Small Business and Franchise Success Stories

Jim Butenschoen, Owner
After 22 years in corporate sales and marketing, Jim Butenschoen of Springdale, Ark. decided that he'd had enough. "Corporate became more important than the customers. Internal processes and procedure, while important, were valued more than the needs of our clients. I really wanted to control my own destiny. As with any good salesman, success or failure is wholly dependent on my own initiative. Why not apply that to my own business?"

So that's just what he did.

Butenschoen spent five years searching for the perfect business to buy and decided on a beauty school. It's not the industry he thought he'd enter into, but the fact their financials were audited brought him great comfort, and he liked the idea of growing a mom-and-pop operation.

Put simply, since its inception his business has flourished.

He initially opened two schools, and by the second year had opened a third. By the third and fourth years, they moved the first two schools to larger facilities to accommodate continued growth. To date, they've expanded to include 375 students, including 117 who are still in high school. They'll be opening the doors to a fourth location later this year, and accepting up to 100 more students.

What is his secret of success?

Butenschoen says he "constantly preaches" to his staff that their corporate objectives are 1) Customers 2) Employees 3) Financial 4) Growth. He tells a story to support this:

A year ago we had a student move three hours away to Little Rock after completing our course here. The owner of the salon where she went to work called us, unsolicited, to brag about the student's abilities and capabilities. More importantly, the salon owner knew that the difference in our student and others she'd hired locally was the quality of our school and the education that student had received. That told me we were doing something right.
Butenschoen went on to say that if his first two objectives were addressed correctly, the third and fourth "would not be a problem."

Before his schools were up and running, he utilized Guidant's iFinance service for funding. "The most impressive aspect of Guidant was their comprehensive approach to the entire process from incorporation of the business with all of the supporting documentation to the annual reporting requirements."

When asked if he had hesitation using this method of financing, Butenschoen stated, "I was initially concerned with the IRS issues and of course a little afraid of stirring that pot. However, I have been very satisfied with Guidant's mastery of the IRS regulations and rules. I have complete confidence in Guidant's compliance with the IRS."

Although long hours are spent running the business, Butenschoen does still make time to enjoy his hobbies. "I'm an avid bad golfer," he jokes. "Actually, I was fairly decent until I bought the business. Then my time on the golf course dropped dramatically. I'm hoping to spend more time there this year."

He certainly deserves some days on the links.

For more information on the Career Academy of Hair Design, visit their official website.


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