In the early 90s, Drew Weir, a sound designer and engineer living in Manhattan, routinely carried his high-end DAT recorder with on the subway as he traveled to recording jobs throughout the city.
While Drew rode the subway he dreamed of one day opening his own recording studio and naming it Vagabond Audio in honor of his itinerant start in the business. Thanks in part to the help Drew and his wife and business partner, Rise Sanders, received from SCORE counselors in Chicago, Drew realized his dream. Today, Vagabond Audio is a state-of-the-art sound and design studio nestled next to the Chicago River that is loaded with an arsenal of both digital and vintage sound gear.
When Drew and Rise decided it was time to open their own studio, the first thing Rise did was attend each of SCORE’s “Certificate of Achievement” workshops which cover insurance and taxes, financial fundamentals, business plans and marketing and selling.
“SCORE’s workshops provided us with such a solid foundation. After I attended the workshops, I felt confident that we could succeed,” said Rise.
After attending the four SCORE workshops, Rise and Drew had several counseling sessions with Marge Schneider, a counselor in SCORE’s Chicago Office, to review their business and first draft of their business plan. Given the financing needs called for in their business plan, Marge asked another counselor, Marvin Lourie, to take the lead in advising them further.
“Marvin really helped us to fine-tune our business plan, which helped us to secure the SBA loan we needed to get our business off the ground,” said Rise.
Marvin started by reviewing their business plan and helping Rise and Drew understand what was realistic financially and the best way to present their financial information to lenders. Once their business plan was ready Marvin helped Rise and Drew identify which banks were most likely to finance a venture such as theirs.
“Marvin’s help in narrowing down the list of potential lenders saved us an enormous amount of time and effort. And in the end, one of the banks he recommended gave us an SBA-backed loan,” added Rise.
“The SCORE counselors are so knowledgeable and so generous with their time and experience and the workshops cover everything you need to know. Working with SCORE helped us make sure we had all of our bases covered and didn’t
overlook anything,” said Rise.
“SCORE is such an incredible resource for getting your feet planted firmly on the ground and ready to move forward and it’s free! I would highly recommend SCORE to anyone thinking of starting their own business,” added Rise.