Christopher Wycoco was the first man to graduate from the Entrepreneur Boot Camp at the Women’s Business Center of Cameron County. This year, the Women’s Business Center nominated him for, and he received, the 2018 Minority Business of the Year Award from the Small Business Administration.
A native of the Philippines, Wycoco came to the Rio Grande Valley to pursue a career as a registered nurse, taking a position at Valley Baptist Medical Center in Harlingen. During that time, he began to learn about sales and was introduced to the income tax preparation business. An outgoing and gregarious young man, he saw potential there and launched WycoTax.
Six years into the venture, WycoTax has offices in Harlingen and Brownsville and plans to expand further through franchises. One franchise in McAllen is planned to open sometime in the next year, and he is also looking at Pharr and Raymondville as potential locations.
Recognizing that many tax preparation businesses are part of large corporate enterprises, Wycoco said much of his success is grounded in the fact he is local and strives to provide first-rate customer service. “People want local and we are open all year round, not just during tax season. They don’t want to be treated just as customers, they want to be treated as people. It builds long-lasting relationships. We build trust and they know that after tax season, we are here.”
Throughout the year WycoTax handles payroll for businesses and offers notary services and assistance with the completion of immigration forms. “We can also help businesses set up the foundation for their bookkeeping and tax planning.”
And as the tax season winds down, Wycoco stresses continuing education for his employees, emphasizing his outlook toward customer service. “It’s all about attitude,” he said. “A lot of it is about how to handle conflicts and turn them into solutions for customers. When you do that, your staff will take good care of your clients.” Decked out in the company’s trademark black T-shirts emblazoned with the yellow and red WycoTax logo, Wycoco and members of his team are frequent participants in business workshops and seminars all over the Valley.
Wycoco seems to always be on the move, getting involved with chambers of commerce, networking with other entrepreneurs and seeking knowledge wherever he can. “The only constant thing in life is change, and it is so with business,” he said. “I value the networking because it’s about collaboration. In any business, the more connections you get leads to more resources and more customers.”
His passion for learning was one of the determining factors that gave Wycoco an edge over other nominees for the Minority Business of the Year Award, according to Angela Burton, director of the Lower Rio Grande Valley District Office of the SBA. “Part of what sets him apart is his constant quest for knowledge. So many people go into business without doing that. He has attended or participated in just about every SBA training opportunity.”
That thirst for knowledge has also led him down a path as an educator himself. He has been conducting seminars around the Valley entitled “10 Proven Tips from Part to Full Time Entrepreneur,” a formula he developed based on his own experiences. “One of my passions is to educate people. I know the struggles of small businesses and there are a lot of people out there that have been struggling. So what I have learned since I was 14 I can get across in an hour.”
Wycoco also sees business growth through developing technology. He has developed an app that helps connect with clients so they can easily transfer documents back and forth. For the future, he is in the early stages of exploring the creation of a complete tax preparation software package along the lines of TurboTax. “Out of 150 million filers, 55 million did their own taxes,” he said. “If we could get a piece of that pie we could see a huge increase in our revenue stream.”