Living Solutions Construction, LLC

"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."

Read More
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

 

 

Read Less

Healthy Chef Meals

Jennifer Gieseke turned her passion for healthy food into a full-fledged business with the help of the Louisiana Small Business Development Center at LSU Shreveport.

Read More

Jennifer Gieseke always had a passion for cooking, but with active children and husband, Ken Gieseke, often away on business trips, she found it hard to find time to prepare meals in advance. Once a month, she would prepare 30 meals, freezing them until the family was ready to eat. “After a busy day, it was such a relief to know that dinner was prepared and all I needed to do was heat it up and make a salad,” said Gieseke.

It was this approach to cooking that led Gieseke to becoming a personal chef and eventually starting Healthy Chef Meals. As the first personal chef in the Shreveport/Bossier area, she found pleasure in helping other families take the stress out of cooking family dinner.

But it was in 2010, when she joined her then 16-year-old daughter in adopting  avegan diet that her vegetarian journey began, starting with eliminating all meat. “The health benefit statistics I read were truly amazing to me and I soon removed all animal products from my diet. Since starting this journey my weight has stabilized, my energy level has increased and I feel great,” said Gieseke.

After more than a year as a vegetarian, Gieseke decided to turn her new lifestyle into a full-fledged business. She contacted the Louisiana Small Business Development Center at LSU Shreveport to help get her new business off the ground. “The group was extremely helpful in providing me with start-up information regarding financing and compliance with local state and federal tax codes and laws,” said Gieseke.

The LSBDC helped Gieseke develop a business plan, prepare cash flow projections and conduct market research. She obtained a $50,000 commercial loan, as well as invested $50,000 of her own money to jumpstart Healthy Chef Meals, an all natural meal delivery service specializing in organic and cholesterol free meals. The service delivers a week’s worth of food in nine 24-ounce containers. Meals are also available for pickup at the Healthy Chef headquarters in downtown Shreveport.

Healthy Chef provides a wide selection of heart healthy, gluten free meals like Blackened Vegetable Gumbo over Basmati Rice, Tahini Millet Loaf with Cashew Gravy and even desserts such as Louisiana Blueberry Peach Cobbler.

While getting the business up and running was Gieseke’s initial concern, she returned to the LSBDC for help with operational and marketing assistance. The center helped, Gieseke get certified in the Small and Emerging Business Development program, provided by Louisiana Economic Development. Through this program, Gieseke received partial funding to get training on Quickbooks and is now running her business more efficiently. I found the workshops invaluable as well as budgeting the spreadsheets,” said Geiseke. The LSBDC also helped with marketing and streamlining the ordering process. “

Since opening in July, Gieseke has created 8 jobs.

Read Less

LSBDC aids in bringing physical therapy to DeSoto Parish

“I would not have had a business plan if I didn’t talk to them,” James said. “The LSBDC taught me things I would have never thought about, such as to how to enter into contracts and sign on behalf of my business.”

Read More

Doug James had an idea to open a physical therapy office in the Stonewall area in DeSoto Parish. At the time, there were no physical therapy clinics within 15 miles of Stonewall, so Stonewall residents would have to travel to either Shreveport or Mansfield to receive treatment.

James wanted to bring something local but needed somebody to point him in the right direction on how to start a business. After contacting the U.S. Small Business Administration, James was referred to the Louisiana Small Business Development Center (LSBDC) at Northwestern State University, College of Nursing in Shreveport to get the help needed for starting a business.

The LSBDC assisted in many areas including start-up assistance and guidance, reviewing his business plan, developing cash flow projections, preparing his business occupational license, reviewing the lease agreement, and understanding the other various licenses/permits he would need to operate in Stonewall and DeSoto Parish.

With LSBDC’s help, he was able to fully develop his business plan, open DeSoto Physical Therapy in Stonewall, and secure $30,000 in capital for his business.

“I would not have had a business plan if I didn’t talk to them,” James said. “The LSBDC taught me things I would have never thought about, such as to how to enter into contracts and sign on behalf of my business.”

DeSoto Physical Therapy provides residents of the Stonewall community and surrounding areas occupational and speech therapy services, with future plans of assisting children with developmental delays.

