Starting a Business

SCORE Advises Junior Baseball Towards Success

Anyone involved with youth baseball knows that the sport isn't just for the kids; the whole family can join in. Take Dave and Dayna Destler of Canoga Park, CA, for example. When their son, Dusty, began playing in youth leagues at age 6, Dave was with him in the dugout as a volunteer coach while Dayna served as scorekeeper. Before long, the Destlers began looking for a magazine that would offer news, tips, and advice to other budding ballplayers, as well as information and guidance for parents. Their search came up empty, a result that might have led some parents to simply shrug their shoulders and say, "Somebody ought to start one." That "somebody" proved to be Dave and Dayna.

Owner/Founder
Dave and Dayna Destler
My Location
Canoga Park CA
United States
Employees
2
Year Company Formed
1996
My Successes

At first glance, starting a new magazine would seem to be familiar territory for the Destlers, who had already founded and published British Car, a successful bimonthly magazine for automobile enthusiasts. The market certainly seemed larger and more lucrative—the U.S. has more than 9 million kids playing baseball compared with only 50,000 British automobiles. But as the Destlers researched their potential market, they realized that this larger market also meant a larger, more complicated management and financial commitment.

By selling British Car, the Destlers were able to augment their SBA loan and devote their full attention to Junior Baseball. They spent the first year building the product and attracting advertisers. With the help of a five-person staff, the first issue rolled off the presses in September 1996, and Junior Baseball appeared to be on its way to the big leagues of publishing. Circulation lagged behind projections, however, and by the end of its second year, Junior Baseball was in a financial slump. "We had counted on a large amount of newsstand sales," Dayna explains, "but increased competition among small publishers made it difficult for us to get shelf space."

The magazine now has over 10,000 paid subscribers, and thousand more readers through complimentary subscriptions and other promotional programs. Junior Baseball has also earned official endorsements from the National Baseball Hall of Fame, the United States Amateur Baseball Association (USABA), USA Baseball, and more than a dozen other national youth and baseball organizations. The Destlers have added a website that offers articles from back issues, a listing of youth baseball camps and schools, and a youth baseball tournament calendar. "We recently introduced a book and video store that has tested very well," Dayna says. "We're working on increasing the range of selections and hope to add it to the website soon."

In 1999, the Destlers' profit topped $100,000. Still, the couple is managing the magazine's growth carefully. Dave oversees editorial, ad sales and production, while Dayna handles finances, marketing, subscription services, and circulation with the help of two part-time employees. In recent months, Dusty, now 17, has joined the team to conduct Junior Baseball's interviews with Big League players. "I think they enjoy talking to Dusty more than Dave because they remember being baseball-hungry kids too," says Dayna with a laugh. Then there's 12-year-old daughter Deanne, who occasionally helps with mailroom chores. Deanne enjoys playing softball, and, not surprisingly, the Destlers are considering adding another magazine focused on that sport.

What's Great About My Mentor?

To develop their business plan and SBA loan application for Junior Baseball magazine, the Destlers enrolled in an entrepreneurship course offered by the SBA's Small Business Development Center. They also began meeting with volunteer SCORE Mentors Nisan Matlin and Robert Emerson. The two business veterans worked with the couple to develop their business and financial plans, analyze complex spreadsheets, and refine their marketing strategy.

"We went over every aspect of the plan, trying different projections and fine-tuning the figures," says Dayna. "It was very reassuring to have input from experienced business executives."

Matlin and Emerson's advice proved to be as valuable as a batting tip from Barry Bonds. Their suggestion of a new publishing schedule and refinanced loan relieved the financial pressure, allowing Junior Baseball to grow in step with its advertiser and reader base.

How SCORE Helped

Just as baseball players frequently call on their old coaches for advice, Dave and Dayna often contact their SCORE mentors via phone and email for business tips that will help keep Junior Baseball slugging. "We couldn't have done it without them, both when we got started and when we hit the rough times," Dayna says. "SCORE is truly a wonderful, valuable organization."

SPANISH: La creacion de un Estado de Perdidas y Ganancias

Summary

This free, online business workshop will: outline the components and process of a profit and loss statement, illustrate 2 formats of profit and loss statements, and help you gain greater insight into the growth and financial health of your business.

SPANISH: La realizacion de un Analisis del Mercado

Summary

This free online business workshop will provide: info on why you need to conduct a market analysis, case studies showing how to learn about your market, and interactive worksheets to help put it all together.

 

Now that you’re an entrepreneur, you want the sales pitch for your small business to have a positive impact on your prospective customers. Don’t worry that you’re not a “born salesperson;” in truth, few people are. All it takes is research and planning—the same steps needed for every other business decision you make as an entrepreneur.

Sales PitchPlan Your Sales Pitch Down to the Word; Here’s Why 

You’ve probably heard hundreds of sales pitches in your life. Some immediately captured your interest, while others were tuned out almost as soon as they began. 

SPANISH: Preparacion de un Presupuesto de caja

Summary

This free online business workshop will:illustrate the importance of analyzing your cash flow, help you prepare a cash budget, and explain the methods of determining cash in and cash out.

Home sweet home—as a home-based business owner, that perennial country sampler phrase encompasses your world. From sharing lunch with your kids in the kitchen and your hallway commute to your linen closet-cum-storage room, your home is your life. So why would you ever give up your home office?

