Small business 101
How to make a company grow
09/27/2012 9:22 PM
When Joanna Sobran started MXOtech, her West Loop-based IT business, growth was the last thing on her mind. She rented a 200 square foot office for $260 a month, had two employees and just wanted to survive.
Through perseverance and dedication, she reached $411,000 in revenue after her first year. Five years later, she hit $1.4 million in revenue. But something was missing.
“I didn’t enjoy it anymore—I wasn’t fulfilled,” Sobran said earlier tonight, addressing an audience of small business owners who are members of the West Loop Community Organization.
Timing is everything, and for Sobran, it was a call from an acquaintance who told her about the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Business Initiative.
“It was like an answered prayer,” Sobran said of the program that mentors small business owners who are enthusiastic and serious about growing their companies. I recently wrote about Carmen Maldonado, owner of La Criolla and one of Sobran’s classmates.
Maldonado and Sobran both credit the Goldman Sachs initiative for a renewed sense of commitment to their business. The keys to success, Sobran said, are leadership, vision and understanding your financials.
“You can generate a lot of revenue, but still not be profitable,” she said.
The six-month program was offered at no charge by Goldman Sachs to 36 Chicago-area small business owners. It brought in business professors and successful business leaders as speakers, and included homework assignments, too.
“It was the coolest homework I’ve ever done, because it helped grow and improve my business,” Sobran said.