Breakthrough Innovations, Ames

About a year ago to date, Dawn Hansen and Sarah Fineran started their business, Breakthrough Innovations, with the vision of helping women improve, track, and analyze their financial outcomes. Originally starting with an emphasis on financial education, Hansen and Fineran shifted their focus to more 1-on-1 consulting for women entrepreneurs and small business owners. For Hansen and Fineran, helping their clients is the most rewarding and important part of their business. They custom tailor financial plans for every one of their clients based on each client’s specific goals. Hansen and Fineran approach each client with no other agenda than to show them what is in their best interest financially. The duo claims that seeing the excitement in their clients when they reach their financial goals is the most rewarding part of their business.

Hansen and Fineran both work at the Iowa Department of Corrections, which is where they first met and started their friendship. Over a glass of wine, the two realized that they both shared a passion and desire to start a financial business so others could benefit from the knowledge they had accumulated through their work and other experiences. The duo claims that one of the main reasons they work so well together is because of their complementary skill sets. To date, Fineran and Hansen have grown their business completely by themselves through networking with small businesses and social media.  

According to Fineran and Hansen, SBDC Iowa has been an integral part of starting and growing its business. The duo says the SBDC was a great help in guiding them through the initial steps of starting Breakthrough Innovations and has continued to be a valuable source for them to lean on, saying, “The SBDC has honestly been the gasoline to our fire.” Fineran and Hansen recommend that other small businesses reach out to the SBDC because the free counseling they provide is invaluable to small business owners. 

As far as advice for other entrepreneurs looking to start their own business, Hansen and Fineran recommend paying attention to the data, and when you feel that you’re ready, just do it because you can get paralyzed by contemplating all the “what ifs?”. They also emphasize the importance of leaning on other entrepreneurs for help and advice as you navigate being a small business owner. “It’s not easy,” the two say, “It takes time and tenacity. As long as you don’t set it down, you will be successful.”

In the future, Fineran and Hansen envision Breakthrough Innovations as an empire of successful women who can lean on each other for advice as they grow together. They plan on growing and expanding the network of amazing women they have already built into a community. The two believe that when good people have money, good things happen.

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