Success Stories

Duggan Tax Service

Mary Duggan, CPA and Owner
20 Ninth Street, NE
Mason City, IA 50401 (Cerro Gordo County)
641.423.4431 or 641.424.6197

Description of the Business

Most people don’t enjoy spending their valuable free time preparing their income tax returns or doing the bookkeeping for their small business. Mary Duggan, owner of Duggan Tax Service, offers the solutions for these problems plus two additional precious commodities – time and peace of mind. In January 2007, Duggan acquired the existing client base of Jess Harris Tax Service (a very reputable business in North Iowa) after Harris retired from a 30 year career with the Internal Revenue Service and 17 years in private tax practice. Prior to opening Duggan Tax Service, Mary worked for several other local accounting firms.

SBDC Approach

Duggan was referred to the North Iowa Area SBDC by her banker after her business start-up loan was declined due to her poor credit. The North Iowa Area SBDC was able to help Duggan develop a business plan and also look for alternative sources of funding.

Duggan was informed of the NIACC John Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Center (JPEC) Revolving Loan Fund opportunity. The NIACC JPEC was awarded a Rural Enterprise Grant from the United States Department of Agriculture Rural Development to create the revolving loan fund. The program is designed to assist with new business development or the expansion of existing businesses. In March 2007, Duggan Tax Service received $10,000 in funding from NIACC JPEC Revolving Loan Fund.

Results of SBDC Assistance

Since Duggan’s first visit to the North Iowa Area SBDC, she has completed a very thorough business plan and received funding to advance her business. With the acquisition of Jess Harris Tax Service, another much needed accounting business will thrive in North Iowa. Mary has also graciously offered to mentor other aspiring entrepreneurs and several referrals have been made by the North Iowa Area SBDC to Duggan Tax Service as start-up entrepreneurs are searching for an accountant to assist them in developing their bookkeeping system. Ultimately, the North Iowa Area SBDC provided Duggan an opportunity to reinstate her CPA designation that had lapsed due to personal issues and fulfill her dream of opening her own business.

Quote from Client

The guidance and support I have received from the NIACC JPEC and SBDC has been invaluable throughout the acquisition process. The loan allows me to start my business with a strong financial foundation.” – Mary Duggan

Latham Hi-Tech Hybrids LLC

Description of the Business:

Corn is big business in Iowa, but high technology corn is becoming an even bigger business. Third generation seedman John, along with wife Shannon and brother Chris Latham seized an opportunity to begin supplying corn seed with multiple traits to farmers across the upper Midwest and formed Latham Hi-Tech Hybrids in 2004. With a motto of “brings world-class technology home,” they have become one of Iowa’s fastest growing family-owned seed companies. In April 2006, the Lathams turned to the SBDC of North Iowa for help accelerating and preparing financially for rapid growth.

SBDC Approach:

In Mason City, the SBDC is housed inside the John Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Center on the North Iowa Community College Campus. This setting offers huge opportunities for collaboration with other JPEC members, including the North Iowa Business Accelerator, Iowa Workforce Development, North Iowa Venture Capital Fund and Wellmark Community Venture Fund. By utilizing all the assets at its disposal, Ted Bair, the SBDC Director was able to help John, Shannon and Chris Latham refine all aspects of their business plan- marketing, financial and operations. He also critiqued and helped them prepare their presentation for the Venture Network of Iowa and submission of their business plan to the statewide Pappajohn Business Plan Competition contest.

Results from SBDC Assistance:

    • Successfully penetrating a five state region
    • Met sales plan for 2006; exceeding plan in 2007 (years run Sept to Sept) with continuing triple digit percentage increases.
    • Presented to the Venture Network of Iowa, drawing the interest of Venture Capitalists and Angel Investors
    • Placed 3rd out of 87 entrants statewide in the Pappajohn Business Plan Competition, winning a $10,000 prize
    • Awarded $100,000 in funding from the Wellmark Community Venture Fund
    • Accelerated hiring plan. On track to add at least 1 new sales pro-rep employee every other month in 2007 with ultimate goal of 45 employees by 2010 earning in excess of $75,000 annually.

Quote from Client:

We faced the same problems every new company faces. Although, we had the background, the connections and the education to be successful, we needed to supplement it with the skill and experience of the North Iowa SBDC in the Pappajohn Center at NIACC. We were given access to capital sources and to a network of specialists that shaved years off the execution of our business plan. No one did the work for us, but because of the NIACC-JPEC SBDC, the work we did was much more effective.” John Latham, President, Latham Hi-Tech Hybrids LLC, Sheffield, Franklin County, Iowa