"Anyone that is starting a business that really wants to create a successful village for your business, it all starts with the SBDC. It’s one place where everything can come together.”
When Deanna Hurn opened Fairfield’s Miracle Math Coaching 12 years ago, she was only in her mid-twenties, and did not know the first thing about running her own business.
“All I knew is that I wanted to make a difference,” Hurn 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 smiles brightly as she recalls those first years and the immeasurable professional growth she experienced. She and her husband Diondre had just welcomed their first child – they now have three and a fourth on the way. A math tutor since high school, Hurn 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.
She reached out to the Solano SBDC in that first year, and shortly after connecting with an advisor, enrolled in Solano’s NxLevel program for entrepreneurs. Through the 11-week program, Hurn developed and presented a comprehensive business plan for her academic coaching business that 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, Hurn moved her business to its current location in downtown Fairfield and hired other tutors, or coaches, to join her. All coaches are trained in Miracle Math’s brain-based learning model and create individualized learning plans for all of their students.
“All of our coaches stayed with us those first three or four years,” Hurn remembered. “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.”
Hurn 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 Hurn for the Emerging Leaders USA program.
She was one of 10 Northern California leaders invited to take part in the six-month, intensive program. They heard from state and federal representatives, ‘the best of the best’ in their fields, Hurn 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.”
When the COVID-19 pandemic hit and all academic coaching had to pivot online, one person she 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, Hurn said none of it has been done 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, which includes many, many children in the Fairfield-Suisun Unified School District, through online coaching as well as socially distanced in-person sessions.
It is also how she learned about the Rebuild Solano’s Small Businesses Grant Program, a Solano County grant administered by the Workforce Development Board of Solano County and the Solano SBDC.
Miracle Math Coaching was awarded a $12,900 grant in the program, the bulk of which 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.”
For more information, visit miraclemathcoaching.com.