Ten years ago, Patricia decided to start her business, Loop Services & More, after realizing that her six years of experience in public notary could afford her a more lucrative career than working for someone else. She says that obtaining her license to practice public notary was the simple part; the difficult part was building up her reputation and gaining clientele.
One of the ways that Patricia has been able to build clientele is by offering several more services than the average public notary, including income tax filing, income tax preparation, mailing services and immigration paperwork.
As a native Spanish speaker, Patricia is also able to provide access to all of these services for the Hispanic communities in the Texas-Mexico border city of Brownsville, where her business is located. Because many of her clients are not educated in the complexities of the government documents necessary to stay and work in the U.S., access to translations of these documents is of the utmost importance to them. She partially attributes her loyal clientele to her ability to provide these much needed services.
Patricia feels that her business has had two major successes so far. The first was the speed with which Loop Services was able to expand its clientele base. The second was a letter she received from the Internal Revenue Service thanking her for all of the people that she has helped with her business. Of this letter, she says, “(the letter) made me really happy because I enjoy helping my customers in whatever they need, even if it is just translating something for them.”
In the future, Patricia hopes to expand her business to offer still more services and employment to her Brownsville community. She hopes to begin offering payment services for bills, money transfers, and money orders. Currently, she employs one other person, but she hopes that the expansion of her business will allow her to offer more employment to those who need it.
With this loan, Patricia bought a post box, painted her office, purchased two desks, and installed an office alarm system. She is in the process of dividing her office space into two different offices, reserving one side for public notary and the other for the services she wishes to add. The loan will also pay for the equipment and licenses needed for these new services. Finally, with the remaining money, Patricia will invest in publicity for her business to bring in more clients.
Her experiences in business have led Patricia to advise new entrepreneurs never to lose hope. She says, “I always saw my business as a job; you work to provide good customer service, and, if you’re doing well, the clients will come back.” With this simple, yet effective, business philosophy, Patricia hopes to continue expanding her business and serving the community around her.
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.