When Marcia Connelley and Terri Paradise, friends and colleagues at the Chicago office of payroll services company Paychex, first discussed starting a business together, the idea seemed like just a fantasy.
The first three years were rough. The spa opened in 2007 and grossed under $200,000 that year, forcing the owners to dig into their 401(k)s to cover living expenses. They realized they needed help and turned to the nonprofit SCORE. The advisers there helped them spot mistakes, like pouring money into ineffective ads.