When Brian and Christy Patrick of Rockingham visited a local bank to finance their dream of opening Patrick Tire, they found their ability to work hard and provide a good product and service weren’t enough to get them the cash they needed to open their business. They lacked a business plan and were directed to the Small Business Center at Richmond Community College.
“We contacted the Small Business Center that day,” said Brian. “After meeting with Deborah Hardison, we found we didn’t know nearly as much as we thought we did.”
Hardison has headed the center since 2010, and has worked with numerous entrepreneurs interested in developing business plans. It’s been nearly a year since she began working with the Patricks.
“They have been ideal clients,” said Hardison. “They put forth the effort not just to complete a business plan, but to work through each element of the plan to have a solid working document. We spent many evenings going back and forth to fine-tune the plan and research funding sources.”
Meanwhile, Brian and Christy continued working their respective jobs.
“There is a lot of research in developing a plan. You have a competitor analysis. We had to research the tire industry to see what the outlook for it is. You have to know about keeping books, paying taxes, and securing permits. Without Deborah, we would have been lost,” said Christy.
Brian found the cash flow analysis to be incredibly helpful.
“When you start adding up copy paper, ink, and other things to run the office, you realize there are more overhead costs than you planned for. She went over pricing our products and services with us to determine exactly how much we had to charge to make a profit. We also looked at exactly what we would offer,” said Brian.
When they felt they were ready, the couple took the plunge in May and opened Patrick Tire on U.S. 1 South in Rockingham, just a mile south of the U.S. 74 bypass. They sell tires both retail and wholesale. They offer tire and brake services as well as oil changes and basic automotive service work.
“We have actually done better than we expected,” said Brian, who works in the shop. “Christy is staying at her job and Shirley Patrick is here to help me with sales and the office. Christy does the bookkeeping at night. It’s good to know Deborah is still available if we have questions.”
Shirley Patrick has been in the tire business for nearly 20 years and is excited RCC was able to help the couple at no charge.
“I think it is fabulous RCC can provide such a service. It’s been a good learning experience for them and got them off on the right foot. It would have been much harder for them to go through this without RCC. I know all about purchasing and sales, but they received assistance with business structuring that was important. Things are going well for us,” she said.
Christy and Brian encourage anyone interested in starting their own business to contact Hardison.
“If you don’t have a business background, she will give you resource material and teach you everything you need to know about starting your own business. It’s not an overnight process and takes a lot of patience. We’ve found with patience and hard work it comes together,” said Brian.
Hardison can be reached by calling 910-410-1687 or e-mailing email@example.com.