Women Entrepreneurs

Think Like a Scientist! LLC

Coleen Herbst and Jodi Wooten began teaching together at a local preschool in 2007, teaching three-year-olds as well as a Pre-K enrichment class. With their own passion for science, the enrichment class evolved into one focused on science, and the teachers found that preschoolers also love learning about science. They also created a Camp for a Cure, a science-based camp that funds their annual participation in the Susan G. Komen three-day Walk for a Cure.

The teachers began to dream of opening their own business teaching science to young children. Think Like a Scientist! (TLAS!) was born in 2009 when a local private school began searching for a science program for their young students and partnered with Herbst and Wooten. Finally In 2013 TLAS! opened its own location in West Chester.

TLAS! offers science classes and holds private birthday parties for children ages three to six. Herbst and Wooten are the only employees. A TLAS! session consists of one 2.5 hour class a week for four weeks and costs $125.  TLAS! currently offers four classes a week with total enrollment of about 50 children. They also average two birthday parties a month, with a cost of $250 per party. One day a week, they also teach TLAS! on site at St. Agnes School.

 

For the 2014-15 school year, TLAS! is planning to open the studio for an additional day each week, which would add about 40 more students. They also want to add a new Saturday class that meets once a month for children 6-8 year olds, with target enrollment of 40 students.

 

TLAS! met both its revenue expectations for the 2013-14 school year and also all its business goals.  Adding the class for 6-8 year olds and opening the studio an additional day will generate significant additional revenue.

 

Herbst and Wooten say they reached out to SCORE because “Teachers by trade we knew just how to execute our curriculum. Business folk we are not but we were eager to learn to be! We contacted SCORE and enrolled in their Grow Your Business series.”  Working with counselors Ana Nitica and Frank Millheim, TLAS! got assistance in areas including marketing, web planning, social media and finance. 

About SCORE they say, “SCORE never fails to provide us with a business professional no matter the area of expertise. Thanks to the support of many SCORE volunteers we have developed the skills necessary to create and manage our business. SCORE continues to support us as we move forward to grow our business.” 

Owner/Founder
Coleen Herbst and Jodi Wooten

TCA Thomas Comitta Associates, Inc.

Thomas Comitta Associates, Inc. is a town planning and landscape architecture firm serving public and private clients throughout Pennsylvania, Delaware, and Maryland since 1981. Their team of certified planners, registered landscape architects, and LEED certified professionals has extensive experience with client-centered land planning and site design services.

In 2009, TCA had its highest revenues in its 35+ year history.  In 2010, in the face of the global financial crisis, the bottom fell out of the state and regional real-estate and development industries and TCA revenue dropped significantly.  Finding that the old model of business was no longer working, the Comittas realized they needed to reinvent their business model and revamp their budget. 

In early 2011, TCA was referred to SCORE by West Chester University’s College of Business and Public Administration. Counselors Bob Fedor and George Edwards created a SCORE advisory board that recommended a zero-based budget with models based on a worst-case, likely, and best-case revenue scenarios. Working from the worst-case scenario budget, TCA cut expenses, reduced personnel and benefits, refinanced mortgages, consolidated other debt and froze non-essential operating expenses.   

While revenues are not back to 2009 levels, they are quickly climbing.  In 2012, actual revenue was 60% higher than their budgeted "worst case scenario" and grew in 2013 by another 8%. TCA is on track to increase revenue by another 8-15% in 2014.

In 2014, TCA hired one full-time and one part-time employee, with the prospect of adding another full time professional, bringing total staff to four full-time and four part-time. 

CFO Carolyn Comitta says TCA’s SCORE advisors are the first call for any business question.  “SCORE helped TCA survive the great recession and revamp our business model and budget for success in the new economy.”  SCORE is now helping TCA plan for the future, crafting scenarios for business succession, cyber security, and to update their personnel manual for the “new economy.”   

Owner/Founder
Thomas and Carolyn Comitta

Mother & Daughter Duo Launch Life Long Dream Boutique

Date
Sun, 2014-05-25 21:43

Houston, TX, May 25, 2014 --(PR.com)-- Two Elle’s Boutique announces a new online boutique that carries high-quality, cute and stylish clothes and accessories for women. Two Elle’s Boutique provides top customer service, high quality fashion, and ever changing designs to keep customers coming back. Scouring the market for a variety of designers to fit every budget, high end brands include Hunter Bell, winner of Fashion Star and small town new designer, Lauren James.

SCORE Has Been Helping Small Businesses Start, Expand For 50 Years

Date
Sun, 2014-05-18 09:53

RALEIGH, N.C.—Travis Andrews had an idea to expand her and her husband’s CrossFit Smithfield gym by offering wakeboarding classes.

To do this, however, she needed the help and advice of someone who knew how to see her idea through.

So she turned to SCORE, a national nonprofit organization that offers free counseling and low-cost workshops to entrepreneurs and small-business owners.

Weather or Not Forecasts to Save Clients’ Money and Time

Date
Tue, 2014-05-13 12:23

Though it was in the 80s in Kansas City a week ago, meteorologist Sara Croke was talking snow. She was in Cincinnati at the North American Snow Conference as part of the American Public Works Association, discussing emergency management and winter maintenance.

