Dan and Vickie Adamovich thought they wanted to move to Colorado Springs to open a restaurant franchise. Dan, a former U.S. Air Force fighter pilot who had earned a PhD in management, yearned for something more than he was getting from his position with McDonnell Douglas in St. Louis, MO—it was time to make a change.
Dan took SCORE Mentor Erv Simon’s advice and settled on purchasing a Computer Renaissance franchise. Computer Renaissance buys, sells and refurbishes used computers. The franchise in Colorado Springs was already sold, so the Dan's packed their bags and moved to Flagstaff, AZ, to start their business. Erv believes the Dan's made the right decision, "They had the money to do what they wanted to do. I was there to keep him from moving too fast and making a bad investment. I believe I helped them make a more informed decision."
The waiting paid off. Dan and Vicki opened Computer Renaissance in June of 1997. Given average first-year numbers by the franchisor, the Dan's couldn't have asked for better results—they did nearly triple the revenue compared with the national average.
Not a lot has changed at Computer Renaissance, and that's just fine with Dan. "Things are just great," he says. "We are as busy as ever." Dan adds that though being a small business owner has required a tremendous amount of effort, he's still glad he took the plunge to start the company. "It all depends on how much you're willing to put into your business," he says. "I get a lot of satisfaction knowing that what goes out of here meets my standards because I'm involved every step of the way."
Dan found SCORE Mentor and Colorado Springs resident Erv Simon over the SCORE Web site and requested SCORE mentoring via email. Erv, a former Air Force pilot himself, was happy to oblige, but had no idea that the contact would develop into a two-year relationship that spanned Dan's business adventure from idea to opening day.
Dan sought advice and information from Erv about the business climate in Colorado Springs, especially the restaurant industry. Erv reviewed Dan's franchise notes and urged him to contact not only the successful restaurants the franchisor recommended but the unsuccessful ones, as well. Adamovich conducted a lot of research and in November of 1996, decided it was time to travel to Colorado Springs for a face-to-face meeting.
Erv, joined by mentor Walter DeMoss, who is experienced in the restaurant industry, met with Dan and Vicki. It quickly became clear that a restaurant venture was not right for the couple. Erv describes his and Walter's mentoring as "point-counterpoint."
"Walter was much more antagonistic about their ideas—knowing how difficult it is to break into the restaurant industry," says Dan. While they had plenty to invest, the Dan's had no restaurant experience. And, the parent company had just lost approximately 50 percent of its stock value. Walter asked about Dan's hobbies, which turned out to be computers, electronics and mechanical repair work. Walter asked, "Why not start there?"
Dan found the assistance he needed over the SCORE Web site where he conducted SCORE mentoring sessions via email.