Couple Sells Business to Employee of 20 years

 

Gabriel Orozco Goes from Technician to

Proud Owner of S.T.A.R. Windshield Repair

 

Austin, TX:  After working at S.T.A.R. Windshield Repair for more than 20 years, on January 2, 2018, Gabriel Orozco bought the business from the retiring owners, Eileen and Larry Smith.

Larry and Eileen are happy to see Gabriel take over the business that has been serving the Austin area since 1986. “We wish nothing but the best for Gabe,” said former owner, Larry Smith. The Smiths will be helping Orozco through a three-month transition period, to prevent any disruption in service as Orozco makes the transition from technician to owner.

For the last 6 months, Gabriel Orozco has consulted with Economic Growth Business Incubator (EGBI), an organization that provides training, coaching, and support to aspiring and existing business owners. He completed EGBI’s business workshop series and will continue to be coached by EGBI staff to sharpen his business skills through the changeover.  EGBI helped Orozco qualify for a Small Business Administration (SBA) loan from PeopleFund for the purchase, and connected Orozco to the University of Texas School of Law Entrepreneurship & Community Development Clinic for legal support.

Orozco looks forward to providing the same excellent service S.T.A.R. Windshield Repair clients are accustomed to.  “As a longtime customer, we are excited to hear Gabriel will be taking over the business and preserving the excellent customer service he has always provided us,” said Roy Reyes at Double R Sport Imports.

About S.T.A.R. Windshield Repair: S.T.A.R. Windshield Repair has served the Austin area as the rock damage repair specialist since 1986. Their mobile service has a lifetime money-back guarantee and provides insurance deductible waivers. For more information, contact the new owner, Gabe Orozco, at 512-576-5154.

 

8th Annual Small Business Saturday® and Shop Small®

Economic Growth Business Incubator (EGBI) lends its support to the 8th Annual Small Business Saturday® and Shop Small® Movement to drive commerce to small businesses.  EGBI participates in this years Small Business Saturday, taking place on November 25th. Small Business Saturday is a day dedicated to supporting local small businesses and strengthening and celebrating communities across the country.

 

Austin’s a great city for small business. At EGBI, we embrace that spirit by bringing individuals, who historically have had less access to great resources, the support they need to help them become more successful business owners. That includes training, coaching and more, delivered in a comfortable environment in either English or Spanish. We meet our clients at their level as they start, grow and sustain grassroots businesses, contributing to Austin’s economy and the prosperity of their families.  Help us extend Austin’s entrepreneurial opportunity throughout our community. For  the 8th Annual Small Business Saturday® and Shop Small® Movement, EGBI is encouraging their alumni from Emerging Enterprises Training program and other local small business to get ready for the day with promotional banners and signage for their business provided at ShopSmall.com/YourDay .  Be sure to use hashtags #SmallBizSat #ShopSmall when posting about Small Business Saturday® and Shop Small® Movement.

Created by American Express in 2010, Small Business Saturday serves as the ceremonial kickoff to the holiday shopping season for small businesses across the United States. In 2016, an estimated 112 million consumers reported shopping at small businesses on Small Business Saturday, according to the 2016 Small Business Saturday Consumer Insights Survey.

The day was also championed by elected officials in all 50 states and Washington, D.C. Small Business Saturday celebrates the diversity of small businesses across the U.S. and EGBI recognizes the importance of supporting small businesses, the jobs they help create, and the culture they instill in local communities.  According to the U.S. Small Businesses Administration, as of 2014, small businesses nationwide accounted for 63% of net new private-sector jobs created and represented 99.7% of firms with paid employees.

Merchants and consumers can learn more about Small Business Saturday and how to get involved by visiting ShopSmall.com.

ABOUT SMALL BUSINESS SATURDAY

November 25th marks the eighth annual Small Business Saturday, a day dedicated to supporting the local businesses that can help create jobs, boost the economy and preserve neighborhoods around the country. Small Business Saturday was created by American Express in 2010 in response to small business owners most pressing need: more customers. Learn more on ShopSmall.com, instagram.com/shopsmall, facebook.com/SmallBusinessSaturday, twitter.com/shopsmall.  Visit the Shop Small Studio. Download customizable materials and proudly display Small Business Saturday marketing materials to help remind customers that it’s great to Shop Small year-round.

Estimates are based on consumer self-reported data from the Small Business Saturday Consumer Insights Survey by National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) and American Express (November 27, 2016) and do not reflect actual receipts or sales.

