North Coast SBDCEureka and Crescent City California

“This was a once in a lifetime opportunity and SBDC helped me have the confidence to move forward​. Thank you to the SBDC and all of those responsible for making the program work!”

Advanced Displays and Signs

Ted Sheets has been making signs since 1984. In 2006 he began to look at the possibility of moving out of his garage, which was full to the rafters. Ted wanted to expand his sign business and started looking at sign franchise opportunities. But he didn’t know how to tell if it was a good deal or not. How much cash would he need, and what was the monthly break even?

In early 2007 Ted joined the Building Contractors program being sponsored by the North Coast Small Business Development Center. The SBDC developed an intensive training and counseling program for this specific industry group. The program covered a nine month period, with the outcome being a business plan.

When Ted started meeting with his business counselor, he expressed his goal as wanting to get out of his garage and to expand the business. Ted attended all four of the Business Basics training workshops and really began to seriously consider how to make his goal of expansion a reality.

Over several months of meeting with his counselor it became clear that the franchise option might not be the best choice for Humboldt County and for Ted. During this same period, a competitor’s business became available for sale. Using the skills he already had and his new understanding of financial management and cash flow of a business, Ted and his counselor reviewed several possible purchase scenarios. After evaluating the financial side, and working with an attorney on the legal side, Ted made an offer. And it was accepted! The competitor was a turn-key operation and Ted has now been able to more than double the volume of his business, has retained 3 jobs in the process, and is looking at creating new jobs.

In 2007, Ted’s Signs expanded to Advanced Display and Signs and Ted Sheets achieved his business goals of expansion.

“Without the support of the SBDC and my counselor, I would not have been able to strike such a good deal for myself," he said. "The training program and working with my SBDC Business Advisor gave me the confidence to understand the projections and the cash flow and to develop an offer I knew that I could live with. The purchase had to be able to pay for itself, and with the financial understanding I now have, I know it will. This was a once in a lifetime opportunity and SBDC helped me have the confidence to move forward."

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Funded in part through a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration. All opinions, conclusions or recommendations expressed are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the SBA or HSU Sponsored Programs Foundation.