BSR Wisdom

  • Encore Entrepreneurs: Jim Newcomer

    Name of the Business: Balance Breakthrough Coaching

    What the Business Does: Coaching services for “businesses with purpose,” focusing on helping sustainable, socially- and/or locally-minded companies succeed.  “My calling is to support clients in succeeding: retaining their commitment, surviving as a business, and making a living.”

    What makes it successful: Jim has a passion for learning.  Ha earned three degrees by the time he was 40.  Despite years of experience, he is constantly refining his vision while gaining new skills.  Webinars, guidance from the Small Business Development Center, and a Master’s Degree in Organizational Systems Renewal all contributed to enhancing his skills.

    Re-invention, re-creation, and re-imagination: Jim is a Portland, Oregon native.  He spent decades exploring the globe, serving overseas a as Foreign Service Officer, teaching international relations at three state universities, and doing community organizing, he came back home and turned to a whole new world – business.

    He tried to start a company and failed many times.  But he learned from every mistake, and began to refine his vision, focusing ever more narrowly on environmentalism and sustainability.  His last “real company” produced flooring made from reclaimed materials, the company was bought-out, and Jim stayed on as a marketing manager, and business boomed.

    During this time he earned his Master’s degree, and worked briefly has a business coach.  He then found his niche as the face behind Balance Breakthrough Coaching, where Jim uses his education, experience  – including the failures! – and passion for sustainability and social activism.  He also teaches as an adjunct faculty member at Marylhurst University.

    When asked why he was drawn to Encore Entrepreneurship, Jim gave the standard answer: “I’ve always needed to make a living.”  Despite having social security and a little retirement from teaching, he knew he couldn’t right away.

    But money was not the only motivator; Jim was passionate about what he was doing.

    BSR Take Away: Jim is still exploring, even though things have fallen into place.  One of his coaching clients is an energy healer and wants to work with businesses in systemic transformation.   It is exciting to see how this next chapter turns out.


  • Short Free Webinar on Encore Entrepreneurship

    On Friday January 13 at 1:00 to 1:30 pm SBDC is offering a half hour FREE short webinar on our coming Encore Business Builders Class.

    It will be really great information if you are considering an Encore enterprise.

    It is free, but you do need to register with Eventbrite.

    Here is the link

    Hope you can join us!!!

    Jackie B

  • Encore Entrepreneurs: Jim Staicoff’s story

    Name of business:  Staicoff Design Company and Paper Paint Press, two businesses uniquely intertwined.

    What the businesses do:  Staicoff Design Company is an interior design firm focused on the guest experience in hotels and restaurants.  Paper Paint Press is an outlet for Jim’s creative bent and offers “distinctive, high-quality,  art-inspired wall products.” All made in Oregon, the wall coverings are printed on the finest paper and use environmentally friendly ink.  Bonus: Staicoff Design Company is often able to use Paper Paint Press products in the interiors they design, and clients have loved them.

    Success features: Jim has been an interior designer for 34 years.  When the recession hit, he ended up out of work and on unemployment, like many creatives.  “It was demeaning,” he admits.  “I was ‘unhireable’ … with 30 years of experience!  Firms in the business just weren’t willing to hire someone with that much experience.”  But he was able to rebuild, and offers unique products.  Interior designers are his main markets and, he already has a network he can call upon.

    Re-invention, re-creation, and re-imagination: Jim has had this business under a variety of names since 2000.  His work was very highly regarded and had won awards, but then the recession hit.  “It was horrifying,” Jim says.  But the recession gave him the chance to approach his work from a whole new angle.  Then he started Paper Paint Press.

    “I’m a modernist in terms of design aesthetic, but I also loves patterns and textures,” he explains.  He had a lot of ideas that weren’t available on the market, and thought, “If I have all these ideas, why shouldn’t I see if I can makes some money?”

    He began by selling 35 custom digital wallpaper design and has since started using a wood patterns that is painted over to crate a gorgeous undulating effect.  “There’s nothing else like it on the market! he says proudly.  He’s also made use of his network by “licensing” designs created by his artist friends; “I hire them up front, but they still get a percentage of every sale,” Jim explains.  “I’m the ‘creative director,’ and then they respond to my ideas with something creative and clever that I think will sell.”

    Jim was able to keep the design firm throughout the recession, and today his is the proud owner of two successful businesses.  Staicoff Design Company focuses on creating unique, interesting environments  in hotels and restaurants; Jim has found is “deep and narrow niche” in the hospitality industry.  And he loves being able to use Paper Paint Press products in some of his spaces.  “I always tell the client that this is my product, and they don’t have to use it.”  But the response so far has been overwhelmingly  positive, and the ability to specify to specify his personal design products has the benefit of creating build-in sales.

