Two-time entrepreneur 'unlocking potential' and growing janitorial business – Green Bay Press Gazette

For returning Green Bay SCORE client Germaine Nunn of Green Bay, owning a business isn’t anything new. His first venture, a partnership, became difficult to continue when his partner moved away.
“I was a partner in a beauty supplies shop in Green Bay, and our niche was selling beauty products for the Black culture,” Nunn said. “We saw the need for that and I learned all about what it means to be an entrepreneur and the sweat equity that’s involved.”
He also learned how to structure a business, manage inventory, price the products, use a POS system and sell. There were other lessons, also, such as how to obtain a seller’s permit, open business accounts and obtain financing.
The retail location closed when his partner left, and Nunn tried to move the business to online sales where the competition was great.
“When I was left alone, that’s when I first went to SCORE,” Nunn said. “My partner had handled the bookkeeping and day-to-day transactions, and when I took on that role, I needed advice. I had always envisioned myself being a store owner, and I believed in the business. It was hard to give it up.”
That was 2019, and although Nunn tried to make the business work, he decided to move on to his next dream — starting a commercial and residential cleaning company.
He met with a SCORE mentor again, and now is working to put together a successful business in a climate where it is very difficult to find employees. He is in an industry that is booming, but as he tries to do everything himself while working other jobs, his hours are long.
“For me, I’ve always kept another job because I don’t like the financial uncertainties and need to be able to pay for my family’s expenses for our home, car, groceries and things like that,” Nunn said. “While building the company, that is important.”
So, for the time being, he forges ahead as a solo entrepreneur while his list of cleaning jobs grows. He is working on a business plan and has attended business classes at Northeast Wisconsin Technical College in Green Bay. The learning curve is steep; even choosing a name proved to be challenging.
Nunn liked First Choice Janitorial & Cleaning because it echoed his first business, First Choice Beauty Supply. But he found out after initial marketing that the name was already registered. To rename the business, he made sure to check registered names in Wisconsin (www.wdfi.org) so that he didn’t have the same issue. 
The new name is Green Bay Janitorial. His motto is, “Just get the job done right.”
“That’s very important. You can bring satisfaction to your clients by doing it right the first time,” Nunn said. “As easy as it might seem when selling a service, not every business is reliable. I  run the business with integrity and honesty.”
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The breadth of services will depend on customers’ needs, and he has an expanded list of things offered from deep cleans to carpet cleaning and window washing. These are all areas in which he has worked for other companies and gained experience. At the present time, he does some work as a subcontractor, but he has big plans for growth.
He will graduate from NWTC next year, and plans to focus on what he has learned.
“I am a visionary and risk-taker, but I have learned that won’t get me where I need to be as an entrepreneur. That’s why I went to school,” he said. “I needed to know how to run the business — how to register with the Department of Financial Institutions and the Department of Revenue and do things right.”
He has a shop for his cleaning equipment and received a business grant to help with startup expenses. In the next year, his goal is to grow sales by 5% and hire one to three employees. It is all part of the building process. He says he doesn’t mind being called a janitor, because he is living and doing what he believes in.
“I am unlocking potential I never thought I had,” Nunn said. “When you walk into a candy store, as a kid, you think that maybe you could own a store someday. To be pushed and understand the potential you had all along, that is the amazing part. To be able to think it and then bring it to reality and then learn from your failures. I love that challenge — it keeps me humble and willing to learn.”
As he learns, he also wants to find time to volunteer with local youth groups and take the platform of his janitorial company to give young people a job where they can develop skills. He believes that being an entrepreneur comes with the responsibility to give back.
But he is not in a hurry to get to his end goals.
He has advice for other would-be entrepreneurs: “Enjoy the process. Don’t rush. As exciting as it is to be an entrepreneur, remember that it is a process. Once you make a commitment, follow up with consistency.  Also, integrity — that’s your brand — it tells a person who you are and molds your character.  Be professional, as well, and don’t skip the education.”
Tina Dettman-Bielefeldt is co-owner of DB Commercial Real Estate in Green Bay and past district director for SCORE, Wisconsin.

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