Tim and Michelle Mathison know a lot about cheerleading and high-level, competitive trampoline and tumbling, but they didn’t know what it takes to start a business. "We knew exactly what we wanted to do," Tim Mathison says. "We had no idea how to get there."
On March 1, the Mathisons opened Airborne Academy, a cheer, trampoline and tumbling center in Omaha. "Our primary focus is on lessons and instructions," says Tim Mathison, a former teacher in the Papillion-LaVista School District. "We offer training and classes to show how to properly do the different elements of these sports." In order to secure capital for the start-up business, Mathison worked with Elizabeth Rouse, business consultant at the Nebraska Business Development Center (NBDC), to develop a business plan and financial projections.
"The very day we called, we were able to set an appointment with Elizabeth," Mathison says. "She went through a checklist to show us what we needed, and gave us suggestions and advice regarding what our student-teacher ratios and annual fees needed to be to reach a profit."
Rouse says it was clear Mathison was eager to do whatever he needed to get his business going successfully. "There is usually quite a bit of interaction required to get all the fine points of these documents outlined clearly," she says. "The great thing is that Tim dedicated a lot of time and energy to putting together a sound business plan. So much of the success of our clients is dependent on their willingness to do the work, and Tim did the work."
Mathison says it was helpful to have Rouse’s unbiased opinion. "She was so focused on the numbers while I had a lot of emotion tied into it," he says. "She was able to take that emotion out of the equation and say, ‘Here’s what the numbers tell us.’ She wanted us to succeed, but she also wanted us to know the truth."
One of the most time consuming aspects of the business consulting services NBDC provides is the financial piece, Rouse says. "Identifying numbers that are realistic for the specific markets our clients operate in can be challenging," she says. "Tim and I had several conversations to piece through the particulars of his financials. Again, his willingness and enthusiasm made this process a success." Their joint efforts paid off. "My banker (at American National Bank) and my landlord said it was the best, most thought-out and thorough business plan they’d seen." Mathison says.
"Without Elizabeth and NBDC, that would not have happened." Thanks to his partnership with NBDC, Mathison’s prospective future Olympians can now take to the trampolines and jump for joy.