“We spent lots of time working and promoting (the business) but the money was going out faster than it was coming in,” Jason Buxton said. “We both took other part-time jobs just to pay the bills the business had created.”
The comment seems overwhelming, frustrating and all-too-familiar to some business owners. But Jason and Jessica Buxton's story does have a happy ending. Like many start-up business owners, Jason said they had no extra income for little things "like food and gasoline" in the beginning. Today, Jason boasts new 2 employees and a high school intern, more work than he can handle sometimes, mentoring high school students in entrepreneurship, and additional small businesses that he now owns....all the while, he and his wife, Jessica, started a family.
What Jason remembers most about the Operation JumpStart class he attended in 2006, he said, is that right away, the group began learning the basics of building a business plan, identifying customers and explaining their products and services to others. By applying what he had learned sometimes the night before in class, Jason said he saw his sales increasing, but also saw his expenses increasing.
“We went through the chapter on pricing, business expenses and priorities,” Jason said. “As we worked through this (section)….our bills started to level out. We were just on the edge of staying open or closing for good.”
At the end of the 6-week course, Jason submitted a business plan in competition for the up-to $5000 in grant money to fund expansion of his business. In the meantime, one of the two computers the Buxton’s used for the business “had died," Jason said. He and his wife would actually take their one laptop home at night in order to keep up with the demands of the business. He said at work, his wife would have to stop designing a graphic on the laptop in order just to print an invoice. It just wasn't efficient to have only one computer, he said, but they did not have $1000 or more to buy another computer. They held out hope that their business plan would be accepted and they could at least get a new computer.
Another major problem with the business was the heat press that they used to print T-shirts. Jason said that the heat press would “spike in temperature for no reason. It was possessed.” Jessica would have to stop for hours at a time in the middle of a T-shirt printing job, just to let the heat press cool down. The business was just not operating as efficiently as it could, and the Buxton’s had to take more personal time to make up the down-time.
“Now the happy ending,” Jason said. With the grant money the Buxton’s “got the machinery we needed and some we just wanted (and was) able to get down to working an 8-hr day.”
“With the information we learned from the class, we are paying our bills,” he added. “And with the help of the grant, we are accomplishing a good amount of work in a reasonable time frame which allows us to now take home some of the profits of all of our hard work.”
His advice for anyone struggling with a business idea, business plan, or expansion issues is this: “Operation JumpStart will be the best boost you can give your business without a doubt.
"We feel so incredibly blessed. You should see us now; we are real business owners, with a real business and real rewards.”
Jason also does custom graphics on motorized vehicles; called vehicle wraps, which was a small portion of the sales, but now has skyrocketed.
120 West Pine Street
Farmington, MO 63640
573-756-3044 (phone and fax)