Is it ever too late to start your own Westchester small business and be your own boss after spending a successful career in corporate America for more than 30 years? The answer is absolutely NO! declares Anthony Tedesco who is making the transition from a senior-level executive to the owner of a fledging, home-based business, thanks to the advice and guidance of a SCORE Westchester business advisor.
That is exactly what Tedesco did a year ago when his long-time career at Citigroup, most recently as Senior Vice President of business reengineering, came to a close as a result of company-wide restructuring. Fortunately, Tedesco who had a strong foundation in technology (engineering degree from college and then extensive experience with computer systems and networks at work), had a side hobby and business of troubleshooting technical problems and fixing computers for family and friends, an area he got into early on when home computers became popular.
Along the way, as technology advanced, the scope of services he provided expanded. He developed a reputation for mastering the ‘nuts and bolts’ of building computer systems, equipped with document management, computer aided design, security, disaster recovery and other capabilities needed to run a business. That depth of expertise led to his being engaged by a law firm, an accounting firm and other small businesses to undertake projects during his spare time. This was the backdrop when Tedesco faced a critical decision about what to do with the rest of his life when he departed from Citigroup. “I had a passion for continuing what I had always been good at doing and which gave me deep satisfaction. The question was: Could I realistically turn this side business into a successful and money-making enterprise?” Tedesco recalled.
He decided to make the call to SCORE Westchester to get an unvarnished appraisal from an expert Westchester small business advisor of his idea of building a business, operating out of a 400 square foot work area in the basement of his Port Chester home. He was assigned to Glenn Shell, an experienced bank lending officer, consultant and former board member of a venture capital company who has provided SCORE Westchester clients with one-one mentoring in organizing and structuring their business, preparing business plans and offering practical suggestions for generating income. Shell is also Chair of the SCORE Westchester Chapter.
Tedesco says there have been two major take-aways from his SCORE Westchester experience. The first is what he calls the confidence factor. “I have found the counselors to be very supportive. If you are sincerely committed to succeeding, they are there to help you. I feel I can always call them if I have a question.”
The second is helping you to focus on the business plan. “Developing the business plan, a project that is a work in progress, has been an invaluable exercise because it helps you to understand what your goals are. I have come to appreciate that the business plan is my road map and, at some point, may help me to secure financing from investors.”
And how has the experience helped the bottom line for Tedesco’s new business venture, Precision Electronics and Technology, LLC. “So far, so good. I am encouraged by attracting a great deal of attention in the market place,” Tedesco reports. Although the company is focused on IT, Tedesco has been building a niche business—the design and implementation of theatrical electronic special effects for regional theaters and school theater arts programs.
As for advice to any serious entrepreneur, start-up or established Westchester small business owner looking to take the next big step, Tedesco says. “Like me, you can benefit by tapping into the experience of the accomplished SCORE Westchester advisors. You would be foolish not to take advantage of what they offer.”
Last year, Tedesco was one of the 520 new businesses owners whose enterprises were jump-started by 40 volunteer mentors while 325 SCORE clients reported that their businesses grew— contributing to the group earning the prestigious SCORE New York Metro Area Chapter of the Year honor.
“I have found the counselors to be very supportive. If you are sincerely committed to succeeding, they are there to help you. I feel I can always call them if I have a question.Developing the business plan, a project that is a work in progress, has been an invaluable exercise because it helps you to understand what your goals are. I have come to appreciate that the business plan is my road map and, at some point, may help me to secure financing from investors.”