Success Story: Marine Corps Vet Soars as Emerging Leader

St. Louis District Office  - August 2019

u s small business administration

Success Story: SBA Emerging Leaders Program Helps Veteran Soar to New Heights

Synergy Medical founder Jeremy Buchheit prepares for a presentation

Jeremy Buchheit prepares for a presentation. Photo provided by Ted Sloan.

 

Situation:

Jeremy Buchheit took a rather unconventional route into business when he started Synergy Medical in 2005. The U.S. Marine Corps veteran had no experience in his chosen industry, no customers to call upon and worst of all, no products to sell. But by 2007 he had designed, developed and mass produced 18 products devoted to the prevention of cross contamination and protection of patient care advocates.

In 2007, Buchheit’s products were voted #1 over five other international conglomerates, including the top three Fortune 500 firms in the industry. He contracted with four international manufacturing facilities, developed and maintained a supply chain strategy and streamlined these products to 25-plus healthcare facilities in a six-state region. This move not only gave him a platform from which to work, but access to advanced technologies in the medical marketplace.  With an eye on the future, at the 10-year mark, Buchheit began pursuing additional training and guidance on how to scale his business to the next level.

SBA Solution:

At just the time the Synergy Medical founder was in search of a new growth strategy, the SBA office in St. Louis was recruiting participants for an advanced executive training program that targets small businesses poised for growth in emerging markets.

“Out of the blue I was contacted by Angie Wells from the SBA about the Emerging Leaders program. It sounded like a lot of work but I was sold,” said Buchheit. 

The SBA’s Emerging Leaders program provides free entrepreneurship education and training to executives of small businesses that are potential job creators. The program includes nearly 100 hours of classroom time. Participants gain access to a network of experienced coaches and mentors that includes peers, city leaders, and the financial community. The connections they develop, partnered with specialized workshops, equip graduates with the tools needed to build sustainable businesses that promote economic development in their communities. 

Outcome:

Graduation from the Emerging Leaders program helped Buchheit shift his focus from the daily activities of the business to planning and executing a strategic growth plan.

“It helped me prioritize things that are important and things that should be delegated. I learned a great deal about all aspects of business,” he said.

The course required each student to develop a three-year growth plan, which he put into place immediately with great results.

“From 2017 to 2018 we increased our sales by 62 percent,” said Buchheit. “And for 2019 we are already up by 40 percent.”

Buchheit continues to participate in the Emerging Leader’s program as a class mentor. His enthusiasm for the program, along with his savvy implementation of its lessons, helped earn him recognition as the 2019 SBA St. Louis Small Business Person of the Year.

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