Entrepreneurship Center Success Story

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Jeannine Bryant is the owner of Changing Spaces SRS, a company that started out in the SCC Incubator.

When Debbie Patterson and her husband decided it was time to sell their house and downsize, she knew exactly who to call: Changing Spaces SRS (Senior Relocation Services).

“When we decided we were going to move, it was almost overwhelming to think about all the details that go into moving,” Patterson said.

Changing Spaces SRS helps seniors think about downsizing, then organizes the move and holds an estate sale, if necessary. For most seniors and their families, this is a daunting task, and it can be challenging to know where to begin.

Patterson had been recommending the business to residents of The Landing, an assisted living facility where she works as a consultant. Now she can give them a firsthand account of her experience with Changing Spaces. She had them pack up and organize her house, move and unpack into the new home.

“It’s the human touch,” she said. “They treat your objects the same way the owners would. That’s what sets them apart. They’re so sensitive to the human side of the process.”

“It’s a difficult transition,” said Jeannine Bryant, owner of the business. “Sometimes people look forward to the move, sometimes they don’t. We laugh and we cry with our clients.”

Bryant has been the sole owner of Changing Spaces SRS since 2014, when she bought out the other partners. Prior to that they occupied an office in the business incubator in the Entrepreneurship Center at Southeast Community College.

“If you’re going to be serious about it, the incubator is great,” Bryant said. “You write up a business plan, and it forces you to get your act together. It’s a very energizing place.”

The business incubator is designed to provide support for entrepreneurs. Owners have their own offices, shared use of a copier and scanner and access to business coaches. Owners participate in business coaching, refine and develop their business model, and network with other entrepreneurs during their three years in the incubator.

“You surround yourself with other business owners,” Bryant said. “It’s nice to have someone down the hall who you can talk with.”

When Bryant started to work with the previous owners in 2010, they had 20 clients that year. This past year, she served 135 clients. She also has a 21-person staff, including a full-time office manager. She has come a long way in the past few years. She’s not sure they would be where they are today without the help of the Entrepreneurship Center.

“The director told us things we didn’t want to hear,” she said. “He pushed us to hire more employees, to spend more money on marketing. He also guided us toward some of the legal parts of the job. He walked us through stuff that was not our forte.”

She said the office space was helpful, and they took advantage of the shared conference room in the incubator. She knew there was a deadline looming and that they had to stick to it, something they wouldn’t have had if they set up the business in a home or commercial office space.

“We knew we had a three-year deadline to become a real business by then,” she said. “We knew we had that amount of time to get our ducks in a row.”

When they finally did move out of the incubator they had a rude awakening when looking at the high cost of renting a space. Bryant is thankful for those three years to learn, grow and work out the kinks.

“At times I wish I was still in the incubator so someone could tell me what to do next,” Bryant said.

“It’s a great success story,” said Cat Leverett, administrative assistant and business coach in the Entrepreneurship Center.

Leverett said Changing Spaces was busy with clients from the moment they opened an office in the incubator. She said not all businesses are that far in development when they enter the Center, but this one came with a plan.

“Part of the success of Changing Spaces is they had a team in place when they came here,” Leverett said.

She also added that tenants need to realize it takes a minimum of three years to get a business off the ground and start making money.

“We have so many opportunities for people,” Leverett said. “We start with information gathering and determine if you’re ready to start a business. If you’re not solving a problem for someone, it’s not always feasible.”

As for the future of Changing Spaces SRS, Bryant has thought about opening other branches and possibly even franchising the business. However, with two small children as well as the thriving business, she currently has a decent work-life balance.

“Maybe when the kids are older,” she said. “My worst nightmare would be to start opening franchises and the level of service would go down.”

SCC’s Entrepreneurship Center will celebrate its 10th anniversary with a special event at Grata in Lincoln on Nov. 3.

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For more information contact:
Andrea Gallagher Haggar
Marketing Specialist
402-323-3395
ahaggar@southeast.edu