The BookLady, Exeter
In 2005, Donna Webb came to the Central California Small Business Development Center (CCSBDC) for advice on starting up her own business. As a sales account manager at a major national bookstore, Donna managed a territory of nine California stores. These years of experience provided her with the knowledge and skills to become a small business owner and an independent book sales consultant.
Initially, Donna was interested in selling books and manuals to schools, businesses, and corporate customers at a discount. In 2008, Donna returned to the SBDC pursuing small business certification from the State of California. This move would allow her to target state and local government agencies, providing a high potential for rapid business expansion. After careful planning and with support from the SBDC, Donna successfully launched her new business, The BookLady, in August 2008.
Donna received her State of California small business certification in October 2008. Her first two sales were to Modesto City School and Tulare County Office of Education. Since then, her sales have risen steadily and she has procured contracts from the Tulare, Visalia, Lindsay, and Modesto Unified School Districts, ten State prisons, the State Water Quality Control Board, and many more. Most recently, Donna obtained her federal contractor certification.
Throughout the process of starting her business, Donna frequently visited the SBDC for advice and guidance on various other topics, such as financing, marketing assistance, and networking opportunities. In July 2009, The BookLady was able to report remarkable sales and a healthy net profit for the first year in business.
On a recent follow-up conversation with Donna, she stated, “The help I received from [SBDC business counselor] Gil [Jaramillo] and the SBDC has been invaluable in building my business. No question or concern was left unaddressed. I would highly recommend to anyone who is interested in starting their own business to start with SBDC first.”