November Business Brief


OzSBI: Not Just for Startups

Since OzSBI is a “small business incubator,” it’s clear that we help new ventures get started. Through the right care and support they can grow strong and stand on their own. But I am frequently asked whether OzSBI also engages with existing businesses.  The answer is most definitely “yes.”

Many of the companies we work with have been in business for many years. They join OzSBI because they want to grow to the next level, but don’t know how to get there. OzSBI mentors help businesses of any age do a 360-degree assessment of their current situation, identify barriers to their growth and develop a plan to overcome them.  These barriers can be internal, such as a lack of understanding of financials or inefficient business processes, or external, such as branding and customer service.  By working with a mentoring team, business owners develop the skills, knowledge and confidence to move forward. 

Paintmasters Collision Repair is one existing business that OzSBI mentors.  Owner Chad Sisco started Paintmasters in 2001 in a 2,000-square-foot building located in Rover, MO.  In the beginning, Paintmasters did collision repair and sold parts, but Chad had a vision for something more.  He was sharing his ideas for Paintmasters with his friend, OzSBI tenant, Chuck Swift, who encouraged him to reach out to OzSBI for business assistance.  After being in business for 11 years, Chad joined OzSBI in 2013 as an Affiliate Business.

As an Affiliate he receives a monthly mentoring session, discounts on workshops and meetups with other entrepreneurs.  The best part for Chad has been the mentoring.  “I knew that I wanted to change locations and offer more services, I just wasn’t sure how to make it happen.  Learning my financials has made my business grow by leaps and bounds.”  In June 2016 Paintmasters moved to a new 6500- square-foot building in Alton.  Services have expanded to also include tire sales and alignments, used auto sales, U-Haul rentals, and oil and lube services.  In the last six years, Paintmasters’ sales have doubled. Chad attributes his success “to the training and support he has received from OzSBI and his mentors.  They have helped me better understand my financials, keeping me focused on one task at a time to help me reach my goals.” Even taking an “Understanding Personalities” workshop at OzSBI has helped Chad better select employees and appreciate their different perspectives. 

Michael Hoff, Paintmasters’ business mentor and Senior Executive Vice-President and Chief Lending Officer of Community First Banking Company, attributes Chad’s success to Chad himself.  “Chad was willing to do the hard work to succeed,” he said.  “He and his team should be commended for putting in the time to understand the numbers.”

Paintmasters Collision Repair was awarded the 2017 Entrepreneur of the Year at EPIC, the small business celebration held at OzSBI every May. The message is clear: existing businesses can benefit from mentoring, as long as they are willing to heed advice and do the hard work.  

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