“I used to think of [the SBDC] as a place for folks who don’t have much experience, but now I’ve seen that you truly have deep subject matter expertise that is incredibly helpful, i.e. fundraising, hiring, HR, marketing, helping my venture at its most crucial moments.”
An entrepreneur’s pursuit is bolstered by experts who can fill in the gaps of fundraising, HR, and marketing, helping to push the concept forward into a reality.
After selling his software company that he grew from start-up to acquisition, John Keleher’s first involvement with the Mendocino SBDC was as a business advisor. After a two year stint as an advisor, John moved on to another software start-up opportunity. John’s new enterprise specialized in providing comparative data metrics to wineries in Mendocino County. Wineries can quickly appreciate where they excelled with specific varietals over other area wineries. John came back to the Mendocino SBDC when his “proof of concept” project was an undisputed success. John’s short term plans included expansion into the wineries located in Sonoma and Napa Counties, but to accomplish this John needed capital funding, administrative personnel, and an industry analyst.
To assist John, the Mendocino SBDC provided him with a team of advisors including a regional advisor, a human resource specialist, and a social media marketing specialist – all of whom met with him repeatedly for one-on-one consultations. The SBDC walked him through the applications for the COVID-19 disaster relief funds including the EIDL, PPP loans, and PPP loan forgiveness.
The support from his regional advisor helped him to secure $265,000 in venture capital while his HR advisor guided him through the proper steps involved with hiring three new people. His social media marketing advisor helped him prepare to do a series of presentations to several Sonoma and Napa County Winery Associations with the goal of expanding into these markets.
Next, John plans to reconstruct his software program at which point he will return to the Mendocino SBDC to prepare his business plan for expansion into other industries including transportation, accommodation, food service, real estate, agriculture.