Tips on Small Business Videos

By Michael Mason

You might have a great product or service, but one of the mistakes people make is assuming that your customers will automatically find you, just because you are a great company. You have to remember that people in general are very visual. Wharton School of Business says that a well-produced video increases information retention by 50% and speeds up financial decisions by 72%. 90% of the communication provided by video is nonverbal, such as body language and tone of voice. In addition, there are all kinds of trust barriers that are knocked down by video, which can mean everything for your company.

What not to do when making a video:

The first mistake people make when making a video is the inclination to make something too long. Understandably, companies have a lot to say and want to say all of it. You have to remember, your videos aren’t required viewing. We find 1 minute 30 seconds is usually the sweet spot.

Another common mistake we see is people often come off as too formal in their videos. This is your chance to humanize yourself. Don’t say what you think is standard for the situation. Always speak from the heart.

What do you do with your video? 

When you have a video you have to post it in the right places. It’s great to send your video to email subscribers, people who are already familiar with you will love the personal touch of video, which will increase retention.

It’s vital to use social media, which is peerless for video sharing. Facebook alone represents a whopping 4 billion video streams a day and video sharing from one’s own network is exponentially more effective.

Posting on YouTube is an absolute must. If YouTube is considered a search engine (as it certainly should be), it is the #2 largest search engine in the world and is largely the preferred search engine for millennials.

And you need to make sure your video is prominently embedded on your website. The average time a person spends on a website with only text is 57 seconds. A website with video? 6 minutes!

Can you afford it?

Thanks to new technologies, film production is getting better and better for less and less money. The most significant cost should be the skill and creativity of the filmmaker. You need someone with a great eye for shooting and editing. With the right production team you can have something of cinematic quality for minimal cost.

Michael Mason is Owner and Executive Producer of Perfect Chaos Films in Austin, TX, a video/animation production company specialized in corporate culture videos, product explainers, commercials and feature development. 

Five Time Saving Tools for Your Business

By Jessica Kane

Today, it’s easier than ever before to use your entrepreneurial skills and get into the world of business. With the Internet, it’s possible to reach a worldwide audience from the comfort of your home or office. However, with such an increase in demand for the various products and services that are on the market, time has become a much more valuable asset. Running a business can become hectic, and you can sometimes find yourself feeling as though there just aren’t enough hours in a day to get everything done. When you work smarter instead of harder, however, you solve this common dilemma, and there are five time saving tools for your business you should start using now.

1. Open Platform for All to Use

Especially if you have a number of employees, it can be frustrating to make sure everyone stays in the loop when it comes to projects and other areas that require multi-departmental unity. When you consider the implementation of a project management platform, you can allow everyone in the business to weigh in and actively communicate with one remotely while making the information accessible to all. Basecamp is a software program that allows you to do just that.

2. Clutter-Free Work Space

Let’s face it. Running a business is hectic, and it may seem as though taking the time to do some housecleaning is something that’s better left on the back burner. However, when you choose to invest your time in cleaning up the office, warehouse, or other area that’s become cluttered, you can help save hours of time in the long run. For example, a cluttered filing cabinet may require you to search longer for the documents you need. While it may take you three or four hours to get it organized, it will save you even more time over the course of the coming weeks and months. If you can’t do it yourself, designate an employee to perform the job.

3. Outsourcing Your Accounting and Payroll

A great investment to make is in a qualified professional to take care of your payroll and accounting needs. Not only can they free up a substantial amount of time, but they can also make sure you stay in compliance with all laws and guidelines. You could even consider a software program such as Paychex to make the process far less complicated.

4. 1Password

You likely have numerous passwords in your life, and so do your employees. With 1Password, your life will be made much less complicated. You simply have to remember one master password, and you can quickly access all programs you want to be associated with the account.

5. Trello

Another highly innovative and effect tool business owners should be using isTrello. This app serves as a project manager and to-do list accessible by anyone you want. Here, you can create to-do lists and establish important deadlines to make sure everyone is on board. Best of all, the app is free to use.

Best Shot for Success

Every business owner wants to succeed, and the feeling you get when you’re managing and doing well at what you love is hard to compare to any other. Whether you are still in the planning stages of your business or have been in operation for a number of years, now’s the time to begin considering how you can protect the asset that’s all too commonly overlooked: your time. By considering these five time saving tools, you can quickly be on your way to your best shot for the success you deserve.

Jessica Kane is a professional blogger who writes for Faxage, a leading company that provide internet fax services for individuals and businesses.

Challenges for the Low-Income, Small Business Entrepreneur

by Al Lopez, EGBI Executive Director

For many people, owning their own business is a dream that may never become a reality, simply because the concept of becoming an entrepreneur is foreign.  There are a thousand reasons why low-income entrepreneurs never start their business, such as no access to start-up capital, unavailable financing due to poor credit, and limited connections to influential people.

