On 1 July 2024, Business Local became SBDC Regional. While the name has changed, we’re still here providing you with free business advice and support in your area. Find your SBDC Regional provider.

When Melissa Raffan’s career took an unexpected trajectory and she became a small business owner, she was driven by her personal passion for scrapbooking and a desire to do something different.

“The previous owner literally made a joke that I should buy the business. That was in May 2021 and by November I had taken over the shop,” Melissa said.

“I’ve been scrapbooking since I was 15 so it’s a hobby that’s turned into my dream job.”

Scrapbook House, on Marine Terrace in the centre of Geraldton’s business and tourism district, sells scrapbooking supplies and hosts scrapbooking workshops, including school holiday programs, team building activities, birthday parties and ‘lunch and learn’ sessions.

Seeking advice before starting

With no previous experience in owning a business, Melissa, a former events and marketing professional, turned to the free Business Local network in the weeks leading up to her purchase of the business.

An initiative of the SBDC, Business Local is network of skilled business advisers throughout regional WA that offers valuable advice to small business operators at no cost. RSM Business Local provides the service in Geraldton and throughout the Mid West.

Business Local advisers are available for one-on-one appointments, for individualised and confidential small business advice. They also offer group workshops on a range of subjects, including business planning, financial management, taxation, leasing requirements, marketing, social media and business expansion.

Getting the right advice builds confidence and success

Melissa said the advice and guidance she had received from the Business Local network had been integral to her success and gave her the confidence to expand the business beyond being a scrapbooking supplier, to include a range of workshops and events.

“I’ve always wanted to have my own store, but I never thought it was possible. It’s COVID, I’ve never run my own business, I thought what chance have I got?” she said.

“I’ve never had a business before so the advice and help I’ve received from Business Local has been so valuable.”

Practical support to grow and learn

Melissa received help to develop a point of sale system for an online store and also took the opportunity to attend free workshops in social media, marketing, Canva and video promotion.

“The service was really beneficial in the early conversations. They helped me become aware of questions I should ask and things I needed to know before making the purchase and have continued to help me along the way.”

“It’s a fantastic resource for any business owner,” she said.

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Small business stories
06 April 2022