Gwyn Anderson knew she wanted to use her extensive knowledge of computer hardware and software to work for herself. While she moved through the intricacies of computer technology with ease, starting her own home-based business didn't come as naturally. So, Gwyn turned to SCORE Mentor Don Frank for some basic help with starting her small business, Enhanced Ideas, now thriving in its third year.
One thing Gwyn has learned is that her clients find her. She has repeat customers and referrals that sustain her client list and believes it is because a good tech is hard to find. Gwyn currently takes clients from as far away as Illinois, Iowa and Minnesota as long as they pay her travel expenses. She only schedules two clients per day, because she never knows what she is going to walk into. "The question or problem could take 15 minutes or six hours," she says. Right now about two-thirds of her business is commercial and the other third residential. Enhanced Ideas performs computer consulting, software training, hardware evaluation and installation, and LAN configuration.
One residential customer, and one of her biggest fans, is another of the LaCrosse Chapter's SCORE mentors, Dick Evans. Dick has used Enhanced Ideas several times for assistance with his home computer and has high praise for Gwyn. "Gwyn is well-organized and has a passion for the business world," Dick says. He adds that with her attention now aimed at custom training for small businesses, she may need to take on more personnel. "With LaCrosse's flourishing small business community and population—around 100,000—Gwyn's skills are in demand."
Don Frank helped Gywn form her LaCrosse, WI, business by working with her on what he calls some common sense questions: how to advertise properly, price services, create a business plan and balance income and expenses. Gwyn says she came to SCORE looking for direction. Gwyn and Frank evaluated several computer stores in the area and the services they offered to get a feel for the competition. Frank says, "Gwyn just took our conversation about starting Enhanced Ideas and our ideas and really ran with them."
According to Gwyn, "Coming to SCORE was the best thing I did." Gwyn also was looking for guidance with local business codes and statutes so that her business would be legally stable from the start. "I was so impressed that they listened," says Gwyn of her SCORE mentor. "They made me feel that my idea had value and supported me." And, Gywn still works with SCORE when she has questions about the business. "I know I can call and ask questions when I am moving into foreign territory," Gwyn adds.