CLIENT & PARTNER STORIES:
Below are some stories that have been shared with us from clients and partners who have used the Pebble Plan app to plan their growth or support local businesses as they do so. Please read through their situations; you will probably find one that is similar to yours. Each business, and each community are unique, but the problems they face are often very similar. If someone else has used Pebble Plan to improve their situation, you can too.
Industry: Utilities field services
Deal: $3.2M negotiated buyout of existing business
TF was a senior employee at a small business that worked under contract for utility providers throughout Texas. After having success as a job foreman, estimator, and manager of field services at the firm he wanted to buy into the firm and help it grow because the company ownership was distracted by personal issues. When this was denied by the owner, he started using Pebble Plan to map out his transition to self-employment where he would use his skills to run his own company.
After 3 months using Pebble Plan on his own & with periodic help from a consultant, TF was confident enough in his plan that he approached an investor who agreed to back him in the new company. Out of respect for the company owner he let his soon-to-be- former employer know that he was planning to leave so the company should start looking for a replacement. That conversation led to TF showing the owner his business plan. When the company owner saw how prepared TF was, he agreed to sell TF the company.
In talking with TF as he was telling me the story, he said that he knew that he knew how to do his job with excellence, but he didn’t know how to communicate that to an investor or banker in the format they would accept and find persuasive. He said that Pebble Plan let him go at his own pace so it wasn’t intimidating, and that seeing the plan come together helped him have the confidence to bring on an investor and sway the company owner.
He was prepared to go to the bank but didn’t want to put down his retirement and family’s savings as down payment for the loan. In this situation Pebble Plan helped an owner in distress get out of a business he was no longer passionate about, saved the jobs of the existing employees, brought private investment off the sidelines.
Industry: Fast food franchise
Deal: $175K Land investment from EDC, Building + operating capital deal still in process
TP was a small business owner in the automotive upgrades/add-ons industry. Who was frustrated by the limited growth opportunity in his town of approximately 15,000 people. As a local, he knew what kind of businesses the town needed, and he decided to risk letting go of his current business to buy into a Texas based fast food franchise to serve his community and the hundreds of truckers per day that stopped in his town to load or unload, and who didn’t have many options for where to eat.
TP was referred to Pebble Plan by the towns EDC and once he got started with Pebble Plan he made fast & consistent progress. In under 90 days TP completed his plan and presented to the EDC board who agreed to supply a piece of land it owned based on the strength of his plan. In learning about how things came about I was told that this was the first time the board members could remember that a plan answered their questions so clearly that they were able to see all the elements of the deal and the benefits to the town in one meeting.
TP is in the process of getting the money together to build the building and start operations later this year.
Industry: Flower shop
Deal: +$200K retail business buyout (equipment but no building)
CD was a part-time designer & creator of women’s accessories who wanted to serve her small community and takeover a local flower shop whose aging owners were struggling to make relevant again after decades in business. CD was pursuing a combination deal with the community EDC providing money for equipment and building renovation, with a local bank providing the rest of the financing for inventory and operating capital.
After reaching an agreement with the owners CD started working in the flower shop part time to observe the operating processes so she could upgrade them when she took over. During this time, she was translating her growing knowledge of the business into her Pebble Plan and the owners were supposed to be getting their affairs together to transition into full retirement. In a little over 2 months, with no experience in the flower business, CD was able to document the stores products, processes and problems in the Pebble Plan app, and make adjustments to them so she could show growth and a path to profitability even though the actual store had been at breakeven or losing money for years.
As CD was learning the business and finalizing her plans, the owners pulled back from the table after seeing that someone else was going to run ‘their store’ differently than they had for so long. Ultimately this is a sad story for CD and a cautionary tale for entrepreneurs to get things in writing, but it is a testimony to how quickly Pebble Plan can help people turn their vision into a viable plan and communicate that vision & the corresponding results to others. In this case the owners didn’t like the vision because they were emotionally attached to their way of doing things. They will probably come back to the table once they realize nobody else is going to run the store the way they want.
Industry: Web design / web app creation
Deal: Healthy living startup
JF was a successful website builder and web designer who had a vision to create a healthy living app for busy moms and working women who weren’t eating well because cooking and meal prepping took too much time & energy after a long day with work and kids.
JF did tons of research, knew her facts, and could see the ins & outs of her product-to-be, but she had a difficult time deciding which segment of her huge market to tackle first. When she started using Pebble Plan it became clear that coordinating her service offering with her customers’ needs, their budget, the best ways to market to them, and how much she could afford to spend in development was a constantly moving target.
She could do the work, but she was smart enough to realize that moving ahead with programming while there were still so many unanswered questions, was not a good use of time or money. JF slowed down and is still working on her plan, taking time to research each market segment independently and see which is the right starting market for her app that can allow her to get to profitability quickly then grow once she has proven her concept with a small market segment.
Her app isn’t a success yet, but she already is because of what she has learned while using the Pebble Plan app. She was able to use the lessons learned in the app to make an informed decision about the best way to spend her time & money so when things line up, she is ready to go and can make the best use of her available funds.
Industry: Music production
Deal: Service startup
DS was an accomplished musician, band leader, and music production tech who was familiar with using his talents as part of a large organization, but had not tried to commercialize his musical talents until he separated from the organization he was working for.
As a native of west Texas he was very familiar with rural dynamics and the inconsistent musical talent available to help civic, social and religious organizations with maintaining and getting the best use from their musical equipment, public address systems, etc. He has developed an innovative business model to serve these organizations and has used Pebble Plan to create his business plan to access bank funding as well as federal program funding. As a musician, he has had limited experience with business financials, but he recognizes the importance of being able to communicate his business’s financial capabilities to others. Because Pebble Plan teaches practical financial skills that business owners need as part of the planning process DS was more willing to learn business financials; but he also wanted some help.
By utilizing Pebble Plan’s collaborative tools DS has been able to reach out a financial advisor in his personal network and work with him in the app as part of the planning process even though the financial advisor is many states away. Pebble Plan’s collaborative tools make it easy to bring in expertise from anywhere in the country to support local businesses that will pay taxes & create jobs in any given community. DS is still in the approval process for his financing, but he has a much broader understanding of the many elements that his bankers & other financing providers are looking at.