Karen Peabody, the owner of KLP Realty, LLC and Forgewell Solutions, is a counselor/therapist with a practice that specializes in working with clients with trauma and substance abuse issues. She has been counseling for 20 years and at the time she connected with SCORE, she was renting space in an office condominium complex in West Bridgewater, MA. Karen learned that her landlord was interested in selling the condo unit. Her question for SCORE was should she/could she buy the condo unit and become a landlord for other counselors.
While an excellent counselor, Karen had limited business acumen and was easily overwhelmed by numbers. The first assistance SCORE mentor Frank Callahan brought was help with cash flow projections. The current landlord had limited structure for renting space. Tenants could rent space by the day on an as-needed basis with no lease or commitment. Karen did the research to see what competitive office pricing was in that market and then discussed this with her SCORE mentor. They both agreed for this business initiative to work and for her to obtain financing to ensure long-term success, she had to lock-in her tenants with a lease. After the initial competitive analysis, it was clear that Karen could raise the current rents and remain competitive in the area. The cash flow projections showed a positive cash flow on an estimated loan with only 80% occupancy.
Karen brought these projections to her bank and received the financing to purchase the condominium. Karen informed the existing tenants that the rents would be going up and leases would be required, which resulted in her losing some part-time tenants. The silver lining in this set-back was that it enabled her to recruit tenants with a general focus on counseling and psychotherapy, which gave the office a look and feel of a professional counseling cooperative.
While working with Karen on financing her office space, she often mentioned that she does a lot of pro bono coaching for new counselors who are trying to establish a practice. When asked if this practice development coaching was something she would like to expand into and be compensated for, her response was an overwhelming, yes! With that, she worked with her SCORE mentor to build her personal brand with a new web site promoting her expertise and availability for lectures and as a conference speaker. To date, she has booked speaking engagements for two conferences. She has created a blog and plans to launch her individual coaching sessions this summer.