“The valuable insights the SBDC team provided certainly helped me see all of the possibilities for business growth. Together we looked at a variety of revenue streams and determined which would be most profitable and I’m happy to say as a result, my business is thriving.”

Lawanda Dickerson

Eight years ago, while working as a professional plus-size model, Lawanda Dickerson got a warning from her doctor — she would be facing real health problems if she did not make changes in her life.

Soon after that appointment, at a family dinner, she began to look around the room: most of her relatives were suffering from one or more health ailments as of a result of being overweight. She knew she had to make a dramatic change.

“I knew that if I continued the way I was going I saw exactly how I’d end up,” said Lawanda. “As a minister, I spent so much time helping people find their personal forgiveness with God, I found I needed to listen to the same messages for myself.”

Lawanda began a difficult yet successful weight-loss journey. The difficult journey of knowing that she would be faced with the need to change years of bad habits that were embedded in her family and her culture were indeed overwhelming at times.

It took her two years to achieve her goal. She lost 70 pounds and is a model of good health; she became a National Association of Sports Medicine (NASM) Certified Personal Trainer, Weight Loss Specialist, Nutrition Fitness Specialist and opened the U3Fit Meal Prep Fitness Studio in the San Francisco Bayview Neighborhood where she grew up.

Once Lawanda decided to open her own business, she sought help from SBDC. A team of advisors including Jim Nguyen, Angel Cardoz and Valerie Camarda were assigned to work with her on a business plan and marketing strategy. The business plan helped her obtain a small business loan through Main Street Launch and a San Francisco city grant that has funded her complete buildout for the U3Fit Meal Prep Fitness Studio. The team continued to follow up with Lawanda, assisted with research to assure that her pricing stayed competitive. The valuable information the team provided helped Lawanda’s business exponentially grow in leaps and bounds.

“The valuable insights the SBDC team provided certainly helped me see all of the possibilities for business growth. Together we looked at a variety of revenue streams and determined which would be most profitable and I’m happy to say as a result, my business is thriving,” said Lawanda.

Since she began her business, Lawanda has helped hundreds of clients reach their fitness goals. She provides a full fitness assessment, makes recommendations on nutrition and customizes meal plans according to a client’s health needs, and develops specific workout routines for every client. Her most popular offerings are B12 (Methyclobalamin) B12 complex (Cyanocobalamin) and Vitamin C shots that provide more energy and increases weight loss. Her happy clients are her best advertisement!

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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.