2008 Emerging Business of the Year
- Owner: Alan Oswalt
- Nature of Business: Real estate appraisal
- City: Garden City
- County: Finney County
- Phone: 620-260-7945
- Business Structure: Sole Proprietorship
- Business Began: 2002
- Employees: 4
- KSBDC Consultant: Patricia Veesart
Secret to Success:
"Customer Service - giving them what they want, when they want it, delivering on-time, every time, while maintaining highest quality. We show our clients that we really do care which has helped us grow the business."
Alan Oswalt discovered his passion while assisting people who had found their own. He was a KSBDC consultant when he realized that he had inherited his father's entrepreneurial spirit. He followed an interest in the appraisal industry, taking classes to obtain licensure. He applied the skills he had been teaching to open his own part-time business.
His part-time business grew steadily. His goal to become independent came sooner than expected with rapid business growth. He left the KSBDC to devote himself to the appraisal business fulltime. Although he had been a consultant, he became a KSBDC client for the support. He quickly realized he was too close to see all the details and recognized that having another expert on his team would make his business stronger.
As his business grows, he is learning how to judge the amount of money that must be set aside for income taxes and has added employees to the business to help him balance his life and increase efficiency. He now has a set procedure and review checklist for himself and his employees to be especially careful about accuracy and ensure high quality results.
He encourages entrepreneurship in others. "Do your research, write your plan and check the numbers to see what it will take to succeed," he explained. "The KSBDC can help you with information and education; you have to find the faith & desire. If the business has potential and you have the drive your chance of failure is minimized."
The best part of owning his own business is being able to provide for his family. "This is really the true aim of the business and the whole reason why it exists." With 2 year old twin boys, an 11 year old daughter and his wife taking college classes, he is the sole provider for the family. He doesn't feel he would earn enough money working for someone else. Even so, he takes the time to serve as chairman of the board for the Garden City Teacher's Credit Union.
"I could not have done this without the people with whom I work and the people who support me. I am but a small piece in the puzzle and without them the business cannot work. I especially want to thank my wife, Olga, and Regina, Elizabeth and Linda for all the hard work they have done."
"The KSBDC helped me put together a business plan and financials. The cash flow analysis was especially important because they helped me recognize that I was mixing personal expenses with the business and I needed to split them into two financial statements to really understand where the money was going."
Alan Oswalt, Owner