jrCEOs started out as an online program, with a website that provided an online forum, videos, games and educational tools for young entrepreneurs. In 2013, jrCEO’s launched a pilot summer camp program with a local school, which was so successful that Los Angeles Alliance of Boys & Girls Club brought the curriculum to two clubs in January 2014. As the program began to grow more than anticipated, Moore knew he needed to change his business plan to adapt for the future. In early 2014, he visited the Small Business Development Center hosted by Pacific Coast Regional to receive help in obtaining a working capital loan.
During their one-on-one meetings, PCR SBDC Business Advisor Karen Carr-Crawford helped Moore reassess his original target market, revise his business plan to reflect a new business model, format his loan application package to appeal to lenders and consequently, identify possible lenders.
Think Like a Banker
“Karen helped me with the structure and format of the business plan, as well as making sure the language I was using was the same language lenders would be used to seeing,” Moore explains. She also walked Moore through the process of creating financial statements in a format that would most appeal to lenders.
Be Ready for Change
While Moore was working with Carr-Crawford to update his business plan another opportunity arose. “Our business plan initially focused on our online entity, but through partnering with [The Los Angeles Alliance of Boys & Girls Clubs], we have the opportunity to open a brick-and-mortar school inside of our five-year plan,” Moore says. As jrCEOs’ business model evolves, Carr-Crawford is assuring the company’s business plan evolves with it. “She’s been great at making sure that as we advance and as things continue to come up, we cross our t’s and dot our i’s,” Moore says. “She helps us to be aware of cause and effect— whether it’s a particular market analysis, strategy or marketing plan.”
“Karen has helped us out by pushing and asking different questions that open up the floodgates of ‘I didn’t think about it in that way’ or ‘What if we did this?’ ” Moore says. As a result of Carr-Crawford’s urging, he has since broadened the business’ scope beyond its original target market. “When we first started, it was more narrowly focused on the urban community—not in terms of geography but in terms of lifestyle,” he explains. “But [Karen showed us that] because our product literally works for any kid aged 10 to 17, we have the opportunity to reach everybody in that space.”
Get an Outside Opinion
Moore values the impartial advice that Carr-Crawford provided. “It’s been a very cool partnership to be able to brainstorm back and forth with someone; Karen has been exceptionally beneficial for us. When you are in a space of second-guessing yourself, it’s been great to sit down with an advisor, work the plan out and get tips and advice to help move it forward,” he says.
Moore is currently meeting with lenders to obtain a loan, and hopes to get one soon. “It will help us develop our other products to make sure we’re moving forward as quickly as we’d like.” In the meantime, however, he’s not standing still. jrCEOs now has three employees—a Director of Education, Director of Sales and a Special Events Manager—and has generated $45,000 in sales thanks to an agreement to provide afterschool programs and summer camps in partnership with The Los Angeles Alliance of Boys & Girls Clubs.
The first summer camp took place in June 2014; Moore is also working on developing a jrCEOs app that will gamify the program. Ultimately, his goal is to expand to major cities nationwide, then launch jrCEOs programs internationally.
Moore is dedicated to opening children’s minds. “We want to show them that if they work hard enough and believe in themselves, they can achieve any level of success,” he explains. “It’s about being the CEO of your own destiny.” Moore is becoming a more effective CEO, thanks to the PCR SBDC’s help.
“It’s about being the CEO of your own destiny.” –Marcus Moore, Founder/CEO/CCO jrCEOs