While the challenges may seem insurmountable, there are options for low-income entrepreneurs looking to start a small business.  Here are just a few challenges you may face and how EGBI’s resources can help you:

  • Challenge 1Exposure to role models and mentors – the lack of role models and mentors is one of the main reasons why low-income entrepreneurs have difficulty starting small businesses.  Successful entrepreneurs have many role models and at least one mentor available to them at all times.  To overcome this challenge, you should reach out to other entrepreneurs, attend functions where you can meet others that have started successful businesses, and take advantage of the network of professionals and resources available at EGBI. We enjoy creating mentor/mentee relationships with our clients, so don’t hesitate reaching out to us to schedule a consultation.
  • Challenge 2Failure to see Entrepreneurship as a career option – because many low-income people do not have the same exposure to entrepreneurs, they often fail to see the benefit of being an entrepreneur.  Individuals who have the desire, need to have encouragement.  To overcome this challenge, make an effort to meet others with the same desires.  The programs available at EGBI will help provide you the encouragement you need to become a successful small business entrepreneur, and allow you to envision this as your career.
  • Challenge 3Misunderstanding of basic financial literacy – because low-income people have little money, they often lack the basic knowledge in regards to finances.  Understanding basic finances, such as balancing a checkbook, understanding credit, and more, will not only help you pay off debt and improve your credit rating, but will give you the ability to raise capital to fund your new business.  Learning financial management is a great resource available to you at EGBI through our entrepreneurial training.
  • Challenge 4Finding access to capital – no matter what type of business you wish to start, it is beneficial to understand and know how to find access to the necessary capital.  Since most low-income entrepreneurs have limited resources, such as family, friends, or their own money, they must rely on finding other avenues to fund their start-ups.  There is an abundance of resources available today for new entrepreneurs looking to start a business – you just need to know where to look. A good place to start is the upcoming Central Texas Small Business Forum on Oct. 14th.

Becoming an entrepreneur is a dream that many people have, but seldom is that dream made a reality.  For many reasons, people will squash their dream, simply because they lack the knowledge to start.  However, there are many programs available to help you become a small business owner and start you on the path to success and financial freedom.  You simply need to take the first step – contact EGBI today to see how we can help you make your dream a reality!

Listening to your clients matters – A LOT

What does client feedback buy your fledgling business?

Provides information.

Is your offering good or what needs to change? We think we have a great product or service, especially if our business is doing well. But staying in tune with customers is critical feedback.

Helps you keep customers.

Sometimes even if the customer wasn’t thrilled with your service, getting their feedback is a great way to let them know you care about how the experience went. It is much more profitable to keep existing customers than to constantly acquire new ones.

Improves your product or service.

Understanding the strengths and weaknesses from the customer’s perspective is the start of how you may want to modify your offering. If you do get some strong feedback that something needs to change, that is great signal that you may lose customers if you don’t modify your offering.

Identifies clients that can promote you.

Client referrals are invaluable. When you get good feedback, you may find a client that wants to endorse you.  That is the most powerful promotion vehicle that will keep you out in front of your competition.

So, what do we do at EGBI If you have been following our exploits we have had four very good years since our re-launch of the organization in 2011 when it supported only 16 clients that were in business. As of 2014, we now have over 100 small businesses represented by our clients that did over $10 million in revenue last year. We have improved our curriculum and services during that time period.  We also added the capability for clients to take our class remotely as a result of their input.  But, did we think we were done?  We actually conducted a focus group in December to get real feedback from our clients… who by all measures endorsed EGBI heartily.  We still got some great constructive feedback. What resulted was a few of key changes that are already paying dividends.

The recent changes we’ve made: We are now offering ourCurso Empresarial (Spanish/Bi-lingual) course in the evening; we have developed an introductory workshop that has attracted many new clients; we developed a Marketing, Sales, and Customer Relations curriculum; finally, we created a modular approach to our program so that clients can take either the Marketing, Sales, & Customer Relationssessions or the Business Financials & Accounting session, or both. Even with the modular approach, our clients see the value of our other services.

So, although based on EGBI’s success, our offerings were strong, it’s not the best approach to keep doing what you (think you) “know” the clients need… what they want is very critical. Every business should be vigilant in the arena of securing and taking action based on customer feedback.

2013 Blog Posts

2013 Blog Posts

What We Are Thankful for

Al Lopez, December 16, 2013

Thanksgiving may have just passed, but I have not stopped being thankful for another great year here at EGBI!

