Tennille Carter grew up in New Orleans. With a knack for numbers and a take-charge, sociable personality, she dreamed of some day running her own business. When Hurricane Katrina devastated her hometown, she migrated with other refugees to Atlanta, found a job as an accountant at an envelope company, and decided to stay put.
“I liked my job, but ever since I was in high school, I knew I wanted to be my own boss,” she said. “Entrepreneurs just have that different mindset – we’d rather not punch a clock! So I started planning.”
Her employer was supportive, allowing her to work part-time for about eight months to start building a base of clients. In 2007, she started Atlanta Bookkeeping Solutions, LLC, which handles primarily business entities along with some personal accounts.
“I got to a point where my cash flow was okay, but I wanted to take my business to the next level with more advertising to lure bigger, more diverse clients,” she said.
With capital and business counseling from ACE, Carter developed a marketing strategy, handled some operating expenses, and hired two staff members to help with data entry.
“Regular banks just lend you the money without the advisory services, which are extra nice because they’re free and part of the deal!” she says. “I learned so much at one of ACE’s workshops called ‘Planning for Prosperity.’ Those services really help the business grow instead of just getting by and staying at a certain plateau.”
Plus, she made some new friends and helpful contacts.
“Another unique thing I like about ACE is the opportunity for networking,” she said. “Not only does ACE support clients, but clients also work together to develop relationships and help each other. All of this support makes a big difference in a business’s success.”