Anthony Baptista has served in celebrity protection details from Los Angeles to Las Vegas, worked as a first responder nationwide, and was “in the trenches” of the Mississippi State Penitentiary System. This current business owner hit a big speedbump after suffering a gunshot wound when he was working as a security manager.
In 2013, Baptista was in a hospital bed recovering. Unfortunately, the injury left him with a disability and he was unable to return to his career as a Law Enforcement Official, EMT, and security specialist. A lightbulb went off and the idea for a business was hatched.
Although his previous jobs had their rewards, he knew that working as a family unit would be priceless.
“I was in my ICU bed in our local hospital feeling sorry for myself when I came up with this crazy business idea,” Baptista reports. “I figured why not utilize my existing skill set and start my own investigations and process serving agency?”
Baptista tapped into his extensive knowledge and soon founded a process serving organization. A process server's main job is to deliver legal documents to an individual or party named in the action. It can be dangerous work but Baptista has crafted systems to help document delivery go smoothly.
“I had no financial backing and no money to start a business in the correct manner,” he says. “But thankfully I signed a contract with the nation's biggest legal support agency and we’ve now completed over 1,900 successful services.”
He started the business with his son Noah and wife Wendy, running the business from their home office. “My son assists me,” Baptista says. “I handle cash flow, payroll, and contracts. My son was 17 when I got shot and he’s never left my side. I’m a very proud dad.”
Babtista reflects on his work with his son. “Noah understands and pays close attention to my body language. There are days that if it were not for him, I could not walk to complete the job. I guess you can say having him by my side gives me that extra bit energy I need to move on to the next job.”
Baptista wanted to help his son build a career, despite being introverted like his mom. “I thought this work would help him socially. How do you approach someone with documents they don’t want to receive?”
Batista watches his son proudly from the car as papers are served. “He’s evolved his communication skills and most of the time, transactions are civil.”
2018 was Baptista’s first full year in business. They made over $37,000 in revenue but then the coronavirus pandemic hit, dramatically reducing their business volume as the courts went dark. “Unfortunately in 2019 revenue dropped dramatically to approximately $22,500.00 and dropped again in 2020. I have lost over 40k in business since this pandemic began. The court systems clammed up, going from 100 mph to 10 mph in an instant.”
Baptista says, “To say the least COVID-19 has squashed our business.” In addition to reduced volume, extensive safety measures needed to be put in to place. “Normally we hand over paperwork. Now I have to print out documents, wear gloves and a mask, put the papers a sealed zip lock bag to sit for 24 hours before it’s served.” Baptista has run into many who don’t want to open the door due to the pandemic. He’s had to shift his communication skills into high gear to complete jobs efficiently.
Unfortunately, Baptista’s health has been greatly impacted by his injury. His son has stepped up to help the business weather the economic downturn. “There are days my injuries make it almost impossible to stand upright, let alone have the ability to deal with those receiving bad news.”
SmartBiz Loans has been helping small business owners obtain much needed funding from the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). These forgivable loans have been a lifeline for entrepreneurs facing economic hardships. He started the process through the SmartBiz Loans streamlined dashboard.
Baptista reports, “This loan is small in comparison to others but I am very appreciative for the opportunity to receive the calculated amount. We are still in business and this money will greatly help me pay for the labor I need to operate my business.”
Originally, his loan amount was calculated to be under $1,000. However, the Small Business Administration (SBA), put new rules into place regarding calculations based on gross income from his schedule C. “To my surprise, I received an email from SmartBiz increasing the amount almost 5 times. I was driving and had to pull over thinking ‘You’ve got to be kidding me’. Being a sole prop, I was a little big cynical.”
Baptista couldn’t wait to get to his laptop to complete the PPP process. “My smartphone had a little trouble loading but I wanted to jump on it. I was smiles and giggles all the way home.” The direct deposit of funds happened approximately 36 hours after Baptista signed the closing documents. “We cannot thank SmartBiz Loans enough for the service you provided. You gave me hope from the start, communicated with me every few days, and I never was left wondering.” The SmartBiz Loans team wishes Baptista and his family the best moving forward.
Interested in a PPP loan?
The PPP has been extended. The deadline, previously March 31st, is now May 31st. Forgivable funds from the program can be used for approved expenses including payroll, safety equipment, business expenses, rent and more. Learn about the PPP here: Let SmartBiz help you apply for a first or second Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan.