UGA SBDC helps Panthersville Business Stand Out and Gain Steady Growth


In 2014, Nadine Marsh Coleman had the opportunity to acquire SERVPRO® of Panthersville, a franchise that provides residential, commercial and governmental water and fire restoration and mold remediation services. Her transition from a career as a software engineer to full-time business ownership led her to the University of Georgia Small Business Development Center (UGA SBDC) for assistance. Coleman’s work with the UGA SBDC guided the trajectory of her business, transitioning it from fragile to thriving, and tripling sales within the first four years of her full-time ownership that began in 2019.

After acquiring SERVPRO® of Panthersville, Coleman immersed herself in the world of restoration services. When it came to understanding the business side, she contacted Ruby Riesinger, business consultant at the UGA SBDC in DeKalb. Coleman’s first request was about marketing.

“When I first took over the business full-time in 2019, it was a bad time for the business itself. I needed additional guidance on marketing strategies and Ruby was one of my biggest motivators,” said Coleman.

Growing Through Government Contracts & Procurement

During the first meeting, Riesinger looked closely at the current marketing efforts and identified a growth opportunity in government contracts and procurement. She suggested that Coleman should register on Team Georgia Marketplace, which is an online platform that connects vendors and providers within Georgia to be eligible to respond to requests for proposals on state government jobs. She also encouraged Coleman to obtain the woman-owned small business and minority-owned certifications through the Small Business Administration to ensure that her business would be more prominent when competing for bids. Successively, SERVPRO® of Panthersville has attained the designations as a Woman Business Enterprises, Minority Business Enterprise, Female Business Enterprise, African American Business Enterprise and Small Business Enterprise.

“With procurement, any certifications you can get as a business can help you stand out above other entities when your company is compared against others in the bidding process,” said Riesinger. “I knew these certifications would help distinguish Nadine’s bids and grow her book.”

By summer 2020, the certifications enabled SERVPRO® of Panthersville to secure government contracts from public school systems and county government facilities.

With a solid marketing plan in place, Coleman shifted her focus to the finances.

Preserving Cash Flow During a Pandemic

Reisinger connected Coleman with fellow UGA SBDC business consultant Stephen Newton to advise her on the financial management of the business.  

Like many small businesses, the pandemic put a strain on the company’s finances, which made it challenging for Coleman to keep her business cash flow positive.

However, the pandemic provided a unique revenue opportunity for Coleman to add another service to provide cleaning and sanitization, which became in high demand. Subsequently, the business needed more employees and additional equipment to handle the added jobs.

With the assistance from her UGA SBDC consultants, Coleman was also able to utilize an Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) and the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) to not only keep her existing employees paid, but to also hire new workers to meet the increased demand.

“The SBDC really helped the financial aspect of the business. Stephen gave suggestions on how to best organize my books, and he got me connected with banks to obtain the PPP and EIDL loans to help keep my business afloat during the pandemic,” said Coleman.

Working ON Her Business, Not Just IN Her Business

Coleman also participated in the UGA SBDC’s GrowSmart program. Designed for businesses with more than two years of successful operation, the program guides participants through a step-by-step evaluation of their business to develop a business plan with long-term vision and growth strategies. It gives participants the opportunity to step away from the daily business tasks and dedicate 35 hours to focus on the future of their business.

“Through GrowSmart I really learned how to work on the business and not just in the business,” said Coleman. “That’s one of the things that I work on daily now. It’s easy to get stuck in the day-to-day tasks rather than focusing on growing the business. I continue to remind myself of it.”

Since 2019, SERVPRO® of Panthersville has seen its sales triple and its employee count grow to 10. To accommodate the steady growth, Coleman plans to add additional employees within the next year and secure a larger office location.


  • Tripled Sales
  • Added Employees
  • Plans to Move to Larger Location

“Small business owners need someone who is there during difficult times to give you motivation to take your business to that next level. Ruby has indeed been a great motivator. She not only provided resources, but she also helped me distinguish myself in my industry. She has been an excellent small business consultant.”

For More Information: University of Georgia SBDC | (706) 542-2762