This story was originally published on norcalsbdc.org.
When Deanna Hurn opened Fairfield’s Miracle Math Coaching 12 years ago, she was only in her mid-twenties. She did not know the first thing about running her own business.
“All I knew is that I wanted to make a difference,” Deanna remembered. “I had all these ideas that were all over the place, but how do I bring clarity and focus and structure and strategy to my thoughts?”
She and her husband Diondre had just welcomed their first child. A math tutor since high school, Deanna had a vision for her Miracle Math Coaching. She wanted to develop a program inspired by brain-based learning. At the time, she was the only academic coach and working entirely out of her home.
Reaching out for help
Deanna reached out to the Solano SBDC in that first year. Shortly after connecting with an advisor, she enrolled in Solano’s NxLevel program for entrepreneurs. Through the 11-week program, Deanna developed and presented a comprehensive business plan for her academic coaching business. This plan helped her grow from an at-home entrepreneur to the founder and president of a company that now has nearly 20 tutors and hundreds of students.
“NxLevel made such a huge difference in my confidence and my knowledge and understanding in what it was going to take for me to be successful in business,” she said. “The SBDC really provided me with that village of support and wraparound care that business owners need.”
Less than two years later, Deanna moved her business to its current location in downtown Fairfield. She hired other tutors, or coaches, to join her. All coaches receive training in Miracle Math’s brain-based learning model. They also create individualized learning plans for all of their students.
All of our coaches stayed with us those first three or four years. The retention was unheard of. They were part of a mission, part of a purpose, there was something here that was beyond a job for them. They became part of the fibers that made Miracle Math. We have really established roots here because we had such a solid foundation those first years.
Deanna decided early on the SBDC would always be a part of her business. It is a commitment she has never wavered from. In 2017, the Small Business Administration, which provides federal funding to the SBDC, selected Deanna for the Emerging Leaders USA program.
She was one of 10 Northern California leaders who took part in the six-month intensive program. They heard from state and federal representatives, ‘the best of the best’ in their fields, Deanna said. She also developed and presented a three-year strategic plan for her business.
”I have relationships and connections now that are far greater than I could have ever imagined,” she said. “It was an incredible opportunity, and the entire program was free for me.”
A necessary pivot
When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, all academic coaching had to pivot online. One person Deanna regularly checked in with was Solano SBDC Director Tim Murrill.
“There is safety when you have a good counsel and people who can give you good, sound advice and have the background and skills to help you,” she said. “It helps you make the decisions that are best for you and create something that is more sustainable.”
As she reflects on her journey so far, from one of the first in her family to graduate college to a successful business owner, Deanna said she did none of it alone.
“I’ve always been surrounded by great people who want to help and support me and I feel very grateful for that,” she said.
It is because of her village that she has been able to steer her business through the COVID-19 pandemic. Miracle Math Coaching has maintained its level of service to their clients through online coaching as well as socially distanced in-person sessions. Many of these clients include children in the Fairfield-Suisun Unified School District.
It is also how she learned about the Rebuild Solano’s Small Businesses Grant Program. The program is a Solano County grant administered by the Workforce Development Board of Solano County and the Solano SBDC.
Miracle Math Coaching received a $12,900 grant in the program. The bulk of it went towards supporting the transition to online academic coaching.
“Anyone that is starting a business that really wants to create a successful village for your business, it all starts with the SBDC,” she said. “It’s one place where everything can come together.”