Nancy Tyrrell and her husband opened their custom picture framing and antiques business in Buhl 20 years ago. They first contacted the Idaho SBDC office in Twin Falls in the fall of 2007 with the intent of learning how to broaden their business base and increase income. An SBDC counselor helped them determine what they were doing well and recognize areas needing improvement. The business was self supporting and had a reputation for quality workmanship and good customer service. However, sales needed to increase, the couple needed to learn to set tangible financial goals, and the look of the store needed updating. Nancy began capitalizing on her creativity and let it define the store’s look. An SBDC counselor helped her project goals for growing the picture framing part of the business, which provides the bulk of their income, and encouraged her to launch out with the creation, manufacture and sale of custom key fobs, a passion of Nancy’s.
Initially, Nancy licensed the Boise State Bronco key fob with Collegiate Licensing Company. That was followed by the University of Idaho Vandal key fob in March 2011. An Idaho SBDC counselor helped Nancy figure her breakeven point and create a marketing strategy for the fobs. In just six weeks she recouped two thirds of her investment and sales continue to be strong. Today the company offers 12 different key fobs.
Nancy learned from the Idaho SBDC that the size of a business is irrelevant; rather, what is important is how well the business manages its resources. She has begun networking with other business owners, promoting her products at every opportunity and actively pursuing new ideas. Most importantly, she is now clearly focused on her goals. With the direction of the Idaho SBDC, the business is growing even in an economic downturn.
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