Just before the holiday, we celebrated our last graduation for clients who completed our entrepreneurship training.  In all, this year we had 80 individuals complete at least 30 hours of business training and present their business plan to their class and the EGBI staff.  The graduation celebrated a wonderful blend of new and developing partnerships, including Las Comadres para las Americas, University of Texas Pan Am Veteran’s Center, El Buen Samaritano, and FuturoFund. Read more…

Mother and Daughter Business Kicks Off at EGBI

By Nayeli Gallegos, December 13, 2013

Bea Baylor worked as a full time nurse for 20 years. At the same time, for the last seven years, she had been informally running her business from home… providing her services for free most of the time. As a 13 year cancer survivor, Bea has been an advocate for women who have been diagnosed with breast cancer, helping them create a journey to healing. She wrote the book “My Tribulations Made Me Fabulous” which will be published in 2014, and she was featured in the latest issue of Renewed Magazine. Read more…

EGBI Client Opens Food Trailer on Rainey Street

By Al Lopez, July 30, 2013

About two thirds of EGBI graduates wind up starting a business. In most cases, taking into account their learning, they decide to delay the start to do it in a better prepared way. This is the case of Vann Brown, who graduated from Building Success Program in August 2011. All of last year, she worked on developing her plan, continued to getting business training, attended a couple of our workshops, networked at our Annual Reunion, and kept EGBI in the loop of her progress.

On May 26th, we were thrilled to attend the grand opening of My Granny’s Kitchen food trailer on the fairly exclusive Rainey Street downtown. Read more…

Support EGBI’s First e-Raiser!

Our first online and social media fundraiser, April 16-May 16, 2013

By Al Lopez, April 17, 2013

Last October, I wrote about why I support EGBI, hoping to stimulate some additional support for our organization.  Well, needless to say, I was pretty gratified by the results we experienced last fall…

…In an effort to continue to broaden our outreach and diversify our supporters—folks who know about and are willing to invest in EGBI—we’re holding our first ever online and social media fundraiser over the next four weeks.  What we would like to do is have as many of our connections (and their connections) commit to a $25 donation to EGBIRead more…

Is Collaborating Really Beneficial?

By Al Lopez, March 28, 2013

In the last couple of years, as I have navigated around the nonprofit/public sector, I’ve observed very different levels of organizations that are willing to work together when it may be in the very best interest of the clients they serve and the mission they purport to have. Read more…

I know we’ve talked about this, but ARE YOU FINANCIALLY FIT?

By Al Lopez, March 19, 2013

Our initial session for EGBI’s small business startup training is Boot Camp. Many of you have taken it, and I know that many wonder why we are starting our “how to start a business” program with a class on personal finances and credit. However, it is surprising to me how many of the clients who begin our program have very little idea when it comes to their financial obligations, book-keeping and overall financial fitness. So we start with the basics and build on that. Read more…

What kind of clients come to EGBI? Client feature: Teresa Valenzuela-Basa

By Al Lopez, February, 2013

The diversity of our clients is an element that makes our experience here at EGBI especially interesting and rewarding. At one end of the spectrum, we have folks who don’t yet have a specific business but feel that sometime in the future they will start a business. At the other end, we have clients who already have a business developing, but have reached a point where they realize they really need and want to have a more formal business plan, such was the case of Teresa Valenzuela-Basa. Read more…

EGBI Client Highlight: Home Help Services by Verobran

By Nayeli Gallegos, January, 2013

Veronica Trevisan is the Co-Owner of Home Help Services by Verobran along with Branbilia Mendoza. They offer home support services, a combination of residential cleaning and home health care. Veronica, a native from Argentina and Branbilia (Bran), a native from Mexico, met each other in 2006 while working for a Mexican Taqueria. Read more…

Happy Holidays from EGBI

By Al Lopez, December 2012

As we approach the holiday season, we reflect on the great year we had. We are thankful to be in a place that nurtures the entrepreneurial spirit and contributes to the development of our community; we are thankful for our growing list of clients and supporters; and we are thankful for everything we accomplished in 2012.  Read more…

 

 

Is Your Skillset Current?

Is Your Skillset Current?

Al Lopez, January 16, 2014

It’s interesting to me how often I get a call where someone says, “I’m starting a business, and I have just one question.” In our sense of urgency to hurry and get started or stay on task with the job we have, we often neglect the value of taking the time to equip ourselves so that over the long run we can enjoy more success. I am a firm believer in the importance of education for our youth, but it can’t end there. Education needs to be a priority and not just one more thing you add to your to-do list. Everything we know, including our professional skills, is rapidly becoming obsolete. This means that it’s not enough to work hard. We must be constantly updating our knowledge and acquiring new skills. I hope that when the day comes I stop learning someone is calling the mortician.

