When Sara Zessar first began meeting with consultants and attending programs at the Denver SBDC in 2013, she had a company name and not much else. A former high school counselor, Zessar wanted to start a college consulting practice to assist high school students with the college search and admissions process, but she had no experience in the business world. “I knew what I wanted to do, but I needed a lot of help in creating a viable business, especially in regards to marketing,” Zessar said.
Zessar began meeting with consultants at the Denver Metro SBDC in June 2013. Wendy King, a marketing consultant with the Denver Metro SBDC, advised her on developing a website and putting together marketing materials to share with potential clients. Although a friend had offered to teach Zessar how to design a website, the consultant encouraged her to pay someone to do her website – and said Zessar’s time would be better spent building her business.
“I definitely don’t think I’d be where I am today if not for the SBDC consultant – her guidance, assistance, and support have been paramount to helping me build my business, and I look forward to continuing to work with her in the future,” Zessar said.
In order to round out her consulting sessions and build her network, Zessar also took advantage of SBDC classes. She focused on digital marketing through programming.
In the summer of 2015, Zessar brought on an associate college consultant to accommodate growing demand. To date, 90% of Discovery College Consulting’s students have received college merit scholarships of up to $33,000.
Zessar’s company is now four years old, and, with the SBDC’s help, it has become a very successful business. Zessar has worked with over 90 students (and worked with hundreds as a high school counselor) and has helped them gain admission to more than 100 colleges.