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Dream Realized

Roy Magsamen, RM Small Engine Repair, LLC

With SBDC assistance, mechanic realizes dream of business ownership

Roy Magsamen

Roy Magsamen had been repairing small engines for nearly 20 years when he decided to move his engine repair workshop out of his home and launch a full-scale business. Before leaving his employment as service manager for an auto retailer, Magsamen wanted assurance that he could earn a living as an entrepreneur. He needed to learn more about how to predict the success or failure of his proposed business.

A radio announcement of a grant-funded Business Plan Boot Camp offered by the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater Small Business Development Center (SBDC) inspired Magsamen to contact the center and enroll in the program.

The Business Plan Boot Camp guides course participants through the process of writing a business plan and introduces them to business ownership fundamentals. It enables participants to evaluate the viability of business ideas and provides the skills and knowledge needed to start and run a business.

"The Business Plan Boot Camp was a real eye-opener in terms of letting you know that you can't just turn the key and go," Magsamen said.

As part of the Boot Camp program, Magsamen, with assistance from SBDC director Ronald "Bud" Gayhart, completed financial statements showing projected cash flow, income and expenses for the first three years. Looking at these projections, Magsamen discovered that his business, as planned, would not be profitable. Breaking into the market as a newcomer with few customers seemed too risky.

It looked like Magsamen's dream of running a small-engine repair business would not be realized. Though discouraged, he felt relieved that he had gone through the Boot Camp and made this discovery before quitting his job.

Then, Magsamen's connections in the community presented him with a golden opportunity. The owners of the local Ace Hardware store approached him about taking over Ace's outdoor power equipment sales and service. They wanted to get out of the business of selling and repairing equipment and knew they could trust Magsamen to take good care of their longtime customers.

Excited at this turn of events, Magsamen returned to the SBDC. With Gayhart's help, he revised the financial projections to reflect the benefits of having connections with Ace Hardware's equipment suppliers and customers. The numbers looked good, and with the revised business plan completed, Magsamen was ready to apply for an SBA guaranteed loan.

"Bud Gayhart really put things into perspective and helped me each step of the way," Magsamen said when asked about the impact the SBDC had on his success as an entrepreneur.

A few months later, with the loan received and RM Small Engine Repair open for business, Magsamen expressed optimism about the future. "As one of only a few small-engine repair shops in the area, I know I will be busy," he said, "I anticipate hiring employees later this year. It's good to know that I can call the SBDC any time I need assistance as my business grows."

RM Small Engine Repair website:

To request SBDC assistance for your business, click here and complete the online Request for Assistance form or call 262-472-3217.