Minority Entrepreneurs

Questionaire for ascertaining the general overall business condition in terms of financial, management, marketing, and customer relationship strengths/weaknesses.

White Paper that addresses the prerequisite talents and traits for starting a business and describes the characteristics of a successful entrepreneurs.

Ameravant

Ameravant, Inc. was established as a web design and development company by Michael Kramer in 2001. No stranger to business, Michael had an impressive track record in real estate sales and business consulting. The name Ameravant - a combination of America and “avant garde” – was intended as a symbol of the forward-looking business he was creating.  Michael had already identified an important business opportunity arising from the rapidly expanding role of the internet in commerce - hence his decision to set up a company which would design and develop customized websites and, specifically, empower owners to maintain their own content without paying a webmaster. Websites would be faster, cross browser compatible, and most importantly, search engine friendly, and customer support would be offered.  Ameravant also commenced its own web hosting operation, and thus enabled the company to support its customers even more effectively.

By 2004 the company began hiring, and the number of employees grew to seven as the business became increasingly successful.  However, by late 2008 the market was declining, and where previously the company had been able to turn a very high percentage of enquiries into business, the closing rate had dropped to 20%. The company was running into difficulty.  As the key salesperson, all of Michael’s time was spent on selling, and he had less time to work on daily operations or even send out business quotes.  This resulted in fewer sales and less business.

At this point Michael met with SCORE. He attended a business seminar where he listened to various presentations, and subsequently met two of its counselors, Henri Bainou and Gary Kravetz.

One of the best pieces of advice I was offered by SCORE was that when a client walks through the door with money in his hand, make sure you sell him something.

The advice was simple. See if you can come up with a product you can offer on a turnkey basis at a very competitive price. For Ameravant, this meant offering a basic website package, which offered all the important features required for a simple business, at a low price. To this, additional customized options could be added according to the clients’ business requirements.  The effect of this was twofold.  Firstly, the cost of the basic package made Ameravant extremely competitive in the local market. Secondly, by standardizing the package on offer, Ameravant was able to streamline its quotes, and make these available to customers almost immediately. These changes had an immediate impact, and Ameravant was able to convert a higher percentage of enquiries into business. Now the company was able to readily quote a price for everything from the most basic package to the most sophisticated, with any number of “add on” options, e.g. billing and payment systems, 360 degree panoramic tours, testimonial systems, event registrations, catalogs, online stores, etc.  This range of choices enabled the needs of a wide range of industries to be met.

As a result of this business turnaround, the company was able to retain almost all its employees and Michael was able to devote more time to business growth.  This led to the development of business-to-business operations. Because of the level of sophistication of Ameravant’s products, local competitors are now purchasing these to sell to their clients. This is particularly beneficial to Ameravant as this lowers support costs.

Now Ameravant combines the most advanced technology with the most rapid of turnovers.  New websites can be created within three days (in some cases even less) and its clients now include some major Santa Barbara institutions. The company website at www.ameravant.com illustrates the wide range of customers who have used its services. Michael continues to draw on the services of SCORE periodically.

And the future? Michael is optimistic. The company’s goals now include plans to expand its business-to-business commercial activities and also target more clients who need larger, more complex websites for their business operations. He has no doubt much of the company’s current success is due to SCORE.

“SCORE’s professional advice came at a crucial time for the company. It changed everything, and set us on a great path to further business success.”

  

My Location
Santa Barbara CA
United States

This business resource guide will cover many different aspects of starting a company here in town and will help you think about many of the questions one should ask before opening a business.

Descriptions for every section of a Business Plan

The Translation Link

Translation Link—which offers translation services as well as marketing, document editing, consulting and other services in a variety of languages—hit the market and took off. After signing its first client in January 2007, by year two the company showed growth of 1,300 percent.

"Through the Internet, we found a local mentor Greg Hoffman," Alina Mugford explains. "First of all, I was new in the country in terms of how to go on doing business in the U.S. My experience in business is long in Venezuela. He helped me to do things here in the U.S. business-wise and all the steps that you should do to start a company. He also helped to narrow down my target market. I wanted to start big. He made me rethink my target."

http://www.thetranslationlink.net/

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Owner/Founder
Alina Mugford
My Location
Cortez FL
United States
Year Company Formed
2006
My Successes

"The company just took off on year two. It was something unbelievable," Alina says, noting that the success came "after very hard work; 24-7 is not an understatement."

Alina was nearly 50 when she immigrated to the United States in 2003. Although she had extensive business experience in Venezuela and was a college professor, the Cuban-born Alina didn’t know a lot about doing business in the U.S. "I don’t want to sound trite but I’m a good example of the American dream," says Alina, who became a U.S. citizen 1 1/2 years ago. "Hard work, hard work, hard work pays off. When you put your body, your heart, your soul into what you want to do, you can do it."

"When I was 44-years-old, I had a stroke. I immigrated to the United States when I was turning 50, and I started all over again," she says. "Having faith, vision in the future, internal spirit; I see it as a driving force within myself. No obstacle is insurmountable. If you set your mind to it, you can achieve it."

Translation Link is the recipient of the 2010 SCORE Award for Outstanding Small Business Launch by a 50 Entrepreneur.

What's Great About My Mentor?

SCORE mentor Greg Hoffman helped me understand the steps needed to start a company in the U.S.

How SCORE Helped

After learning that there was a terrific need for translation services in Florida's Manatee and Sarasota Counties, Alina began investigating business resources to help start her own service. She learned about SCORE through her local Chamber of Commerce, and also went online to find a mentor

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