People opening small businesses for the first time sometimes describe feeling like a new parent: There are great joys as well as unfamiliar challenges. In both cases, seeking the wisdom of experience can prove to be prudent.
So when Cheryle Lakes decided to start a venture to serve expecting mothers, Blooming Baby 4D, it was only natural she wasn’t always sure what to do. But she was glad she could pick up the phone and call an advisor with Carolina Small Business Development Fund for assistance.
“The folks at Carolina Small Business guided me through the entire process,” Lakes said. “I felt comfortable asking the hard questions and there was always someone available to answer them.”
Often, that someone was Angela Milton, who has been training aspiring small business owners like Lakes for more than a decade. Generous support from funders such as Wells Fargo makes it possible.
“There is nothing more rewarding than seeing a person like Cheryle succeed,” Milton said. “And it is wonderful that her success is helping people in her community have healthy babies.”
Blooming Baby 4D offers state-of-the-art elective ultrasounds, event space for baby showers and other amenities unique to the area. As a lead sonographer at Duke Hospital, and married mother of three, Lakes came to embrace giving peace of mind and comfort to women during pregnancy.
“We are the only studio of this type within a 40-mile radius of Wake Forest, North Carolina,” Lakes said. “And we offer live streaming services for out-of-town families.”
Lakes, who earned a full athletic scholarship to study biology and chemistry at Columbus State University, points to her business coach for helping to make her entrepreneurial dream come true. Milton and her colleagues assisted with Lakes’ business plan, projections worksheet – and offered encouragement to persevere in the face of uncertainty.
“This experience was much different from one that you would receive at a traditional bank,” she said. “They believed in me sometimes when I didn’t believe in myself. I highly recommend Carolina Small Business Development Fund.”
After celebrating Blooming Baby 4D’s first birthday on October 1 of 2018, the future looks bright for the business. Lakes plans to hire two part-time ultrasound technologists and a full-time receptionist.
“This experience was much different from one that you would receive at a traditional bank. They believed in me sometimes when I didn’t believe in myself. I highly recommend Carolina Small Business Development Fund. ” - Cheryle Lakes