Women Entrepreneurs

Steve Strauss, founder of www.theselfemployed.com, tells why the "reply all" option on your email may be dangerous and how to use it carefully.

Steve Strauss headshot After going back and forth trying to get an answer about a potential big gig from a very busy guy named James, a good friend of mine decided he needed some help. So he tried to shoot me an email, wanting my feedback as to what he should do next.

But instead of forwarding his correspondence with James to me, my friend mistakenly hit the dreaded “reply all” button:

About the Author

Steven D. Strauss is a lawyer and writer and is one of the country's leading experts on small business as well as an international business speaker. The best-selling author of 17 books, his latest is the all-new 3rd ed. of The Small Business Bible. You can listen to his weekly podcast, Small Business Success Powered by Greatland, visit his new website for the self-employed, TheSelfEmployed, follow him on Twitter, and "like" TheSelfEmployed on Facebook. You can e-mail Steve at: sstrauss@mrallbiz.com. © Steven D. Strauss

Entrepreneur Loves to Accessorize - Steve Trainor

Date
Thu, 2013-05-23 15:20

It just seemed to kind of fall into place for Grace Madison.

By the age of 24, she had worked retail, been a fashion model, helped place advertising, worked in customer service at APAC, did promotions for a hip hop-rap record label (G-UNIT), earned a Scott Community College degree in business management with a marketing certificate, and scored with SCORE.

She learned a great deal from several people in the SCORE program, citing retired executive Dan Lyphout of Davenport, in particular.

Wonder Works Soars With Advice From SCORE Mentor

When the hospital she worked at was bought out, Christine Osborne, an occupational therapist and marketing director, went home one day and told her husband, “My creativity’s gone. I can’t do it again for another company.”  The antidote for Christine and colleague Dan Morrisey was to open a retail toy store that showcased the “wonder and magic of fun.”  Since those early days in 1990, Wonder Works has become a model citizen of the Charleston community with 4 locations that greatly enhance the enjoyment and success of locals' lives.

www.wonderworkscharleston.com

Owner/Founder
Christine Osborne
My Location
Mt. Pleasant SC 29464
United States
Employees
30
Year Company Formed
1990
My Successes

Everything about her Wonder Works toy stores is one-of-a-kind. With an amazing and knowledgeable staff, over 2,500 hand-picked toys, creative free events that draw thousands and thousands of people in the community, and providing children with a platform to follow their dreams and charitable endeavors, Wonder Works creates an experience like no other for its customers. The mission of Wonder Works is four-pronged: to inspire its employees, customers, community and charities.

Wonder Works was named the 2013 Small “For Profit” Business of the Year by the Coastal chapter of SCORE.

And in 2013, Mayor Joseph P. Riley Jr., announced recently that Thursday, May 16 would be “Christine Osborne Day” in Charleston, due to all the contributions she has made over the years to the Charleston community, its children and its local charities.  To celebrate the honor, the four locations will collected even more donations for the four charities the store works with the most: Happy Wheels at MUSC Children’s Hospital, Abby’s Friends, Hugs for Hope, and Keys for Hope.

Hugs for Harper

What's Great About My Mentor?

Knowing very little pertaining to “retail,” Christine Osborne and her former partner, Dan Morrisey, reached out to volunteer SCORE mentor Bud Garforth in 1990, and he helped them lay the groundwork for the store's continued success. “We took his advice and contributing elements to the next level, and now have a business model that is so unique … and full of momentum,” said Christine.

Bud’s advice became invaluable from a business standpoint to include exceptional customer service tips, of which Wonder Works is known for in the region. For the first 3 years, Wonder Works did not make a large business decision, without first consulting Bud. Without Bud’s guidance, Wonder Works would currently not be in its present position with 4 successful stores. The groundwork and support provided was crucial in establishing Wonder Works mission and branding within the community.

The decision to begin growing the business came early on with a store catalog, then a physical store expansion into a location two doors down (tripling the selling square footage). Then the team decided to open a second location. With each growth initiative their SCORE mentor, Bud, assisted Wonder Works in reviewing the pros and cons of each choice, while sharing his “retail insight.” Bud’s ability to listen, provide necessary support when initiatives did or did not meet their intended targets, was a constant light. Christine says, “The unending support in these early years was EXTREMELY formative in helping develop Wonder Works into what it symbolizes for the community today…a place of wonder for individuals of all ages, where hopes and dreams do become reality.”

