Growing a Business
This free online business workshop will: help you develop a sales plan that will achieve maximum results, walk you through the steps to implement your chosen strategy, provide a self-assessment and worksheet to put it all together.
This free online business workshop will: examine how to run a profitable company with a healthy margin, help you analyze your company's profitability, and provide interactive worksheets to help put it all together.
Stress can paralyze some people, while others find stress invigorating. While you can't control all of the stress related to your clients and your business, you can control various factors within your office that can help minimize stress and improve your productivity.
This free online business workshop will help you: develop your pricing strategy for your product or service, determine if your prices are working for you, and put it all together with provided worksheets.
Sometimes it’s hard to be taken seriously when you work from home. The stereotype of the typical home office worker is someone who spends most of the day in a robe. Yet how much of that is reality?
Sure, there are days when I start writing early, get on a roll and look up to see it’s noon or later and I haven’t taken a shower. But most of the time I try to get ready before I sit down to work. It’s too easy to spend the day in pajamas.
It’s not fair, but it’s true that when you work from home you have to be more organized, more disciplined and more professional than your corporate counterpart.
If you answer the phone in a corporate office with co-workers talking in the background, it’ s fine. If you answer the phone in your home office with the dog barking, the baby screaming and the doorbell ringing, your professionalism takes a nosedive.
There are a few simple things you can do to maintain your professionalism:
Entrepreneurs often face the dilemma of deciding how and when to add new services in order to keep a small business growing. For Angela Todd, founder and CEO of DMG, Inc., the challenge was identifying the most promising niche for her company, then investing the right resources to make it successful.
In 1999, Angela Todd had started her own business that provided “turnkey” services for Southern California’s commercial real estate market. Drawing on her experience in professional services marketing, she helped connect real estate brokers and developers with qualified engineering consultants and contractors to help launch and complete new projects.
Angela enjoyed tremendous success in her first four years as an entrepreneur. In 2003, her husband Charles, himself a commercial development professional, was ready to become a partner and help take the business to the next level. The question was, what direction was best for the company go?
“We were growing fast, trying to be a lot of things to a lot of people,” Angela recalls. “With so many potential paths available, we needed to find one that was right for us.”
By narrowing their market, it helped DMG double its business in 2004. Angela is now looking to bring the company’s services to new markets, including banks that provide SBA-backed loans to other small business owners. DMG is also giving back to the community through activities such as sponsoring a luau fundraiser for St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital, and sponsoring a motocross racing team.
“We essentially created our own niche market—providing due diligence engineering and inspection services within the ‘short escrow’ period—the brief timeframe that brokers and developers have to verify the value of their properties to lenders,” Angela says. “We act as the ‘building police,’ investigating the property and the surrounding areas for hazards and concerns using our own engineers and inspectors to ensure that these services are performed within each customer’s stringent escrow contingency deadlines.”
What's Great About My Mentor?
While researching SBA loans, Angela learned about SCORE’s free mentoring services. After meeting with volunteer mentor Betty Otte, an expert in launching and managing various types of businesses, Angela was confident that she had found the answer.
Otte made recommendations for shaping DMG’s marketing advertising strategy. “Even though my background was in marketing, Betty provided valuable advice on how to tailor our message to our target markets,” Angela says. “Betty essentially gave us homework assignments, and every one proved to be successful.”
Along with refining DMG’s direct mail pieces and client newsletter, Otte has helped the couple bring some fun to their work. “Betty gave us the idea of turning our business development visits to brokers into ‘holidays,’ where we deliver pastries along with company information,” Angela says. “That reinforces our presence in each office, and we almost always meet someone we’ve not done business with.”
How SCORE Helped
“A lot of credit goes to Betty and SCORE,” Angela says. “Our discussions have produced valuable ideas that have helped us build our business, and address issues that might have thrown us off track. That’s why I recommend SCORE to everybody I talk to. Who wouldn’t want to take advantage of all that valuable knowledge and support?”
Since her college days, Celina Taganas Duffy, ran her painting, graphic design and greeting card business by the seat of her pants. Celina managed to achieve a measure of success thanks to creative talent, hard work and unique line of patented envelope-free greeting cards.
Celina recognized that regardless of her creative skill, her business—Tagline Communications—would be stymied unless she improved and streamlined her business practices. “I had been running my business for awhile, but I knew I could run it more effectively and efficiently,” says Celina.
Now I focus on the important areas,” says Celina. She claims that her revenue has risen by 80 percent with the help of her team of SCORE mentors and is grateful for their help in “completely turning the business around.”
Celina is now making plans to hire a graphic designer and find dedicated studio space, two steps that will allow her to spend more time painting her colorful and vibrant canvases. Celina’s greeting cards feature miniatures of her paintings and she’s also eager to expand Tagline Greetings, the greeting card side of Tagline Communications.
What's Great About My Mentor?
In November 2001, Celina visited the SCORE Santa Ana, CA Chapter and met with Mentor Leanore Saks. As an artist herself, Leanore offered insightful advice on the industry, pricing, portfolio development and general business planning.
When Leanore was going to be out of town for some time, Mentor Betty Otte stepped in to help Celina develop some marketing ideas. While learning more about Tagline Communications, Betty discovered that Celina frequently sent her invoices out late. She asked Mentor Hiro Kranz, a certified management accountant and retired controller, to assist. Soon, Hiro began meeting with Celina to develop a system to invoice accounts properly. Hiro taught Celina how to use QuickBooks and advised her on hiring a bookkeeper.
Betty continues to visit Celina’s office each month for mentoring. Celina says, “Betty keeps me focused and motivated. She gives me monthly project tasks to help me evaluate my business.” The future looks bright and busy for Celina, and she is confident with her SCORE mentors lending a hand, she will continue down the road of success.
How SCORE Helped
“My experience with SCORE has been amazing. I know I have strengths, but I’ve learned that I can’t do everything by myself. Having experts handle various aspects of my business, has freed up a lot of my time.” Says Celina Taganas Duffy.
It was a smart move, that so many of you slowed hiring and capital spending while inventories dwindled, according to NFIB’s Small Business Economic Trends - January 2009. Profits are impacted by overhead and your quick response to rein in costs is a big help in weathering a recession that still has months for us to work through.
This free online business workshop will help you: identify your company's competitive advantage, determine your strengths, weaknesses, and goals, and devise a strategy to set your company apart from your competitors.