CDC Helps Local Man Move From Employee To Entrepreneur

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Mike Mather, left, with his wife Trish Burke in front of one of his signs. Mather purchased Georgian Signs in the spring with the help of the CDC. Supplied Photo

Mike Mather had a successful career in the automotive service industry, but something was missing. He really wanted to make a difference in peoples lives, and feel the satisfaction that comes from doing something you believe in. “I’ve been fortunate enough to recognize that no matter your chosen occupation, it really is all about people. At the end of the day, we often spend more time at work than we do with our own families, so you’d better make that time count,” explains Mike.

After some friends took the leap, Mike began exploring the world of entrepreneurship and liked what he was discovering. He thought up and discarded many business ideas, before eventually coming to the realization that buying an existing business was probably the smartest thing he could do. But how?

That’s when the Community Futures’ BizLink program came into the picture. “At the time, I wasn’t sure what kind of business I would be best suited for, but I knew it had to be about the people. The Community Development Corp. (CDC) in Orillia had been incredibly helpful in getting my friend’s small business started, so when it was time to begin looking for resources, I knew the CDC was the place to start,” explained Mike.

Fortunately, when the then-owner of Georgian Mobile Signs decided to sell their business, they also headed to the CDC, and a BizLink match was born. “Initially I knew very little about the company, but as I grew to understand the nature of the business, I began to realize it aligned quite well with my values and interests. And with a few changes of my own, it could become something that involves my family,” says Mike.

He adds, “With the CDC’s help I was able to break down and understand the financials of the company, apply a realistic valuation to the purchase price and structure a deal the way I wanted. Their input and guidance gave me the confidence to move forward knowing I was making an educated decision based on risks I could understand and manage.”

Mike and his family have been the proud owners of Georgian Mobile Signs since the spring of 2021, and are enjoying the learning curve, work, and pride of ownership that comes with running your own business. “My focus since taking control of the company has been to increase efficiencies while providing the same great service people have come to expect from Georgian Mobile Signs.”

“There could have been two possible outcomes had I not had the support of the CDC: I would have done nothing, stayed complacent and not chosen a life of self-employment; or I may have ended up making costly mistakes based on uneducated choices. One thing is for sure, guidance from the CDC and the tools offered by the BizLink program are major contributors to my successful transition from employee to entrepreneur,” boasts Mike.

“To anyone considering self employment, believe in yourself! Contact the CDC in Orillia; they can help you get started on your journey to awesomeness.”

For more information about Georgian Mobile Signs visit www.georgianmobilesigns.com or contact (705) 737-1275.

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