By Melissa Ellis
Americorps staff, Beans & Rice Inc.
For every 10 small businesses that are started, eight of them will be closed within a year. In other words, 80 percent of small businesses fail within their first year.
While there are many reasons, the most common include starting a business for the wrong reason, poor management, insufficient funds and lack of planning. Research indicates that had failing small business owners received the proper training needed before opening their business their success rate would have increased exponentially.
MicroSolutions, a program of Beans and Rice, helps new businesses succeed. MicroSolutions trains, counsels and mentors potential business owners on topics related to owning a business. It also provides low-interest loan options for individuals who may not qualify for traditional loans.
Throughout Pulaski County you have probably encountered one of several businesses the program has assisted. Three of these businesses include Bo’s and Weezy’s (found every Tuesday at the Pulaski Farmers Market), Linda’s Art Center (in downtown Pulaski), and Grasshoppers Lawn Care (servicing Pulaski and surrounding areas).
According to Kathy Young, owner of Bo’s and Weezy’s, MicroSolutions has taught her to “take baby steps” to understand why and how her business works. Kathy also says she would recommend MicroSolutions to anyone wanting to start their own business, and that she feels “great, excited, and eager to learn more.”
Linda Fasnacht, owner of Linda’s Art Center, has enjoyed the interaction with the MicroSolutions’ staff the most. She says that the staff is “supportive, positive, and full of tips.” She urges potential entrepreneurs to check out MicroSolutions and be honest with themselves regarding their business.
“It’s like Solitaire. You can change out a card to help you win, but winning isn’t as great as if you had done it honestly,” said Fasnacht. She also loves her business and says she “can’t wait to wake up in the mornings to go to work.”
As for Grasshoppers Lawn Care, Daniel Johnson was able to take advantage of a low interest loan option, which allowed him “to expand and purchase additional equipment at a low interest rate in comparison to banks.” Daniel has this advice for other entrepreneurs interested in MicroSolutions:
“Since Beans and Rice, I have increased my gross income by 650 percent and still growing, my loan was paid off early and I have the tools needed to continue a successful business with resources just a phone call away. It’s a winning combination from start to finish. Where can you find an organization that is completely committed to your success and has your interest at heart throughout the process? Best decision I have made by far.”
Aspiring entrepreneurs should give MicroSolutions a try because its services are effective and affordable. Program staff works one-on-one with each client to meet everyone’s needs. For a free consultation call 980-4111 or visit www.beansandrice.org.