Diane Surgeon, an attorney with over 20 years of experience, has worked in the service sector for several years. She left a job as a public defender in December 2005, after having researched service businesses and learned about ComForcare Senior Services, a franchise that provides caregivers to meet the home care needs of seniors through companion and hands-on personal care services. Diane always held seniors in the highest esteem, so she decided to contact ComForcare to learn more. She could tell they cared about the wellbeing of their clients and franchisees. Diane bought into the franchise and in January 2006 opened up for business in Lumberton.
ComForcare’s outstanding service quality and strategic marketing helped the business grow quickly. With the rapid growth came pains, including the potential to outgrow its current space. This became a major concern for Diane because moving can be costly and time-consuming for any business. During a Business Success in Tough Times seminar, Diane met Fayetteville State University SBTDC business counselor Ron Duffer.
Diane and Ron quickly met to discuss Diane’s space issues, business planning, loan options, and available grants. They worked to research, find and apply for appropriate loans and grants to expand her business. Ron also reviewed ComForcare’s finances to make sure that all changes would be profitable.
“The SBTDC’s advice was critical because an experienced counselor can say ‘this change may not be the right direction for the business.’ Having an SBTDC expert review is important to keep from making mistakes and to help build a better business,” Diane says.
With the SBTDC’s assistance, ComForcare was approved for a loan and recently received a grant from the NC Rural Center which was based on employment.
Diane is undoubtedly a successful business woman, yet she does not tire when it comes to helping those that may not be able to help themselves. While at the helm of ComForcare and its 50 employees, she also owns The Elder Law Center- Surgeon Law Firm, a law practice that focuses on long-term care education and planning for seniors. In fall 2010, Diane will open an adult day healthcare and eldercare resource center with funding already received with help from the SBTDC.
“The SBTDC knows how to help you achieve your goals by giving guidance and expert advice. Their strong knowledgebase will help your business achieve them.”
Story originally featured in the SBTDC's 2009-10 Annual Report.