Since opening, Doug has created one full-time job, but plans on hiring more employees in the future.

Read Less

Mama Reta’s Kitchen brings the soul to food in Lake Charles

“The LSBDC at MSU worked with me to develop a business plan so that I’d understand how to operate my restaurant profitably,” Durgan said. “I consider the LSBDC my ally and I would recommend that anyone planning a new business talk with them.”

Read More

When you’re a great chef, it’s only right that you pursue your own restaurant. That’s what Reta Durgan did in Lake Charles. After working in the restaurant business, she decided she wanted her own and reached out to the LSBDC at McNeese State University where Center Director Donna Little helped carve out her dreams and make them a reality.

Now, Durgan is the owner and chef of Mama Reta’s Kitchen, LLC, located at 345 Broad St. in Lake Charles, bringing home cooking and soul food to southwest Louisiana.

The LSBDC at MSU helped Durgan write a business plan, develop three years of financial projections, develop a menu list and explained start-up inventory. After several years of directing Durgan to a successful position, including connecting her with LSBDC restaurant consultant Dianne Sclafani, she was finally ready to officially start her restaurant business.

The LSBDC at MSU helped her acquire $25,000 in capitalization and create eight jobs.

“The LSBDC at MSU worked with me to develop a business plan so that I’d understand how to operate my restaurant profitably,” Durgan said. “I consider the LSBDC my ally and I would recommend that anyone planning a new business talk with them.”

Read Less

Center for Pediatric Therapy

"All of this was new to us because we’ve never even taken a business class. We’re therapists, not business people. We needed help just getting these things in place"

Read More
After almost ten years as a physical therapist, Thibodaux resident Michele Bower saw a growing need for therapy services for children in the area. With the closest pediatric-therapy clinics an hour away in New Orleans and Baton Rouge, services were virtually non-existent. When Hurricane Katrina struck in 2005, the further loss of therapy services in South Louisiana inspired Michele to join forces with two other therapists and start her own clinic.   Founded in 2006, the Center for Pediatric Therapy is a place where physical, occupational and speech therapists help children learn how to walk, function and focus better in the world. It is the only pediatric-therapy clinic in Terrebonne Parish and treats children from newborns to age 21 with both group and one-on-one therapy that focuses on play and movement. Some of its patients face such ailments as autism, cerebral palsy and attention-deficit disorder.   Bower had always dreamed of opening such a center but lacked some of the knowledge of getting a business off the ground. She originally came across the LSBDC Business Continuity Center at Nicholls State University when she approached the South Louisiana Economic Council about a grant for marketing expenses. Immediately tapping into the newly discovered resource, she found expert advice, assistance and consultation on a variety of business matters.   “All of this was new to us because we’ve never even taken a business class. We’re therapists, not business people. We needed help just getting these things in place,” said Bower.   Bower utilized the center’s assistance for everything from determining what kind of computers they needed and how to build the right staff to creating the building components and getting the right permits in place. The LSBDC also helped Bower become certified under the Small & Emerging Business program (SEBD) provided by Louisiana Economic Development. The SEBD program helped send two of the co-owners to a manager’s clinic in California.   “They [co-owners] were able to learn better management skills, about hiring and firing, how to staff therapists, coding and all kinds of things we needed to know,” she said.   Partial SEBD funding was also received to develop marketing materials and redesign their website.   The Center for Pediatric Therapy recently turned to the LSBDC to investigate the feasibility of expansion to St. Charles Parish. The center was able to send a consultant to the area to gather information on demographics, insurance, Medicaid usage and locations.   “They gave us this wonderful binder with all the statistics we needed. If we do expand, we’re going to seek assistance with a new business plan. We’ve really taken advantage of many things they’ve had to offer,” said Bower.

 

Read Less

Call Toll Free: 1- (866)-782-4159

The Louisiana Small Business Development Center Network, hosted by the University of Louisiana at Monroe, 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.
Copyright © 2005-2015 Louisiana SBDC. All Rights Reserved. | Site Design by eMerge

America's SBDC     SBA     LED Louisiana Economic Development