By Diana Garcia
Meet Sandra Flemings, a client of EGBI that sees the value of the organization and has become a volunteer and supporter as well. Originally from Mexico, Sandra moved to the US after getting married. She has been an educator for more than 20 years and has a doctorate in education. As a very passionate early childhood educator Sandra saw the need for childcare in Austin, and thus felt called to open up a daycare center: CEI Preschool.
Sandra talks about the hurdles of opening up a small business and offers words of encouragement to aspiring entrepreneurs.
Hi Sandra! To get started would you mind telling us about your small business? Why and how did you start?
I saw the demand for childcare, and I saw that there was a need for reasonably priced childcare in the area. We started with the business in the home (as a home daycare) and the demand was so high we quickly saw the need to expand. We converted our home into the daycare center and grew from there.
What was the toughest moment in your business journey? How did you go past it and move forward?
The toughest moment for me was beginning to hire employees as the growth supported it; I was also pregnant at the time with my 3rd child, so that added to the challenge. I got past it in large part with the assistance and education I got through EGBI. Their resources are a big part of what allowed me to move forward with hiring and not getting overwhelmed by it.
How do you feel about the growth of your business and being able to open a 2nd location?
A daycare is a highly localized business; parents do not want to take their children far outside their normal commute if they can avoid it. Additional locations are needed to cover a greater geographical area. In order to ensure that growth is sustainable, we needed to solidify our internal organizational structure before taking the leap to open a second location.
What would you tell other entrepreneurs wanting to open their own business?
Do it! Take the leap! It is good to get educated, and it is critical to have people like EGBI backing you up. But oftentimes the biggest thing you need to do is to take that first step and get started.
“An investment in EGBI is an investment in the future of your local community.” – Sandra Fleming
How has EGBI helped you throughout your business journey?
EGBI has been a huge help to our business. From general knowledge support, to connecting us to critical resources in the community, to giving us specific assistance in areas where we needed help (i.e. bookkeeping and hiring practices), they have helped us every step of the way from the first day we connected with them.
What would you say to someone thinking of volunteering and supporting EGBI?
EGBI is a worthwhile endeavor. The support that they give businesses and entrepreneurs give returns a hundred times over through the growth and stabilization of the economic engine that is the small business community.
Want to work with EGBI? Contact us to find out how you can get started.
In 2020, EGBI volunteers put in more than 130 hours to help EGBI support and serve over 400 small businesses. Clients like Sandra make this possible by becoming supporters and volunteers to help EGBI pursue their mission of training, coaching, and supporting aspiring and existing business owners who face barriers to growing a successful business.
Want to get involved too? Contact us to find out how you can volunteer or donate.