Small Business and Franchise Success Stories

Growing up in a family that owned a small town car dealership, Mark Larson learned what it takes to succeed in small business. So, when he was outsourced in 2010, he began looking for opportunities.

“I was both looking for a job and looking for a business I could buy or start.” 

Larson says he had loved wine since he was stationed in southwest Germany in the late ‘70s with the U.S. Air Force, so opening a wine tasting room was a natural fit. 

He began researching ways to use his retirement funds to start the business and found Guidant on the Internet. After speaking with two tax attorneys and another financial firm, he knew Guidant was the right choice for him. 

“Working with Guidant Financial was very simple. I was concerned about how difficult it would be, but those fears were unfounded. I was walked through each step [of the process] and the attorney I was paired with was great.” 

When asked what he would tell aspiring entrepreneurs who are looking to do the same thing, he advised, “Do your homework. Each person has their own tolerance to factor in. Starting this business debt-free reduced my start-up risk and that made the difference for me.” 

Larson holds a Bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering and also has experience in construction. As a veteran, Larson recognizes that many of the skills he’s now applying to start his business, he gained while in the military. 

“I was exposed to people and areas I would have never seen otherwise," says Larson. "The job experience was great too—I worked in engineering and got a solid background in facilities design and construction management. The sense of mission you get in the military cannot be overlooked.” 

In his spare time, Larson enjoys fishing, cooking, hiking and canoeing. Larson will open the doors to his new wine tasting room later this month. 

Watch our blog for updates on the opening of his new business.

Mark Larson is the second recipient of our veteran scholarship award. Click here for additional details on VetFran.


Ruby Clifton said...

Thanks for sharing the inspirational success story. Small business can sometimes result in large earnings with minimal investments.

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