Depending on which camp you reside in, your answer may be a simple “Hell no, I won’t go!” or the appreciably more complex, “It’s inevitable. My kids (and spouse) don’t understand the concept of a closed door. I have no space. The refrigerator and television constantly beckon to me.” But no matter what the problem, is it really necessary to (gasp!) find an office away from home?

SunshineMoving On Out
Several years ago, a friend asked me when I was going to get a “real office.” Puzzled, I asked her what she meant. “You know,” she said, “a place you drive to every day.” A home office can be a real office, but as your business grows, you’ll probably need to move on and out of your home office.

About the Author

Lisa Kanarek HeadshotLisa Kanarek is one of the nation's leading home office experts and the author of several books, including Working Naked: A guide to the bare essentials of home office life. She is the founder of HomeOfficeLife, a consulting firm that advises home-based business owners on all aspects of working from home including home office set up, function, productivity and technology, and is founder of the blog www.WorkingNaked.com.

Searching out a location for this wonderful business you’ve been enthusiastically planning might seem to be a daunting task. Where do you start? What factors make this location better than that one? Who will help you?

Although I certainly don’t have all the answers, I have been through the drill and I can assure you that if you pursue your search in a calm and organized manner, you will find the location that most benefits your business.

Woman GlobeGetting Started
Begin by asking yourself what the space is to be used for. For example, do you need office space, a place to manufacture or assemble products, a distribution consolidation point or a storefront?

About the Author

Larry Tessler is veteran of nearly 35 years in the retail sector. He has served as a senior executive in merchandising, store operations and the advertising areas of two department store companies and a chain of music and video stores. Larry has owned and operated his own retail business. He has been a SCORE counselor for seven years.

SPANISH: La elaboracion de un Plan de Negocios

Summary

This free, online business workshop will help you gain insights on: why a biz plan is important and the preparation needed to begin writing it, the components of a business plan, and how to put it all together with supporting documentation.

SPANISH: La construccion de su marca

Summary

This free online business workshop will: explain what defines a brand, provide case studies of branding strategies, help you develop your branding strategy.

SCORE Mentor Advices frogfire DIGITAL to Success

Joe Reger's first experience with home computers came in 1982, when he bought one for his MBA studies. Fascinated with the new machine's capabilities, Reger and his son, Joe Jr., spent many hours experimenting with programs, games and the untapped potential of this high-tech toy.

Today, father and son still spend a lot of time working with their computers. Only now, it's more than just a pastime. They're partners in frogfire DIGITAL, a fast-growing new media design firm that specializes in Web site development and Internet marketing. As with many new businesses, the Regers happened upon their venture almost by accident.

Owner/Founder
Joe Reger Sr. and Joe Reger Jr.
My Location
Atlanta GA
United States
Employees
8
Year Company Formed
1996
My Successes

Today, the Regers' work can be found at the Web sites of such well-known corporations as Motorola, Turner Broadcasting and Equifax. But while frogfire DIGITAL is well on its way, the Regers continue to work with Morris and SCORE. "You need a certain 'chemistry' when you go into business with someone or hire employees because you'll be working with them a lot," says Joe Sr. "Morris was the ideal person to work with us. He's always been straightforward, candid and willing to lend his advice and expertise. We couldn't have asked for a better counselor."

Joe Reger had every intention of turning frogfire DIGITAL over to son Joe Jr. when the time has right. Turns out, Joe Jr. couldn't afford to lose his father's experience. "Joey's been busy with a new online business services company, Brightlane.com, which provides back office support to small and medium-sized businesses," Joe Sr. explains. "While he's still a part-owner of Frogfire, Brightlane is taking up more of his time."

Not to worry, though; there's still plenty going on at frogfire to keep Dad occupied. "We're consistently progressing in both our technical skills and vision," he says. "We're integrating our design creativity with technical advancements to help larger, branded clients make the most of the Internet's marketing and communications potential." Joe Sr., in turn, still works regularly with his SCORE Mentor, Morris Horesch. "We talk on the phone, or go out for lunch quite often," he says. "Though it seems like I always have a problem, Morris always helps me keep my head on straight. He's a great guy."

What's Great About My Mentor?

SCORE mentor Morris Horesh worked with the Regers to evaluate their venture's goals, strategies and markets. He also helped them identify potential problems and pitfalls such as unscrupulous investors. Before long, frogfire DIGITAL was making a name for itself as a highly creative design firm, attracting a wide range of high-profile clients and technical consultants who enhanced the firm's services and capabilities.

As frogfire DIGITAL grew, Horesh advised the Regers on various employee policies, health care plans and forging an equitable contract arrangement for the company's sales staff. Morris also helped Joe Sr. understand the importance of taking care of himself, as well. "Morris reminded me that I would easily damage my health by getting too wrapped up in the business," he says. "He made sure that I started exercising and did other things to keep my life in balance."

Morris has become a permanent fixture at frogfire, with his advice permeating the business. "He always comes up with ideas that I can apply immediately," says Joe Sr. Most recently he has advised the father-son team on further expanding their business horizons, which has led to their involvement as organizers for BizE.com.

How SCORE Helped

While working with the Atlanta SBA office, the Regers were referred to the local chapter of SCORE. There they met Morris Horesh, the former CEO of a regional sales company and an expert in business planning and management. In Morris, the Regers found the "perfect" advisor: one with the wisdom of a scholar and the discipline of a drill sergeant.

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