Sandy, Oregon Woman Opens Oasis Senior Advisors with Help from the SBDC and FranNet
As many people do, Breanna Nickila geared her education toward a career in corporate America. After starting on her MBA, however, she began to realize her life might point in another direction, as the allure of business ownership and the struggle to find a quality job in eastern Portland created a new opportunity. Ultimately, her path landed her as one of the newest franchisees with Oasis Senior Advisors, a senior care advising company.
Nickila, a graduate of Portland State University, initially delayed her leap into the entrepreneurial world as she stayed at home for 11 years to raise her daughter. What she realized is that corporate life had changed and that her true calling was that of a business owner.
“I never really wanted to go the corporate route,” said Nickila. “My Dad owned his own business and he was very adamant that I get an education to enable me to use my mind to advance in the business world. Working around his office as a young girl, I saw the relationships he developed and that really stuck with me.”
Starting her research, Nickila found a niche that seemed to be missing in her community – that of a drive-thru coffee shop. She quickly realized the expense of such a venture, but she engaged the services of the Gresham, Oregon Small Business Development Center (SBDC) to help her understand any funding opportunities available. Nickila met with Kedma Ough of the Gresham SBDC, who advised her of her options – and offered one other piece of advice.
“Kedma asked me if I was willing to slow down,” explained Nickila. “I knew what I wanted, but I also knew I had to make the right decision. Kedma told me about FranNet and how they can help me with additional research to explore other business options.”
“We see a lot of really eager entrepreneurs coming through our office,” said Ough. “We’re here to advise them on the best path for them individually, because no two people or situations are alike. In getting to know Breanna, I saw an opportunity for her in franchising and connected her with the right resources.”
Nickila soon after met with Blair Nicol, owner of FranNet-Pacific Northwest, where she was “blown away by the meeting,” as Nickila described. “It was really an ‘aha’ moment for me, as I knew I didn’t have a lot of experience and that was scary. But I felt I was in really good hands with Blair.”
FranNet’s Nicol works with would-be entrepreneurs to aid in their search for a franchise business, and sort through the abundance of information available and steps necessary to open a business. Working through Nicol, Nickila took a personal franchise assessment (PFA), a sort of personality test of her business acumen. The assessment looks at a person from many facets, including focusing on their behavior profile, risk tolerance and financial background. These attributes are combined with what FranNet has learned in the marketplace over the 25 years it’s been in business to identify franchises in which Nickila would do well.
Having never considered franchising, Nickila said that Nicol presented her with three different franchises to consider based on her unique profile. She saw the opportunity with Oasis Senior Advisors and began her due diligence.
“The more I learned about Oasis, the more excited I became. From the marketing support to the opportunity to support seniors and their families in need, it was a really great fit for me,” said Nickila. “The placement and advising process is so professional, and it allows me to get to know my community very intimately.”
She was able to use her 401-k to fund her new business, which allowed her to keep her overhead down by not taking on the extra burden of a conventional loan. What some people might see as a risk in going into business for themselves, she finds herself more secure knowing that her hard work will pay off.
“Even my kids have noticed how much more of a ‘take charge’ person I am,” quipped Nickila. “Thanks to Blair and Kedma for pointing me in the right direction. I’m so glad they had this process in place – it was essentially down to a science that I was able to follow and believe in.”
About FranNet: FranNet is North America’s most respected leader in matching individuals with franchise opportunities. Based in Louisville, Ky., FranNet has more than 100 consultants across North America and Europe who use a proprietary profiling and consultative process to determine a business model unique to each client’s goals, skill sets and interests, and have matched thousands of entrepreneurs to rewarding small business opportunities. FranNet has been recognized by INC magazine as one of the top 500 fastest growing private companies in America for the last five years.