GTCC Small Business Center Provides Springboard to Success for Female Entrepreneur

Published on: October 29, 2018
Diane Summerville is founder of New Day Transitions, Inc., a move management firm that helps seniors transition from the homes they have known and loved to a smaller home or retirement community.

Standing at the crossroads of a career she knew and a desire to blaze her own path, Diane Summerville chose the road less traveled when she started her own business. With coaching from Guilford Technical Community College’s Small Business Center, she founded New Day Transitions, Inc., a move management firm that helps seniors transition from the homes they have known and loved to a smaller home or retirement community.

“My background was in journalism and I was coming to a place where I needed to make a decision,” Diane explained. “Do I want to stay or do my own thing?”

It’s a question professionals often ask themselves, and Diane knew it was time to embrace a career transition.

With an idea in mindshe started researching. Diane found the National Association of Senior Move Managers and attended its annual conference to gain a better understanding of the industry. She also started putting together a business plan. During this phase, she discovered the Small Business Center at GTCC and met Director Mark Hagenbuch.

GTCC’s Small Business Center is part of the statewide Small Business Center Network, a community college-funded initiative with a vision to foster and support entrepreneurship, small business and economic development in local communities with an emphasis on assisting startups, early stage and at-risk enterprises.

“Mark was my counselor but was sending me to other people and resources,” she says. “These were people who knew how to run a business.”

Hagenbuch and the Small Business Center gave Diane confidence and resources she needed to launch her business. “They gave me the courage to do it,” she added. “Mark told me, ‘you’ve done enough research. Start!’”

In 2012, Summerville hit the ground running by registering her business with the State of North Carolina and began trading services.

After a few years in business, Summerville was ready to take New Day Transitions to the next level. “We needed to pursue financing and obtain new equipment,” she recalls. That’s when she returned to the Small Business Center for guidance.

“Mark helped me organize and gain a better understanding of my finances,” she added. “He took my vision and turned it into more actionable goals.”

With coaching, Diane identified what she needed for her fledgling enterprise to grow. She developed a business plan to present to financial lenders to secure funding. The Small Business Center provided valuable insights into running a business such as identifying potential clients, compensation practices, cash flow, sales projections and variations between contract and full-time personnel.

Today, New Day Transitions is thriving with nine employees. Diane recently moved her company into Nussbaum Center for Entrepreneurship and has moves going daily – a major goal for her business.

“We are now managing our time more efficiently,” she says. “For every hour that someone is available, we are helping someone.”

For Summerville, taking care of her clients is the most rewarding part of the job. “Our clients are often overwhelmed and afraid. We are in the business of taking away the worry, stress and the physical labor that comes with moving.”

As her business continues to grow, Summerville will continue to seek guidance from the Small Business Center.

“I plan to keep a running conversation with Mark,” she says. “He has helped me see the big picture. I’m GTCC’s biggest fan. If I had it to do over again, I would still pursue what interests me but would have started a business sooner. I’m as happy as I have ever been as a professional.”

GTCC’s Small Business Center operates two offices in the Triad. In Greensboro, the Small Business Center is located in the Nussbaum Center for Entrepreneurship. It also has an office at the Business High Point Chamber of Commerce where counseling is available.

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