Latte Built - 24-Hour Fitness & Nutrition is the first 24 hour fitness facility in Saipan. Since opening in 2015, Latte Built has been committed to empower and build client awareness to lead a happy and healthy lifestyle. Cutting noted that the COVID-19 pandemic set back the gym financially in 2020 and 2021. They were forced to close down for months. Upon reopening, incorporating increased sanitation protocols added more costs towards their supplies followed by a decline in memberships due to personal hardships from the pandemic and social distancing protocols. And through these challenging times, Cutting kept his employees his top priority and wanted to retain them however he could.
"SBDC is an amazing resource for small business owners. Although we have been in business for 10 years now, I always appreciate the support and encouragement from the SBDC counselors and staff."
Through work with CNMI SBDC, Latte Built received proper guidance with the Paycheck Protection Program, a loan backed by the U.S. Small Business Administration, that helped maintain their employees throughout the pandemic. This also helped Latte Built bridge the gap with SBA and qualify for additional loans to curb the losses caused by the pandemic and economic decline.
Facing job loss during the pandemic, Army Reservist Kaneshi transformed adversity into opportunity. Struggling to meet his family's needs solely through his reservist income, Kaneshi, undeterred by his lack of business experience, sought guidance from an SBDC counselor. His challenges included navigating the complex system that the CNMI has in place in order to establish a small business.
"We started with an idea. The CNMI SBDC helped us talk to the right people to establish our business. We're more confident in ourselves as business owners."
The counselor became Kaneshi's compass, steering him through the complexities of entrepreneurship. Together, they meticulously crafted a business plan. Kaneshi developed a unique business showcasing the unique food of the local Chamorro people in the CNMI.
Tian "Cindy" Wang, a budding entrepreneur crafting handmade clay accessories, found herself grappling with the challenge of boosting revenue and profit in the early stages of her business. Uncertain about the best strategies to navigate this terrain, Cindy turned to an SBDC counselor for guidance.
Some of the challenges she faced included: pricing strategies, marketing her product, and reporting on taxes and other record keeping.
"I came to the SBDC wanting to know more about the services they provided. When I did, I found great help and progress in the growth of my business. After the first session, I already felt like I was pointed in the right direction. I plan on sticking with the SBDC for future guidance and counseling. Through their connections, I have been able to land more consignments, and look forward to where future opportunities take me towards expanding my business even further."
Collaborating closely, Cindy and her counselor meticulously formulated a business plan that became the roadmap for her entrepreneurial journey. The counselor provided valuable insights into market trends, pricing strategies, and identified potential growth avenues for Cindy's unique handmade products.
Armed with a newfound clarity, Cindy implemented the strategies outlined in the business plan. The counselor also directed her towards resources and workshops that enhanced her skills in marketing, product positioning, and financial management. Networking opportunities facilitated by the SBDC allowed Cindy to connect with fellow artisans and potential customers.
As Cindy diligently executed the plan, her business witnessed a positive transformation. Revenue streams diversified, and profit margins improved. The tailored guidance from the SBDC counselor not only equipped Cindy with the tools for immediate success but also empowered her with the knowledge to navigate future challenges. Cindy's story exemplifies the pivotal role SBDCs play in fostering the growth of small businesses, turning uncertainties into success stories in the competitive landscape of entrepreneurship.
Since becoming a client of the CNMI SBDC, Islandry670 has expanded, showcasing its products at SBDC small business nights, the 2023 CNMI Liberation Day Festival Grounds, Taste of the Marianas, and the FlameTree Festival. Islandry670 has landed multiple consignments with 670 Rocksteady Shop, The Shack, Marianas Creations, The Pacific Supply, NextLevel Thrift Shop, Judi's Place, and Marianas Pharmacy.