Name And Age: Linda Spradley Bodden, 40
Company Name and Description: IDAMAR Enterprises Inc. is a health and wellness services company in Newark, New Jersey, that runs a call center and does project management, staffing and physician evaluation for HMOs.
Starting point: A $35,000 loan from the IBM credit union using her IBM stock as collateral in 1995
1999 sales: $4.1 million
2000 sales projections: $6.2 million
Trick of the trade: In theory, Bodden understands the business-school axiom ("Use other people's money"), but this former IBM executive knows that walking into a bank or knocking on a relative's door for money to start a business isn't a reality for most minority women. That's why she relied on her own financial resources to fund her company, and, instead of shooting for the moon, initially looked for what she calls "the low-hanging fruit." "You don't have to start out being a semiconductor chip-maker," says Bodden, who launched her business with a customer call center. "Do a couple of things people are going to pay you money for to get going--as long as it's in the scheme of your core business."
Branching out: IDAMAR Enterprises recently launched a wellness division called Spa Odyssey that targets affluent minority business women. Odyssey Network, a conference that mixes business networking with pampering, is its first venture.