Success Stories


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SMS Distributions

A new website and sales training helped Superior Marketing Solutions double its sale in 2010 and are on pace to double sales again in 2011.

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In 2009, after 20 years in sales and management, Randy Bowers opened SMS Distributions his wife, Henrietta. The company has quickly built a reputation in two major areas: (1) providing exceptional customer service 24/7, and (2) merging green technology with common sense solutions. SMS supplies a vast array of products, from baby wipes to bulldozers and to places as diverse as medical offices and prisons. 

The Bowers sold many of their personal possessions and got by with little sleep and little money in order to jumpstart their business. They also visited the Louisiana Small Business Development Center at LSU Shreveport, which helped with website development through Louisiana Economic Development’s Small & Emerging Business program, a move that Henrietta claims, “has been critical in the growth [SMS] has experienced.”  In addition, the Bowers took advantage of sales training taught by Jerry Frentress at the LSBDC. According to their son, Chase Bowers, this training has been crucial to the business’ success: “Sending our sales people to Jerry Frentress’ class was absolutely one of the best investments that our company has made in our salespeople.” 

Today, the company’s brightly wrapped SUV can be spotted both day and night, delivering office supplies, commercial laundry systems, janitorial supplies, and specialty chemicals throughout Shreveport-Bossier City.

SMS’s attention to customer service has helped the company’s sales double in 2010, and sales are on track to double again in 2011. SMS was named one of the Top 5 Small Businesses of the Year by the Greater Shreveport Chamber of Commerce in 2011 and was nominated for the Better Business Bureau Torch Award.

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Go Green With Goats LLC

The LSBDC at Northwestern State University used market and industry data to help Jennifer Robinette start a goat landscaping business.

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In February 2011, Jennifer Robinette sought the assistance of the LSBDC at Northwestern State University in Alexandria, LA, for assistance with starting a goat landscaping business. Goat landscaping is an environmentally friendly solution to clear weeds, tall grass, bushes, etc.   LSBDC at NSU Consultant Lee McCallister, worked with Robinette to conduct industry and market research, which involved benchmarking similar businesses across the country. The research revealed that goat landscaping could be a profitable venture for Robinette. McCallister used the results from the study to prepare multiple cash flow analyses.   With the market and industry research in hand, Robinette forged ahead. Robinette decided to make a commitment to turn her idea into a business and started Going Green With Goats. Four months after the initial meeting with the McCallister, Robinette and her herd of 45 goats turned a profit on their first landscaping project.   "The assistance provided by the LSBDC at Northwestern State University gave me the confidence I needed to start our business," said Robinette.   Robinette is currently working with the LSBDC at NSU to market her services and build her brand.

 

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Patton Industrial Services, LLC

Developing a new website and installing QuickBooks Point of Sales Software helped Patton Industrial better manage inventory and increase sales by 30%.

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Patton  Industrial Services, owned by Karen and Travis Lawrence, custom blends detergents for use in the railroad, oilfield and trucking industries. Purchased as an existing business, Patton Industrial was renamed and opened in February 2007. The company sells and services Alkota hot/cold industrial pressure washers and operates a small welding and fabrication facility.

After attending several workshops at the Louisiana Small Business Development Center at LSU Shreveport, Karen Lawrence received marketing and promotional assistance. They also became certified in Louisiana Economic Development’s Small and Emerging Business Development program where she received website development assistance. Karen Lawrence reflects that, “Our website project has brought Patton Industrial to another level to keep up with the business world today. Thanks to the LSBDC, we were able to increase sales by 30%."

The LSBDC at LSU Shreveport was then able to use the SEBD program to help the company with setup and training on Quickbook’s Point of Sale to more accurately track inventory. That project was complete in December 2010, and Lawrence states that, “Adding software to better manage inventory could not have come at a better time in the growth of Patton Industrial. With continued growth in sales, Patton can better serve our community and offer positions for employment.”

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Power Pro Performance

"They really guided me through the process of starting a business. I always knew I wanted to go into business for myself but I just didn’t know where to start"

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Originally founded as Power Pro 4x4 in 2009, Power Pro Performance is a truck service and ATV repair company based in Natchitoches.

President Ryan French started Power Pro with an original vision to create an ATV service and parts business. He tapped into the resources of the Louisiana Small Business Development Center at Northwestern State University and used market research to find the best location and model for his operation. In early 2010, he opened his business with a showroom for parts and accessories and a shop for repair. French said he always had mechanical skill and entrepreneurial aspirations, but never knew how to get a business off the ground.

“They really guided me through the process of starting a business. I always knew I wanted to go into business for myself but I just didn’t know where to start,” he said.

Things started off well and through reviewing his profit and loss statements with the LSBDC, French discovered that ATV repair grew to constitute 75% of his revenues. The problem was that the ATV business wasn’t very steady. With a limited and hard-to-find market of private ATV owners, he had to wait for customers to come to him.

When work started to slow down, French used local networking to find a couple of jobs doing service work on semi-trailer trucks. Soon after landing his first corporate customer, a natural gas company that was working on the Haynesville shale project, he discovered that he could offer companies a more cost-effective solution by bringing his repair services out into the field.

As those side jobs increased, French started to rethink his business model, services and market. Whereas ATV owners were hard to target and work was hard to find, tractor trailers were everywhere and they could be accessed through trucking companies. He turned back to the LSBDC who provided him with an informal market analysis and list of companies working on the project.

“We just found a bigger market for it and endless jobs. With ATVs, you’re just waiting for someone to bring you work. It was never a problem finding work with trucks,” said French.

French never wanted to give up ATVs for good, but he would have to dramatically shift his business focus towards trucks if he wanted to thrive. In September 2010, French changed the name of his company from Power Pro 4x4 to Power Pro Performance. It offers mechanics around the clock for on-site repairs and has four roadside trucks and five employees. French said the company now has annual sales of more than $350,000 per year and is also expanding into other services such as welding and industrial power washing.

“We now have our hands in quite a few things. We’ve just changed our business to go where the opportunities are,” said French.

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Northwestern State University
175 Sam Sibley Drive, South Hall Suite 211
Natchitoches, LA 71497
Phone: 318-357-5611
Email: lsbdc.nwcr@lsbdc.org

By appointment only.

 

Parishes Served:
Avoyelles, Bienville, Bossier, Caddo, Catahoula, Claiborne, DeSoto, Grant, LaSalle, Natchitoches, Rapides, Sabine, Vernon, Red River, Webster and Winn.







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The Louisiana Small Business Development Center Network, hosted by Louisiana Delta Community College, is an accredited member of the National Association of Small Business Development Centers and funded in part through a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration, Louisiana Economic Development and participating universities. All SBA programs are extended to the public on a nondiscriminatory basis. All opinions, conclusions or recommendations expressed are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the SBA. Reasonable accommodations for persons with disabilities and/or limited English proficiency will be made if requested at least two weeks in advance.
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