    BSR Take Away: Jim’s story is the exception of the “mission creep” warning.  He was able to create two lucrative businesses that revolve around his deep and narrow niche.




  • Encore Entrepreneurs: Douglas Lundrigan’s Story

    Lighthouse Business Solutions, owned by Douglas Lundrigan, aged 51.  His does business consulting, coaching, training, and development.

    What makes it successful:

    “Gaining a deeper understanding of the generational cultural differences; the drain of business wisdom going on as Boomers retire; and the new methods of doing business that work versus some of the old ways that don’t work.”  Meaning, Doug is developing an ever-deeper niche for himself.

    Re-Invention, Re-Creation, and Re-Imagination:

    Since age 15, Doug has been an entrepreneur.  He started a profitable delivering soda pop door-to-door.  He also had ice cream, lawn care and peephole installation businesses before graduating from college.  He spent over two decades in the pharmaceutical industry.  He has opened a few other businesses on the side with his wife.

    When Doug learned the company he was working for was shrinking, he started to do some research, investigating franchises and such.  He worked to find his unique value, as well as something has had a passion for, was good at, and was needed in the market.  He got input from family and friends, recognizing that “we don’t always see ourselves clearly.”

    It came down to a process of elimination.  His favorite position was in the training department, which he did for 26 years.  He then made the decision to open Lighthouse Business Solutions as a training and development consulting company.

    While Doug was not 100% on this decision, he learned decisiveness is the number one business skill that determines success.  “Even if this isn’t the best thing I can do, I’m going to commit to it.  Put your blinders on! Don’t get detracted!”  He adds, “Unless something comes up that makes it impossible, discipline you mind to not be distracted by anything else.”

    Failure and risk come with starting a business.  And, if there is no other income you have to find something that generates income quickly, Doug acknowledges.  Most businesses won’t get out of the red for two years.  Doug recommends getting started on the ground work right away, which can take a few months or possibly years.  Think about when you want to retire, do a comparative analysis, define your advantage, get some training from a small business development center.  Do as much of this as possible before investing one dime.

    “One of the things I advocate is that you’ve got to define your niche,” Doug says.  More and more, Doug is gearing his work towards and specific population: his own generation.  He notices that Baby Boomers are sometimes set in their ways.  It helps to be open and willing to learn new things, including the new leadership culture of the 21st century. “There’s a steep learning curve,” Doug says.  He advocates for finding the intersection between learning new skills and using what you have, although skills from the previous job won’t be applied in the same way.

    Doug’s take away is despite the years of groundwork he did prior to launching is business, it still didn’t seem to be enough.  Another point is understand the cultural change in the business world. Business today is not as it was before when we all started our careers. There is much more automation and much more need for emotional intelligence or great human interaction and that is what Doug teaches through Lighthouse. He is pleased with his success and sees that human interaction and emotional intelligence are much needed skills for any business, and entrepreneur and any 21st Century business.






  • Encore Entrepreneurs: Mary Hurst’s Story

    Mary Hurst, age 60, founder of Mary Hurst Couture Jewelry.

    Mary Hurst designs of crates unique contemporary Celtic jewelry for art galleries, boutiques, and special events.

    What makes her business successful?

    “My success now has to do with maintaining relationships with my customers and creating one-of-a-kind pieces with perceived artistic value,” is how Mary describes her business.  She is also working at increasing her online and in-person sales.

    “Work in progress”

    Mary emigrated from Ireland (County Tipperary) at the age of 19, and had had a huge variety of careers over the years.  She has managed small businesses, selling real estate, and teaching English.  But she always knew something about herself: “I have always enjoyed working with art and working with my hands.”  Mary and her husband relocated to Portland, and she started making jewelry because there was a bead store near her house!  There was no grand plan to sell her jewelry at first, but she was asked to consign her pieces.  Nine years later she still consigns her jewelry, and also has a huge holiday show, Champagne and Truffles.

    A few years ago, Mary hired someone to design a new website and create a Facebook page that has regular posts, as recommended by Jackie.  She now works with a sales rep, who helps get her jewelry into shops and galleries.  Her income increased.  Her next focus is on Pinterest and more direct sales.

    Re-Invention, Re-Vision, Re-Creation

    Mary and Jackie continue working together to increase her person-to-person sales, and also to move away from consignment sales. She would like to be more reliant on her own marketing.  “I would like to build my reputation as the go-to Celtic jewelry designer with a focus on Celtic weddings,” she says.  Mary is on track with honing her deep and narrow niche.



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