“SBDC is a one stop shop. I was able to get assistance in growth strategies, marketing, social media, HR, financial stability and succession planning. It’s the best resource for any small business. I 100% recommend the SBDC!”
Growing up, Margaret had undiagnosed dyslexia which made it challenging for her to be in school and is the reason she was not able to finish college. In order to work with her dyslexia, she developed systems and processes to help her organize her life which gave her the talent she uses today in her business. It was not until 2012 that she was finally able to hire her first employee, Katie Carr. From there her business kept growing to where it is today.
Celebrating 30 years in business in 2023, Changing Places is a pioneer in its industry, and has influenced and been the model for many other businesses owners. Changing Places provides moving, organizing, staging & design, estate resolution, senior rightsizing, and home renovation & remodeling services.
Their award winning team brings peace of mind and beauty as they guide clients through life’s transitions whether it is a complicated move, organizing cluttered areas, helping “right-size” or design new spaces.
They recycle or reuse the majority of the items from their projects, donating to many organizations like
Make it Home and even hand hold special pieces like artwork and pianos, making sure they find the best new homes.
Margaret Walsh started working with the Marin SBDC in 2014 around the time she was diagnosed with
her first bout of cancer. Her business finally was at a stable place where she could start investing into
her business and she needed help growing it. She also needed advice on how to maneuver the business if she could not be as involved (while she did chemotherapy and regained strength). She was initially connected to SBDC Advisor Robert Toering and then later over the years worked with SBDC Advisors, Chana Anderson, Melissa Sanchez, Stephanie Koehler, Bill Ross and Paul Bozzo. She needed support in financial management, cash flow management, strategic goals, growth, marketing, HR, social media and succession planning,
SBDC Advisor Robert Toering worked with Margaret on her financials, getting clear on her pricing models, tracking her P&L and cash flow, profitability models, operational streamlining, employee incentives and finding tools and systems to help her business be more efficient. Robert helped Margaret
understand how to create clear goals and strategies for growth and stability and what tools she needed to implement those actions especially as she stepped away to heal and let her employee take over. Robert was like a CFO advisor for Margaret helping her make sound decisions in the growth of her
SBDC Advisor Chana Anderson helped with all aspects of HR: employee handbook creation, rules and
regulations, legal compliance, recruiting and hiring new employees, learning how to manage and shift
underperforming employees, how to properly handle overtime payments, how to manage contractors
versus employees, incentives and bonuses for employees, and how to build a loyal team.
SBDC Advisor Melissa Sanchez took over the HR assistance for Chana and works on compensation
packages, hiring, training for employees, and creating job descriptions that attract the right people.
Melissa also assisted with general business support and marketing.
SBDC Advisor Stephanie Koehler assisted their newly hired marketing person with social media tips and helped Changing Places expand their social mediapresence, creating a content calendar and schedule, videos for client attraction and retention as well as for their 30 year anniversary celebratory campaign, advertisement campaigns, website content and other aspects to reaching potential clients online.
SBDC Advisor Bill Ross assisted with SEO, google my business, keyword creation the increase SEO and finding tools to assist with project management.
SBDC Advisor Paul Bozzo recently started working with Margaret on succession planning, franchising
options as well as expansion.
During the pandemic, we helped them get their PPP loans and EIDL Advance.
- Grew business from one person to a team of 20 (7 full time and 13 part time)
- Grew from $400,000 to over $2,000,000 in revenues
- Been in business 30 years
- Expanded office and in process of opening another office in Silicon Valley
- Donates to organizations giving back a proceed of her revenues
- Has a consistent and loyal team and is considering employee ownership
- Pandemic funding of $10K EIDL Advance and $200K PPP loans
Changing Places believes in giving back and a portion of their proceeds as well as personnel time
volunteering to organizations helping with homelessness, dyslexia, women coming out of domestic
violence situations and research for celiac disease.