In 2013, Ron Finfrock, who was then the manager of a small technology company, was presented with an opportunity: the company owner had decided to shutter the business, but was giving Finfrock the opportunity to buy it. With little guidance available and a looming deadline, Finfrock and his wife Kathy decided to go for it and purchased the previous owner’s book of business.
After making the purchase, the two quickly discovered that they had overpaid – many of the supposed contacts in the book of business had never actually been customers or were outside the Finfrock’s area of expertise. Adding to that disappointment, the startup costs were higher than they had expected.
As they worked to gain new customers – and reassure old ones that they would be treated better under the new company ownership – the Finfrocks considered closing the store because they did not have enough revenue to deal with their debt. That was when they discovered SCORE.
With the help of SCORE, the Finfrocks were able to secure a consolidation loan so that their debt became manageable. Within a year of reaching out to SCORE, they had saved their business from closing and begun turning a profit.
The Finfrocks worked with SCORE mentors Sam Dickson, Tom Marx, and Dave Vale on getting a business consolidation loan and line of credit, meeting with the mentors weekly or biweekly. The SCORE mentors also helped with their business plan. Kathy says that the changes they implemented after meeting with their mentors were “immediately noticeable.”
Ron advises other small business owners to meet with a SCORE mentor before beginning the process of applying for a small business loan. “They are a vast wealth of knowledge that you just can’t put a price on.”