Counseling, SBA-guaranteed loan help Illinois pest management firm scale up
Motivated by a personal tragedy – her cousin was permanently disabled as a child after contracting encephalitis from pigeon guano while playing in a Chicago alley – small business owner Rebecca Fyffe strives to manage pests and wildlife in ways that protect both the environment and public health.
In 2001 at age 24, she took over Landmark Pest Management of Schaumburg, Ill., which provides pest management services throughout the Chicagoland area.
Rebecca struggled to access capital and felt she couldn’t compete against larger firms because of her inability to buy supplies in large enough quantities for volume discounts. She also wanted to scale up, possibly via government contracting, and take on a leadership, rather than operational role, but needed guidance.
Rebecca turned to the Women’s Business Development Center, an SBA partner, and took workshops on lending helped prepare her to apply for an SBA-guaranteed 7(a) loan. She also sought and received assistance from procurement advisors there.
The WBDC also connected Rebecca with Initiative for a Competitive Inner City, an entrepreneurial training program that helps business owners gain skills in professional management. This experience inspired her to transform her growth and succession plans.
After securing an SBA-guaranteed loan worth $369,000, Landmark expanded in 2017 to a free-standing commercial building and warehouse, enabling the firm to offer more competitive pricing and revenue growth. Landmark’s revenue grew by $1 million in 2016 and $1 million again in 2017.
Based on the ICIC and WBDC counseling, Rebecca codified policies, developed key performance indicators, and created procedural manuals allowing Landmark to scale up. She’s on the verge of expanding into new states and becoming a national brand.
Rebecca is most proud of her role in job creation, having taken the company from 18 to 70 full-time employees.
Rebecca was named the 2018 Illinois Small Business Person of the Year and the 2018 National Small Business Person of the Year.