As a CPA, Sharon Eason had a fulfilling career with top firms, including KPMG, Swiss Re, and MBIA. Yet she had always had the desire to start her own business. She’d done the preliminary research, but given her professional and personal commitments at the time, Sharon reluctantly decided to put her entrepreneurial dreams on hold.
After being downsized, Sharon did some reevaluating. Her children were getting ready to start college, and her time was her own. “Outside of going to the spa,” Sharon said with a cheerful laugh, “I needed something.” As part of her initial exploratory process, she considered adding insurance or financial planning services to her offerings before deciding to concentrate on her established area of expertise, providing accounting, tax preparation, and auditing services to business owners.
Sharon began her business, ADG Accounting, Inc. out of her own home, but the location in her residential neighborhood was not ideal. Renting office space added a new level of urgency to Sharon’s plans. “Now that I had a real expense, I knew there was a real need to ramp up quickly. I went to SCORE knowing they offer help for business owners, and that they have a lot of experience.”
A Challenging Process That Resulted in New Found Confidence
Sharon’s initial meeting at SCORE was with mentor Natasha Roukous. “She was very enthusiastic,” Sharon said, “and she had a lot of questions for me. It was an enjoyable, challenging process. I left the office feeling great, and full of new found confidence.”
Subsequently, Sharon worked with Fred Krawchick and Fred Claar. “They helped me develop my message,” she explained, adding that Fred made it clear that Sharon needed to express the value and benefits she brought to her customers. Through role play exercises, a surprise invitation to teach the accounting portion of an entrepreneurial training program, and three high profile presentations, Sharon built her comfort level to the point where she could discuss her business in a confident, natural way. “This was a 360 shift for me,” Sharon said, adding that she’d been raised to be very modest about her abilities and that being able to convey her skills confidently helped her attract more business.
Don’t Be Afraid to Try! Advice for Would-Be Entrepreneurs
When asked what advice she would offer to people who’d recently been downsized or were considering starting their own business, Sharon replied, “Don’t be afraid to try. Nothing ventured, nothing gained! There is help out there, including agencies like SCORE that really want you to be successful.”
Sharon’s relationship with SCORE Westchester continues to this day. “I know that if I need to check in and get some advice, or to consult with someone with a specific area of expertise, SCORE is still there, just a phone call away. You can count on SCORE’s support.”