"They really helped us find a bank that was a good fit for us then coasted us through the process of approaching the bank and to give them exactly what they were looking for." Merrick Young always had entrepreneurial aspirations. In 2009, after seven years in the construction industry, he decided to take his chanceand start Living Solutions Construction, LLC, a construction and development company, during the height of a recession. Young's thinking was that if he could get his business up and running and acquire land at a discounted price he could be in a pretty position when the economic turnaround came. He bought a plot of land in Baker, La., and set out to turn it into affordable homes.
In the beginning, Young found numerous challenges stacked against him. He had lots of experience on the trade end but didn’t quite have the business and entrepreneurial skills that he’d need to get such an operation moving. He contacted the Louisiana Small Business Development Center at Southern University in Baton Rouge and found many resources to help get access to capital, government procurement opportunities and ways to grow his business. During hard economic times it is especially difficult for a contractor to obtain capital and Young’s entire operation hinged on getting loan approval. The LSBDC pointed him to Liberty Bank and helped him create a solid business plan that covered all indicators and parts they would be looking for. They helped prepare a thorough financial analysis and created a solid marketing plan by forming a strategic alliance with a top-producing realtor that would be able to help sell the homes.
“They really helped us find a bank that was a good fit for us then coasted us through the process of approaching the bank and to give them exactly what they were looking for,” said Young. With the assistance of the LSBDC, Young eventually landed a $500,000 loan to cover the land and construction costs for the project. Living Solutions has since landed a contract with the City of Zachary and with the city of Opelousas where he is constructing 26 houses. He now has six full-time employees and expects to increase revenue in 2011 by $210,000. Through the LSBDC he was also able to tap into Baton Rouge’s business community to join business groups, attend seminars and network.
“The LSBDC really helped us get our foot in the door with the first project and they really helped me get my head around the business side of things,” said Young. Contact us today to learn how the LSBDC can help you gain control of your finances.