In September 2014, Tracey Morris was basically the typical pre-venture entrepreneur - had industry "knowledge" and a desire to create a local business that would help people. She connected with the SBDC at the College of Southern Maryland where she had previously been a teacher in CSM's Massage Therapy program.
After doing some "homework", Ms. Morris felt she was on the right path and wanted details to get her business started. In May 2015, Ms. Morris met with SBDC Consultant Bill Hitte. Her goals for that meeting included getting steps and insights about "starting" the business, business planning, funding, etc ... all of the things she felt she needed. As discussions moved along, Mr. Hitte gave advice Ms. Morris was not expecting - and did not agree with. This advice was to scale it way back and to go and work in a wellness spa for six months. Initially, Ms. Morris decided not to follow the advice to work in a spa - but within a year she felt led to apply to the Aveda Institute in Washington DC to become a licensed aesthetician.
"This proved to be a win-win scenario." said Ms. Morris. "As I entered into the program (30 hours of schooling a week) I thought of Mr. Hitte's advice - and how right he was! got the experience I needed to run a spa.
from the ground up and acquired my aesthetician's license for the State of Maryland in May 2016. In Sept 2016, I opened my business. In July 2017 I had the chance to re-connect with Mr. Hitte. That was followed up with a consulting session in mid-August. After those discussions, I emailed Mr. Hitte "I cannot believe I didn't reach out to you sooner."
SBDC won’t write someone’s business plan and they can’t give a business loan, but the consultants can provide feedback on a business plan and can help research things like market demographics as well as put businesses in contact with small business lenders and other business specialists, along with a variety of other valuable services.
The Maryland SBDC Program is funded in part through a partnership with the U.S. Small Business Administration, with funding also coming from the state, the College of Southern Maryland and Calvert, Charles and St. Mary’s county governments, which allows for regional provision of these services.
For information on Therapeutic Massage and Wellness Spa, visit http://www.massageandwellnessspa.com/ or call (240) 349-6883.
For information on the SBDC non-credit CSM courses designed for small business needs, visit www.csmd.edu/programs-courses/non-credit/workforce-training/sbdc/.
For information on the Southern Region SBDC and its services, visit www.sbdchelp.com.