Edna and Alfredo Jaime consider themselves fortunate to have found a gem of a mentor in La Jolla resident Elias Sheinberg, a retired businessman from Mexico who made a fortune, lost it, and made it back again through a number of ventures in the manufacturing and retail sectors. Sheinberg has been a San Diego SCORE mentor for many years and has provided invaluable guidance to those who have made the monumental decision to set out on their own in pursuit of a lifelong dream of owning a business.
Alfredo worked as a construction supervisor for a San Diego drywall company. With the support and encouragement of SCORE Mentor Elias Sheinberg, Alfredo began taking classes at night to obtain his general contractor’s license while continuing to work his day job. After eight months of marathon 16-hour days, he completed the course, passed his test and became one of the youngest licensed general contractors in San Diego.
Shortly after Alfredo passed his test, he and Edna opened their own business in Chula Vista, Jaime Construction, Inc., which specializes in restaurant remodeling. During the latter part of 2004, Jaime Construction, Inc. remodeled six restaurants and a real estate office building, resulting in gross sales of $1.2 million. They say they couldn’t have made the transition successfully from employees to employers without Sheinberg’s diligent assistance and good natured approach.
“We like the fact that we both have more responsibility and the opportunity to choose our own clients,” said Edna. “We make a great team and we feel blessed that we have the chance to work for ourselves because it gives us the flexibility and freedom to set our own schedules. That allows us to spend more quality time with our family.”
Sheinberg is ecstatic over the Jaime’s lucrative first year in business and sees nothing but a rosy future for them. “After generating over a million dollars in sales the first year, projections for 2005 are still relatively conservative so that we can build the business on a solid base,” he said. “We don’t want to get too far ahead of ourselves too quickly, so we’re taking it at a steady, manageable pace.” Based on all the sound advice that Sheinberg has given them so far, that’s just fine with Edna and Alfredo Jaime.
Elias Sheinberg helped them incorporate and navigate the waters of bureaucracy, showed them how to successfully market their business, assisted them with staffing and human resource issues, and facilitated networking opportunities with other SCORE clients to generate additional business and referrals.
“The fact that Elias spoke fluent Spanish as we do was very important to us,” explained Edna, who is responsible for managing the office and handling myriad administrative duties. “He was also very polite, responsive and enthusiastic about helping us, which made us excited and more committed about our decision to start a business. We definitely felt a connection with him and were comfortable with the advice he gave us.”
Among the most valuable of lessons the Jaime’s learned from Sheinberg about owning and operating a business is the importance of communication and honesty. Those are the keys that allowed them to open the doors to opportunity and success in their first year of operations. Now that Sheinberg’s coaching has given them a firm grasp on running their own business, they are reaping the rewards in terms of newfound independence and additional time spent with their family.
Sheinberg is proud of his volunteer work with SCORE and the positive effect it can have on people’s lives. “I’ve seen firsthand on a number of occasions how SCORE has influenced and changed people’s lives entirely and it’s personally gratifying to know that I’ve played some role in that process,” he said.
“I think I get nearly as much satisfaction from my clients’ success as they do,” Sheinberg adds. “I truly enjoy helping others find their way and then watching them use what I’ve taught them in order to become successful. Harvesting the fruits of our hard work together makes my work with SCORE extremely worthwhile.”