Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Owasso Incubator Graduates First Small Business

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Owasso Incubator Graduates First Small Business

Article excerpt

The first graduate of the city of Owasso's Small Business Incubator Program has emerged, with billings projected to reach $325,000 this year.

That's up from almost $250,000 in 2005.

Co-owners Ryan Byrd and Bill Willson, both 34, started Infinity Investigations and Protective Service LLC in April 2005, providing security and investigative services. With its primary line of business drawn from workers' compensation investigations, Byrd said the company has been able to attract clients not just from Oklahoma, but Missouri, Arkansas and other states.

From three employees at its start, Infinity has grown its staff to nine full-time and three part-time workers. Byrd projects invoices climbing to $500,000 next year.

While he marvels at the firm's quick growth, Byrd said it didn't come easy.

When we did our business plan, we did our five-year plan and then we did a reality check, he said. We haven't even looked at our business plan since our sixth month in business. Right now our focus is just to stay in business. God willing, we'll grow as rapidly as we have our first year.

The owners both drew experience from careers as police officers and private investigators. Even so, they credited the incubator program, and Owasso Economic Development Director Rickey Hayes, for much of their success.

We all left pretty good-paying jobs to do this, Byrd said, following their dreams to own their own business. Although we knew how to do our part, as far as the business aspect, we really didn't have a clue where to go to get the money.

Hayes provided that, Byrd said, as well as a fluid source of information and contacts to getting their business rolling. The incubator's lower operating costs allowed Infinity to build resources of two vehicles and a bank of computers, software, surveillance equipment and video production systems, all from an investment of about $50,000. …

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