Samuel owns Brilliant Elegance, a company offering window-cleaning services to businesses and private residences. He opened Brilliant Elegance five years ago, after he and his wife moved from Idaho to Mission, Texas, so they could be closer to her family. Before owning Brilliant Elegance, Samuel worked as the CFO for an optometrist’s office. Dissatisfied with the long hours and low pay, Samuel wanted to position himself strategically so that his hard work would translate into financial independence. At the time, he was washing windows on the weekends for additional income, so he began exploring the possibility of converting this weekend job into a full-time business. It was important that he open a business with minimal startup cost, so Samuel thoroughly researched the industry and wrote a business plan budgeting estimated costs and revenues. Seeing excellent potential for profitability, he opened Brilliant Elegance and never looked back.
His clients come in all shapes and sizes -- from restaurant chains, to grocery stores, to private residences. Until now, Samuel has typically worked alone and only hired additional workers as needed. However, in order to meet a growing workload and facilitate further expansion, Samuel is hiring 3-4 full-time employees. This loan from ACCION Texas-Louisiana provides him the capital to hire these employees and helps him cover payroll over the next couple of months. Typically, Samuel must wait up to 60 days before his new business accounts begin paying him, so he anticipates this expansion to strain his cash flow temporarily.
A constant challenge for Samuel has been maintaining contracts with clients affected by the recession, because his services are among the first cut by businesses looking to reduce costs. Samuel says that one of his clients, a national restaurant chain, discontinued his services to save money and transferred the responsibility of washing windows to their employees. However, after just two weeks, they realized that they couldn’t maintain the windows at the level Samuel did and that their restaurant’s appearance was suffering as a result. So, they called Samuel back and renewed his contract. He says that his key to success is showing clients how his services add value to their business by creating an atmosphere that is appealing to customers.
In the future, Samuel wants to expand his business to other markets in Texas as well as move into lateral industries like janitorial services, asphalt and line painting repairs, as well as general building maintenance. For the time being, though, he remains focused on growing his accounts in the greater-Mission area.
LiftFund. (www.liftfund.com) is an award-winning nonprofit organization (previously known as Accion Texas) with a mission to provide credit and loans to small and start-up businesses that have limited or no access to credit from commercial sources. Established in 1994 in San Antonio, LiftFund has helped Texas and Louisiana entrepreneurs strengthen their businesses, stabilize and increase their incomes, create employment, and contribute to the economic revitalization of their communities. Learn more at www.liftfund.com.