Columbus woman’s passion for problem solving leads to successful business

Small Business
Small Towns

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During tax season, some people find themselves overwhelmed about knowing which forms to use, how to calculate things correctly, and the best way to get more back on their refunds.

If you live near Columbus, Nebraska, María Dávila can help.

As someone who enjoys working with numbers and problem solving, María wanted to share her passions and to help others. She found a way to do that, while also realizing her dream of owning her own business.

María opened Servicios En General, LLC, in Columbus in 2001. She strives to offer reliable assistance and security in her clients’ tax preparation and create a welcoming environment for all.

“I enjoy helping people,” said María. “I know how hard it can be when you don’t really know much about a service you are receiving. Our goal here at Servicios En General is to always answer and inform all of our clients' questions so that they understand their taxes better.”

As with most businesses, upgrades and repairs become necessary after some time. When María found herself in that situation, she turned to the Center for Rural Affairs. She received a loan in 2010 to replace the air conditioner unit on her building, and another loan in 2020 to replace the roof.

Center Latino Loan Specialist Veronica Spindola helped María through the process of getting her second loan, and has watched her tax business thrive.

“María is very proactive and has grown her business exponentially,” said Veronica. “During tax season her office is always full of clients and she works late hours. She’s also had to increase her staff and create more office spaces for personnel.”

María is a very disciplined client, and has attended several of the Center’s training sessions.

“She is a very interesting client to work with—María is smart, creative, and eager to constantly learn things that improve her business,” Veronica said. “Besides running her business, María is a very active member of the community. She often volunteers her time and is an example to follow as a business person, community member, and empowered woman.”

María says the one-on-one business counseling and training she received through the Center has helped her run her business more efficiently.

“I had someone sit down with me and go over all my questions regarding QuickBooks,” she said. “I take part in the workshops the Center offers every chance that I get.”

María and her three full-time and six part-time employees specialize in tax preparation and focus on personal tax returns. They also help clients get ITINs (Individual Tax ID Numbers).

“We at Servicios En General like to help our community as much as we can,” said María. “If there is something we can’t help them with we always like to point them in the right direction.”

Not only does María offer her clients the best service she can, she has advice for potential business owners who might not know where to start.

“It can be scary starting a new business, but there are lots of resources out there that can help you,” she said. “Get connected with others in the field. Always put yourself out there and volunteer as much as you can to be a part of the community. Everyone starts somewhere and you will get there at your own pace. You will always be learning new things along the way. Don’t give up, and remember, knowledge is power.”

She adds that there will be people who may not want to help, though she has been pleasantly surprised at how many others are more than willing to guide entrepreneurs as they begin their journeys.

For María, this means having the support of family and friends.

“Everyone who has believed in me has helped me since day one in creating Servicios En General,” she said. “None of this would have been possible without the support from my husband, children, mom, and everyone that has been a part of this journey.”

María says having her own business is an obstacle within itself, but urges others to not give up and to keep pushing and pursuing their dreams. The Center for Rural Affairs has been there whenever she needed it, she said, and it can help others as well.

“I decided to work with the Center because they offered business training on how to start a new business,” she said. “It has been a great experience working with the staff. Everyone is always so welcoming and willing to help in any way they can. I know the Center will guide you in the right direction and give you the tools needed to start your business as well as on how to make sure your business is successful.”
 

Do you own a small business and need to make repairs on your building, like Maria? Contact your regional loan specialist. Find yours at cfra.org/lending-staff.

At a glance

Servicios En General, LLC
María Dávila
2472 33rd Ave.
Columbus, Nebraska
402.564.9300
Hours: during tax season: Monday through Saturday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.; after tax season: Monday through Thursday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
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