LooHoo, LLC Succeeds By Using Advice From SCORE Mentor

In 2010, new mom Cindy Prince created LooHoo Wool Dryer Balls as a reusable, energy-saving alternative to dryer sheets to help protect her family's health and the environment.  The product quickly caught on with friends and family who also wanted to limit their exposure to toxic chemicals, reduce laundry time, conserve energy and save money.  In no time, the high quality dryer balls were a hit with retailers and customers across the country.

www.loo-hoo.com

Owner/Founder
Cyndi Prince
My Location
Camden ME 04843
United States
Employees
1
Year Company Formed
2010
My Successes

Within 2 years in business, LooHoo had over 50 retailers carrying their product, including major outlets like Whole Foods.  The business and founder, Cyndi Prince, have been featured in InStyle Magazine, Green Child Magazine and as a cover story in Maine Biz.  In addition to being chosen as a Top Ten Green & Healthy Gift Idea by FOX channel 23's Good Day Maine, Cyndi was also chosen as a Leg Up winner by Spanx founder Sara Blakely.  The win allowed LooHoo brand to be exposed to the millions of Spanx customers across the country via the company's catalog, website and social media channels.

The next goal for LooHoo is to target business customers like hospitals and nursing homes. Cyndi has plans to increase production capacity by 4x which she says would allow her to employ 20 people.

What's Great About My Mentor?

Cyndi met Portland SCORE mentor Nancy Strojny at a women's networking luncheon and a strong mentoring relationship quickly ensued.  During the pair's monthly meetings, Nancy provides support and guidance on various challenges such as defining the long-term goals of the company, changing the layout of the website, dealing with legal issues around trademarks, changing the company name, developing a new brand, pricing, and recently, creating strategies for working with larger retailers.  Cyndi says that Nancy is "an invaluable mentor who is committed to her success."  She says she "continues to receive advice and expertise that helps her business grow and move in the right direction."

SCORE Advises Budding Business Owners - Vicki Vaughan

Date
Wed, 2013-05-15 10:35

Before Gabriele Hummels-Schucker took an entrepreneurial leap in March and opened her business, Schugga Bakery, she sought out advice from an outfit called SCORE.

Hummels-Schucker, a native of Germany, was determined to put her skills to work by opening a shop selling pastries from her homeland that range from a seven-layer cake to bread rolls and pretzels.

She got advice from Halbert Brown, the incoming president of SCORE's local chapter.

Oh, how we all wish we knew the secrets to getting your business’s website to the top of search engine results. Yes, you can pay for the right to be on top, and I’m not saying that isn’t worth trying if your budget allows, but that’s getting ahead of myself. Every entrepreneur has his or her own SEO battle story, and the methods that work for one company don’t always work for another. That said, here are some guidelines to get you started:

 

By Rieva Lesonsky

Oh, how we all wish we knew the secrets to getting your business’s website to the top of search engine results. Yes, you can pay for the right to be on top, and I’m not saying that isn’t worth trying if your budget allows, but that’s getting ahead of myself. Every entrepreneur has his or her own SEO battle story, and the methods that work for one company don’t always work for another. That said, here are some guidelines to get you started:

About the Author

Rieva Lesonsky headshotRieva Lesonsky is CEO of GrowBiz Media, a media company that helps entrepreneurs start and grow their businesses. Follow Rieva at twitter.com/rieva and visit her blog at SmallBizDaily.com.

Visit her website SmallBizTrendCast to get the scoop on business trends and sign up for Rieva’s free TrendCast reports.

SCORE Lauds Top Clients

Date
Tue, 2013-05-07 10:03

Before members and invited guests, Hagerstown’s SCORE chapter celebrated Small Business Month and the selection of its clients of the year at the April 26 awards luncheon at Always Ron’s in Hagerstown.

This year’s award winners were selected by the chapter’s board of directors from among more than 300 applicants mentored by the local organization.

Chosen as startup client of the year was Toni Ogden, owner/operator of Sour Sentiments, an online retail outlet offering a unique line of gifts, greeting cards and novelties.

Whether you are a newly minted entrepreneur or you’re a business that has been around for a dozen years, a critical element for small business success means knowing your numbers. Sponsored by Visa, This e-guide is designed to help you better understand what figures and accounting principles are important for your business. It also looks at different accounting software programs for your company and when is the right time to hire someone to keep your business growing.

Five Important Benefits

With improved knowledge of your company’s financial situation come numerous benefits for you as the owner. Here are five important benefits that come from being financially savvy about your business.

Career Shift: When Your Field Has Seen Better Days - Joanne Devereaux

Date
Fri, 2013-05-03 09:21

“'I’m done.' I had said it more than a few times. My 20-year career as a professional architectural photographer in Boston and Atlanta had been a long, slow fizzle. The question, 'What next?' had been in the back of my mind for some time as I endured the changes and diminishing income in my chosen profession. As a self-employed person with an entrepreneurial spirit, I wasn’t afraid of a challenge and, being in my 50s, I was too young to retire.

SCORE Helps New Business Owners Soar - Philip Franchine

Date
Thu, 2013-05-02 09:23

Nancy Lambert felt the urge to put her fashion skills to work a few years ago, but the former paralegal and alterations entrepreneur needed encouragement as well as business advice, so she turned to non-profit business consultants SCORE.

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