Thursday, March 27, 2014, Darling Geomatics was recognized as a 2014 Success Award Winner by the Arizona Small Business Development Center Network in the annual Success Award program for small business success. The Arizona Small Business Development Center Network is Arizona’s largest and most accessible statewide source of assistance for small businesses in every stage of development. Each year the Network highlights and honors some of Arizona’s brightest small business successes for the vital role that they play in our state’s economy. Darling Geomatics worked with the Microbusiness Advancement Center Small Business Development Center to achieve a higher level of success. Read their story below:
Mary Darling, principal owner of Darling Geomatics, didn’t dream of becoming a million dollar business owner. She evolved into the position serendipitously as the consulting firm she was working for grew too fast and lost it all. Darling started as a sole proprietor growing her business from scratch in 1997. After two years, her husband Richard joined the effort and they formed an S-Corporation. The couple cross trained each other, Mary with her wildlife biology background taught Richard how to identify endangered species of owls, desert tortoises falcons and more, while Richard, a land surveyor, taught Mary how to find section corners, run survey-grade GPS equipment and jump out of helicopters in steep mountain terrain to find obscure survey monuments in remote roadless areas.
In the beginning, Mary performed business planning, financial and marketing tasks as well as environmental and survey work. As the company grew she took various business courses, secured business loans and hired administrative staff. However, the business could only achieve certain limits with any individual bank, so credit was established with multiple banks. This left the business cash strapped when the need for equipment financing or capital growth was considered.
After 16 years of banking chaos, Mary exclaims, I met with Ellen Kirton from the Microbusiness Advancement Center SBDC. She immediately noticed that I had more bank accounts and credit card accounts for my company than I should. I had lines of credit with four banks, business credit cards with high balances, and an extremely expensive credit card merchant agreement. Kirton used her financial expertise and banking insights from more than 35 years of experience in the banking industry to provide my company with an incredible perspective on our finances. Kirton’s objective analysis of our books led me to consolidate all debt, lowering interest rates and bank fees more than 50%. The new financial package included a single line of credit with a low interest rate that is ample for our planned growth, a remote deposit machine to save valuable time running to the bank, and low interest business credit cards for our employees that travel paid from a single account. The savings alone the first six months alone has been several thousand dollars, not to mention the time and peace of mind that has been saved.”
Mary Darling testifies, “Our local Tucson SBDC is the best business resource I know, whether you are starting a business or a mature enterprise. Their Profit Mastery Course is a must not only for business owners but, also for office mangers and other upper division employees. Learning to look at our business the same way a banker looks at our business has changed the way I run the business. The results are amazing. 2014 will be our best profit year ever!”