“The San Francisco SBDC is really the best resource I have found to help get a cohesive view of what business is and can become and to develop the steps to get there."

Geoff Luttrell

Background

SF Guitarworks is a guitar repair business in San Francisco that specializes in all types of guitar repairs and a large client base in the local entertainment industry. Owner Geoff Luttrellopened the business in 2002.

Challenges

Luttrell’s ultimate goal was to “to grow my business and eventually manage the business from afar. I need to plan a little better to see what sales need to be to allow me to hire an employee while improving my revenues.” He had struggled after the premature hire of his first SF Guitarworks employee by not considering the impacts to the business during training process. As a result Luttrell lost money by not calculating his own lagging production during the transition and he grappled with having consistent available repair work to justify the extra payroll. Other challenges for the business included the continuous need for marketing and bookkeeping management expertise. Despite the setbacks, SF Guitarworks was experiencing consistent growth and by 2006 future growth capacity was limited.

Actions Taken

In March of 2006 when Luttrell was seeking an appropriate growth strategy, he found out about the San Francisco Small Business Development Center’s (SFSBDC) “Gateway Entrepreneurship Program.” The nine-week strategic planning program ran from March through May and Luttrell enrolled with the hope of gaining a calculated growth plan. Aside from the program, the SFSBDC also set Luttrell up with a financial modeling counselor to develop feasible SF Guitarworks financial projections. In addition, the client sharpened his basic bookkeeping skills with the help of class training and one-on-one QuickBooks accounting software counseling from an SBDC consultant.

Results

Between the skills gained in the nine-week course and the counseling services provided by three SFSBDC consultants, Luttrell was able to achieve a better strategic focus and remove the roadblocks to successful growth. Previous revenues were: $14,000 in 2002, $27,000 in 2003, $45,000 in 2004, $75,000 in 2005, and $85,000 in 2006. New projections for 2007 are $125,000. The original hire has been retained and Luttrell is in the process of hiring an assistant manager which will allow him more freedom to build the business. Luttrell is also working with SFSBDC to access some working capital which resulted which resulted from his newly developed financial projections.

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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.