake and a novel learning opportunity.  Will loves playing guitar, riding motorcycles, and spending time with his family.

Will can be reached at willkatz@ku.edu or 785-843-8844.

 

The American Dream is alive and well in Cottonwood Falls

ec297dbe0a0d028a0125d92c341b3394

The American Dream is alive in Cottonwood Falls, Kansas

The American Dream is still alive. Living where you want to live. Working where you want to work. Many of us dream about it, a select few of us make it happen.

“I’ve been a mechanic all my life and had gained experience and expertise over the years. I saw an opportunity in my community to buy an existing mechanic shop and along with this, an opportunity to make a living in my home community without having to drive to a job away from home every day,” shared Dustin Maddox. “I knew I had the expertise to provide excellent service and saw the chance to own a business of my own.”

For Dusty, this dream became a possibility when he heard that the local automotive repair shop was for sale.

To find out not only what was involved in buying the business, but to decide what a fair price for the business would be and what it would take to be successful he would need some help. Dusty had heard about the Chase County E-Communities program. The Chase County E-Communities program is a program offered by the Chase County Economic Development, Inc Committee to encourage entrepreneurial activity in Chase County. It was created through a Kansas Center for Entrepreneurship Tax Credit program in 2008. Qualifying entrepreneurial projects may include start-up businesses, as well as existing business purchases and/or expansions.

To potentially take advantage of the low-interest loans offered by the e-communities program and evaluate the opportunity to purchase the existing automotive repair shop in Cottonwood Falls, Dusty knew he would need help to get his plans on paper and with the application. To get help he contacted the Kansas SBDC at ESU in Emporia and began working with Lisa Brumbaugh, regional director and consultant. Lisa was the perfect consultant for Dusty’s needs. She had extensive expertise in financing, the process of buying and selling businesses, as well as business valuation – a key to determining initially the value of the purchase.

Lisa provided consulting free-of-charge to Dusty and together they worked on his plans and financial projections. They dug deep into analyzing the market he’d be serving, how he’d maximize billable hours, what taxes the business would be responsible for, and critical expense estimates associated with running the business. They left no stone unturned and investigated everything he’d need upfront to avoid any later surprises.

Several solutions and quite a bit of insight can be generated as part of the business transition (buy/sell) consulting process. Kansas SBDC consultants work with potential buyers of existing businesses to determine a range of purchase prices using recognized evaluation standards. Then as consultants they evaluate how this price range would impact future cash flow of the business helping the client, or potential future buyer, determine if and what is feasible to pay for the purchase. Consultants work with clients to estimate potential fluctuations in sales due to seasonality, what form of legal ownership would work best, and what types of items to be aware of during the actual business buy/sell transaction (i.e. sales contracts needed, list of assets being purchased, etc.). Future profit/loss and cash flow projections often become a make or break point for the buyer to determine if financially the business, once purchased, can be successful.

Lisa worked with Dusty guiding him through the process. She knew that he’d benefit greatly by getting his plans on paper and she could help him out tremendously by pointing out things he may not have thought about as a future business owner.

By working on financial projections early on Dusty was better prepared to not only own the business, but purchase it at a fair price. And on March 10, 2014, Dusty’s Repair went from dream to reality.

Dusty was able to successfully transition the business for himself and his community. The business has surpassed all income projections. The community now has a mechanic and general welder available full-time five days per week. An increase over the previous limited service hours provided by the business he purchased.

And Dusty’s family wins too. The Maddox family can raise their three children in a community they love.

Now what made this truly a success was something you probably don’t hear often. Dusty knew he wanted to own a business in his community, but he was very realistic about his expectations and was not stuck on owning this business at any cost. He wanted it to work the way it should and was prepared to walk away if realistic projections didn’t prove the business could be financially feasible.

By reaching out and getting help and being prepared to walk away, Dusty laid the groundwork to build a long-term successful and a needed business in Cottonwood Falls, Kansas.

Dusty’s Repair is a perfect example of what a small business can mean to a community, how much a community can lend its support through e-community financing, and a supportive local bank. It’s the story of how a small town rural Kansas resident can find a way to live and work in his own community and realize the American Dream.

Dusty’s keys to success:

“Be known and trusted by people in your community. And have a great location that’s visible from the highway and easily accessible.”

About Dusty’s Repair:

Business owner: Dustin Maddox

Business name: Dusty’s Repair LLC

Address: 101 Union St, Cottonwood Falls, KS 66845

Phone: 620-273-8693

About Kansas SBDC consultant

Lisa Brumbaugh, Kansas SBDC at ESU regional director, shares her industry knowledge and experience by consulting in addition to managing the regional center. Lisa has expertise in financial analysis, business valuation, business planning, and business transition. Lisa can be reached at lbrumbau@emporia.edu or 620-341-5308.