As entrepreneurs, we sometimes think that keeping our skills current doesn’t matter for us. You can benefit from staying up-to-date no matter what kind of work you do. With better knowledge you’ll make better decisions, and you’ll see threats and opportunities sooner, which can give you a cutting edge and help you adjust your plans. Also, learning how to effectively and efficiently run your business and staying abreast of the latest industry enhancements will earn you the respect of your customers, suppliers, and supporters/investors.

We have never been faced with so much change, and that is also true for businesses. I heard recently that more information has been produced in the last 30 years than was produced in the previous 5000 years, and that the “total body of knowledge” will continue to double every five years. We must keep our skills and knowledge current in order to keep up with required changes to how we run our businesses and how we must update our products or services to keep solving our customers’ new problems.

Small business owners cannot neglect the need to learn. Continuous learning is connected to better business performance and higher likelihood of surviving the wall that all small businesses hit at some point in their life cycle – 50% of the time in the first five years.

With today’s technology, there are many ways to stay current or to learn more about your industry. Stay up to date by reading articles, listening to podcasts of experts in areas you want to develop, and networking. You don’t have to know everything, from every source about your industry, but you need to stay current to learn how to skim for relevant and important information.

The benefits are pretty obvious. New knowledge and skills help prevent repeating mistakes, identify and implement best practices, and contribute to business success.

That’s what EGBI is about… creating an opportunity for small business owners to get equipped to start and manage their business, on-going mentoring/counseling, continuing education through workshops, and incubation if their business requires it.

If you are looking to challenge yourself in learning how to better run a business, there is still time to join our current cohorts of Building Success Program (English evening class) and Curso Empresarial (bi-lingual morning class). Sign up now!

What We are Thankful for

What We Are Thankful for

Al Lopez, December 16, 2013

Thanksgiving may have just passed, but I have not stopped being thankful for another great year here at EGBI!

Just before the holiday, we celebrated our last graduation for clients who completed our entrepreneurship training.  In all, this year we had 80 individuals complete at least 30 hours of business training and present their business plan to their class and the EGBI staff.  The graduation celebrated a wonderful blend of new and developing partnerships, including Las Comadres para las Americas, University of Texas Pan Am Veteran’s Center, El Buen Samaritano, and FuturoFund.

Even with our amazing staff, we couldn’t do all this alone.  In 2013, EGBI delivered over 550 class hours of training – a 44% increase over 2012!  Our dedicated volunteers facilitated over half of those class hours.  And while it is difficult to single one out, we are especially thankful for Manuel Alverdi of Taxes Impuestos y Mas who was named Volunteer of the Year at our third annual Celebrating Success event.

At our Celebrating Success event, we highlighted the fellowship and generosity of our supporters.  Most non-profit events yield about 50% of the gross proceeds. Keeping our costs very low enabled us to direct nearly 90% of the proceeds directly to our program needs.

Another key measure of our success is the way prior students have stayed in touch with the EGBI family. At our year-end event we heard from Jason and Michelle Villarreal, owners of Villarreal Insect and Pest Solutions, and Donie Torrance, owner of Nails Naturally. They shared moving personal testimonies of how their heart for entrepreneurship led them to realize a dream with great benefits to their families – and how EGBI played a key role in making those dreams come alive.

To date, EGBI has graduated 250 clients from our Building Success Program.  About one-third of our graduates have started their businesses and are generating revenue, paying taxes, and employing, on average, two and a half employees – with relatively young and growing businesses.  Last year, our clients reported over $6M of revenue and almost 150 jobs created or sustained. We’re looking forward to our annual client survey for 2013, and anticipate even more impressive results.

It’s great to be a part of an organization that is successfully equipping entrepreneurs to achieve their dreams.  We are grateful for the tremendous support we received this year from our partners at the Housing Authority of the City of Austin, the Chambers of Commerce, Las Comadres para las Americas, Walmart, Wells Fargo, AT&T, IBM, and BB&T just to name a few.  We couldn’t do the work we do without their support.

We’re looking forward to 2014, a year that will have plenty of opportunities. We recognize there will also be challenges, but we are confident that with hard work and the consistent collaboration and support from our partners, we will overcome whatever difficulties come our way. You can be a part of this opportunity – it’s never too late to invest in our efforts.  Won’t you consider a year-end, tax-deductible gift to EGBI to assist us in expanding our programs and services?

Happy holidays, all! We look forward to working with you in the New Year!