Published Jul. 6, 2012
Steve Strauss, founder of www.theselfemployed.com, explains what makes a business contract valid and gives tips for entering into one correctly.
Q: I have been doing business with a guy for a few years. Last month, I found someone who offers what he has been selling me for a lot less and so I severed our relationship. He now informs me that we have a “contract” and that I am obligated to give him 60 days' notice. That cannot be right, can it?
In Florida's Collier County, SCORE Naples has helped seniors find new careers or start new businesses.
“Given the economy, a lot of people who come to our workshops have been laid off or want another career opportunity or to start a business,” said George Ahearn, chairman of SCORE Naples. “Giving back to the community is something we do. We can take our wisdom and share it.”
How SCORE Helped
Butch and Maria Aggen own and operate The Goddard School, a private pre-school franchise, which specializes in early childhood development for children from six weeks to six years. The school operates on the premise that each child has a special and individual learning style. Goddard Developmental Guidelines, a core component of The Goddard School FLEX learning Program, form the basis of unique lesson plans brought to life for each child in fun and imaginative ways. They are committed to achieving excellence in all areas of the school’s operation
The Aggens’ have owned the business since 2007 and although successful, they turned to SCORE for help in planning for growth and expansion, improved customer satisfaction, profitability, employee retention and other areas. A recent customer survey showed an outstanding level of service provided by the faculty and word-of-mouth referrals have tripled.
SCORE has helped them to develop a strategic plan which included construction of an annex to expand capacity, consolidation of loans and the development of metrics to measure progress.
“Score has helped develop strategic
initiatives to take us from “very good”
to excelling in key areas.”
Butch and Maria Aggen - Cedar Park, TX
Business: The Goddard School
Stephen Cohen, whose firm advises many older small business owners, sees more and more people who have been laid off at the end of long careers and who are looking toward entrepreneurship rather than re-entering the job market. "Opening a business is the American way of starting new," he said.
Others are simply searching for a way to spend more time with their families, Mr. Cohen said, or for more financial independence.
Nancy Miller, owner of Lil' Bits in Dallas, Texas, discovered a fun, delicious way to achieve her entrepreneurial dreams - mini donuts! Despite tough work and hard times, Nancy has achieved her goals with the help of SCORE.
"Miller visited SCORE, and says 'it was the best thing ever,' advising that everyone should go do it. She acknowledges that at first she was fearful and thought she should protect her idea, but she quickly got over it and encourages everyone to 'just go do it.'"
SCORE Pittsburgh mentor Stephen Cohen started his business, Keystone By Design, with the help of SCORE before deciding to become a mentor himself and fulfill his life goal "to feel helpful to people." Cohen advises small businesses to think of SCORE "as a free board of directors."
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Creative Space Specialist, LLC, locally known as Closet Specialist, is a family-owned small business operating in Savannah, Georgia since 1984. They specialize in designing, fabricating & installing custom closets and storage systems. In the late 1990s, owner Jeff Klein wanted to expand his business so he contacted SCORE to seek guidance in several areas including marketing, accounting and leasing vs. owning equipment. See the website below for more information about Creative Space Specialist, LLC.
My Location – 7601 Waters Avenue, Savannah, GA 31406
7601 Waters Avenue,
Jeff Klein’s business was experiencing “growing pains” so he came to SCORE seeking guidance in specific areas. Jeff worked with a team of SCORE counselors and jointly developed a plan to expand his business into the rapidly growing market in Bluffton, South Carolina. Jeff subsequently leased a 12,000 sq. ft. plant in Bluffton and relocated his manufacturing facilities to Bluffton. In addition to his Savannah showroom, he later opened a retail showroom at this Bluffton location.
How SCORE Helped
SCORE counselors worked with Jeff on many aspects of his expansion into Bluffton including marketing and the leasing of state of the art manufacturing equipment. Even after the successful expansion into Bluffton, Jeff continued to meet with one of the SCORE counselors several times a year to “bounce off ideas” regarding ongoing business operations..
In July 1996, Closet Specialist was named the “Small Business of the Year’ by the Small Business Chamber of Savannah. In addition, for each of the years 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012, Closet Specialist has been recognized by the Savannah Magazine’s Best of Homes issue as the “Best Closet Company”. This recognition is based on the votes on the magazine’s readers.
Jeff has also served as President of the Association of Closet and Storage Professionals (www.closets.org) for 2010 – 2012 and presently sits on their Board of Directors. Closet Specialist has been featured in many local and national magazines and newspapers including the Wall Street Journal and CLOSETS Magazine
Dubberly's Seafood (Dubberly’s), a Savannah, Georgia family-owned and operated commercial fishing business, operated a fleet of shrimp boats harvesting and selling "wild caught" Georgia shrimp. Dubberly’s needed to expand its product line and overall business since it was gradually losing market share and profits due to increased foreign competition selling "farm raised" shrimp at significantly lower costs. See website for more information.
214 Vernonberg Ave.
Dubberly's initially requested SCORE counselors to provide assistance with marketing their business and preparing a business plan to help secure expansion funding.
Dubberly's decided to expand their operations from just harvesting shrimp to the processing and packaging of shrimp for both wholesale and retail outlet
How SCORE Helped
SCORE counselors worked with Dubberly's staff on the development of an applicable business plan and the preparation of the USDA grant application.
On September 4, 2008, the USDA awarded a $300,000 matching grant to Dubberly's Seafood.
In addition, Dubberly's also applied for and received a $27,500 matching funds grant from the Southeastern Trade Adjustment Assistance Center (SETAAC) administered at Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, Georgia. The SETAAC grants are funded by the US Commerce Department's Economic Development Administratin and are awarded to "assist import-impacted manufacturers with business plan development and projected funding to better compete in global trade".
To date, Dubberly’s has used the matching grant funds to block freeze their excess harvest and inventory this harvest until the market price increases during the off-season. This excess inventory capability has also enabled Dubberly to pick up additional retail customers and distributors who require year-round suppliers. Dubberly’s has also been able to increase it sales margin by about 10% since it no longer has to sell its excess harvest to processing plants that pay the lowest prices for a shrimper’s harvest.
Dubberly’s has also used grant funds to better brand and market their shrimp as being “locally” harvested. The National Marine Fisheries Service states that “only about 10% of the shrimp consumed in the United States are caught in U.S. fisheries. The rest are imported, and most are grown in aquaculture”.
Published May. 3, 2012
Sometimes it’s hard to play by the rules, but what if you’re the one writing them?
Every small business does need some basic rules in place. Along with articles of incorporation, corporate bylaws provide a major--if not the major--foundation for your small business.
Not only do they help keep everything legally in sync with state requirements, they also map out how your company is run and operated.
Sometimes it’s hard to play by the rules, but what if you’re the one writing them? Every small business does need some basic rules in place. Along with articles of incorporation, corporate bylaws provide a major--if not the major--foundation for your small business. Not only do they help keep everything legally in sync with state requirements, they also map out how your company is run and operated.
Published Apr. 20, 2012
How to bring clients to you