Business Planning Case Study: USA Gypsum
SCORE and MassMutual know how important it is to get good advice. That is why, for SCORE’s 50th anniversary, we are sharing helpful, relevant, and succinct tips for your business success. The tips are based on real-life experiences and successes from people like you. These case studies are real-life business owners that used the advice from SCORE mentors, applied it to their business, and achieved real, measurable results.
Agri Marketing Inc. dba USA Gypsum
Terry L. Weaver
Launched in 1998, Agri Marketing Inc. dba USA Gypsum uses proprietary methods to recycle gypsum scraps from the construction industry into natural agricultural and lawn-care products, keeping waste out of landfills and cutting costs for farmers and building contractors.
Seeking a business loan, in 2006 President and General Manager Terry L. Weaver began working with SCORE Mentor Lou Davenport to organize the company’s financial statements and put together a loan request package.
Davenport helped Weaver develop financial projections and organize the business’s balance sheet to appeal to lenders. Weaver approached five different banks, was approved by all five, and obtained a $150,000 operating line of credit and a $150,000 revolving equipment line of credit. “It was a slam dunk,” he says.
But Davenport helped Weaver do more than get a loan. “By pointing out things in the financial statements that I needed to focus on, such as honing in on my gross profit and cost of goods sold, he showed me how to improve the bottom line,” says Weaver. Davenport also helped Weaver benchmark USA Gypsum’s gross profits against those of comparable technical manufacturers, set new goals and plan for expansion into the areas with the most profit potential.
“Tom helped me understand my numbers better and showed me how to re-categorize things to improve our financial position,” says Weaver. “For example, we began utilizing depreciation differently in our [profit and loss] statements than on our tax returns. That changed my equity position tremendously without changing anything else.”
USA Gypsum has enjoyed steady growth, even during the 2008-2009 recession when sales at most construction-related businesses plummeted. More important, says Weaver, “our profitability grew, too.” With $2.5 million in 2013 sales, the company is adding new products, such as a line of animal bedding for dairy cows, to better serve customers. Weaver is seeking $1.5 million in expansion capital; with SCORE’s help, he’s confident he will obtain it and double the business’s volume over the next three years.
“A small business owner sometimes becomes too involved in day-to-day activities to see things that are glaringly obvious to someone else,” says Weaver. “Having an experienced business executive look over my shoulder and point out things that I was too close to see was invaluable.”
Mass Mutual is not associated with, and does not endorse, the business featured.