Gannon University Small Business Development Center
Jason Klemm served as the foreman of the Barry Smith Slate Roofing, Inc. crew for 14 years. He knew the customers and knew the art and science of installing, maintaining and replacing slate roofs. So, when Smith decided to withdraw from the business, Klemm saw an opportunity.
What he did not know was how to prepare a business plan and present it to lenders. That's where the Gannon University Small Business Development Center (SBDC) stepped in. Klemm's banker, Jim Jackson, referred Klemm to Gannon SBDC. "SBDC helped with the business plan. Without them, I had no idea how to put it together. That was the big difficulty," Klemm said.
SBDC consultant John Fee and Jim Jackson of Marquette Savings Bank worked together to draft a business plan and prepare financial forecasts as a platform for financing the purchase of some of Smith's assets and capitalizing the business. "Projecting is basically a guessing game," Klemm said. "John worked the numbers until the bank was happy with them."
The harsh winter of 2017-18 created a high demand for the specialized services Klemm and his three-man crew provide. The business has had such a successful first six months that Klemm joked, "My banker's probably upset that that I'm not going to use the money he gave me."
And he's in it for the long-term, which is appropriate to the business he's in. "Slate roofs can last 100-150 years if properly maintained," Klemm observed.Klemm's business might not have that kind of longevity quite yet, but he's clearly off to a good start and grateful for SBDC's assistance. "I don't think I could have put together the plan that the bank wanted to see without SBDC. The free service is the best part about it."