Entrepreneur Patrick McDonough from Mukwonago had tried his hand at developing a business plan and approaching a bank to raise capital for his proposed septic pumping business. When he encountered problems dealing with the bank, and his accountant of seven years was unable to help him develop the necessary financial projections for an SBA loan, he decided to seek the help of the Small Business Development Center (SBDC) in Waukesha.
McDonough did have business experience. In 2009, he and his wife, Pamela, began a small business known as Pat’s Plowing Service. Even though Patrick had gained experience working for snowplowing and towing companies, they still faced challenging years.
HARD WORK PAYS OFF
After Patrick’s two younger children were born, he knew that he needed to make some changes in his life. He decided to cut his teeth at a well-known septic pumping and repair business in Waukesha County. Patrick quickly built expertise and earned certifications – while also returning to school to obtain his General Education Diploma. After six years of hard work, Patrick felt he was finally ready to set up and run his own septic pumping and repair business. “I started McDonough Septic because I saw a need for a more customer-friendly and cost-effective solution in the market,” Patrick said. “In our business, it is not only important to understand the operation of different types of septic and holding tanks in both residential and commercial properties. We need to educate our customers on septic tank usage and maintenance so that they can avoid painful problems like septic tank overflow, slow water drainage and sewage backup.”
PARTNERSHIPS START NEW BUSINESSES
When Patrick met with SBDC business consultant Karen Taylor, she had been in her job for less than three months. The Waukesha SBDC was established in 2016 in partnership with the new Waukesha County Center for Growth to serve as the central point of contact for businesses looking to grow in Waukesha County. “Patrick needed help to develop a formal business plan, and to see his company from the perspective of both his customers as well as the bank,” Taylor said. “We helped him to use strategic management tools such as the Business Model Canvas to map out his business model, and develop pro forma financial statements with robust assumptions to support his different revenue streams and costs of doing business. The numbers took many hours of work, but it is through the rigor of the budgeting process and business planning where business owners like Patrick learn how to set realistic goals and develop a holistic approach when building their business.” McDonough Septic is still in the startup phase. Having obtained an SBA Express Loan to purchase his truck and various equipment, as well as a line of credit to run his business, Patrick has been working hard to ensure prompt and reliable service, and is seeing a steady growth of customers in Waukesha County. Some of his customers have sought his expertise in emergency septic pump and tank repairs, while others have found it beneficial to get his tips on tank monitoring and system maintenance.
Accomplishments with the SBDC at the Waukesha Center for Growth
- Raised nearly $100,000 initial financing
- Raised nearly $100,000 initial financing
- Gained knowledge in government contracting opportunities
BECOMING A FAMILY OPERATION
In preparation for business growth and expansion, McDonough has begun training his eldest son, whom he hopes will eventually become a certified operator and help in the business. He has also participated in a workshop hosted by the Waukesha County Center for Growth to learn more about government contracting. “The Center for Growth has connected me with the Wisconsin Procurement Institute so that I know how to register my business, and seek sales opportunities with the government.” McDonough continues to seek the help of his SBDC consultant for managing his business. He said, “The challenges of maintaining profitability and increasing sales through effective marketing in the initial years are vastly different from issues faced in the business planning stage. I am happy to be able to continue receiving such valuable help, at no cost to my business.”