Planning for weather is all in a day’s work for Croke, whose company Weather or Not focuses on forecasting weather for schools, municipalities and businesses such as construction companies, utilities and road crews.

Petite Fleury Bakery Succeeds with SCORE Mentor

Laurie Williams-Fleury, a former executive in the fashion industry always had dreams of starting a new career as a bakery owner. Starting off as a "serious home baker" and then joining the Bread Bakers Guild of America, Laurie was ready to embark on her new career journey. Before she could begin, she knew she needed some resources to help her turn her dreams into a reality, so she turned to SCORE.

Owner/Founder
Laurie Williams-Fleury
My Location
Brooklyn NY
United States
What's Great About My Mentor?

"SCORE has been and continues to be an invaluable resource for me. Rita, my SCORE counselor is a wonderful advisor, mentor, motivator and has been as invested in me, my company and my future as any family member could be."

How SCORE Helped

"As I transitioned from a fashion industry executive to a small business owner, I knew it was important to use every available resource to guide me in making the best decisions for my new company." Rita Jackson, Laurie's mentor was able to help the new business owner construct a three year financial for Petite Fleury Bakery. Laurie also attended SCORE workshops that covered technology and the internet for small businesses. "Navigating a startup can be challenging, but with the assistance of SCORE it made the process less intimidating. Pairing the professional baking skills I obtained with the business skills from SCORE has been the greatest benefit for my startup bakery."

Gilded Pear Gallery Finds Success with SCORE

Working for local art and framing galleries in Cedar Rapids for many years, Suzy Mc-Grane Hop decided to take the leap and start her own art business. Finding inspiration from within, Suzy named her business, Gilder Pear Gallery after her own art work. This artist who holds certifications from The International Society of Appraisers and Certified Appraiser of Personal Property shows how learning new things can create a masterpiece.

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Owner/Founder
Suzy McGrane-Hop
My Location
Cedar Rapids IA
United States
Year Company Formed
2011
How SCORE Helped

In 2011, Suzy attended a local SCORE workshop entitled "How to Start Your Own Business." Soon after, Gilded Pear Gallery was up and running.  Within the first year, Gilded Pear's business doubled then tripled the following year. Susan's gallery hosts events for artists and she provides art consultations and appraisals. As the gallery continues to grow, Suzy plans to hire more staff soon.

Ask SCORE

            I own a small advertising agency, as well as being a wife and mother. I constantly read about women who “have it all” and would love to be one of them. How do they do it?

About the Author

 

          This column is brought to you by the Merrimack Valley Chapter of SCORE, with nearly 70 current and former business executives available to provide free, confidential, one-on-one business mentoring and training workshops for area businesses. Call 603-666-7561 or visit merrimackvalley.score.org for information on mentoring, upcoming 

Chosen Resumes, LLC Finds Success With SCORE Mentor

In order to have more control over business practices and customer relations, Marni Vyn, formerly a resume writer for a national resume writing company, decided to start her own company. Marni, who has a strong educational background (Master of Business Administration and Master of Social Work), had little hands-on experience launching and running a business. The new entrepreneur turned to SCORE to help her new company Chosen Resumes, LLC succeed.

Owner/Founder
Marni Vyn
My Location
Grand Rapids MI
United States
Year Company Formed
2011
My Successes

Chosen Resumes, LLC has increased its sales over the last three years and is on track to meet its 2014 sales goal. The organization has provided professional services to clients ranging from chief operations officer's to IT technician's.

What's Great About My Mentor?

"In additional to the practical business assistance, Doug has helped me to overcome intangible obstacles. His support and guidance has provided me with the confidence I need to grow as a business owner. Doug is exceptionally good at asking tough questions. He has a supportive style that pushes me to stretch and go beyond what I think I can achieve."

How SCORE Helped

"I felt confident in the content of the resume writing work but nervous about the back-end management of the business," says Marni. Marni's mentor (Doug Singer) helped her with developing her business plan to include short-term and long-term goals along with an emphasis on: sales, marketing, and finance. Doug also encouraged the resume writer to perform a detailed competitor analysis and identify what made her business unique and the added value it provided to consumers. SCORE also provided the new business owner with relevant templates and online tools.

Ventavia Research Group Succeeds wtih SCORE

Having over 10 years of research experience in various areas such as: psychiatric trials, vaccine studies, hypertension, smoking cessation and so much more,Olivia Ray who recently became a new mother, knew she needed flexibility in her schedule if she continued working. Instead of working as a contractor for various projects or working in a large clinical research group, this new mom opted to start her own clinical research center, Ventavia Research Group. Ventavia Research Group was the perfect fit for her new lifestyle, allowing her the freedom to be able to take care of her child.

Owner/Founder
Oliva Ray, CCRC
My Location
Fort Worth TX
United States
My Successes

Because of her diligent networking skills, after 3 short months of opening, Olivia successfully secured her first client. Olivia and her staff are participating in a study for a Clostridium Difficile vaccine. Clostiridium Difficle is a disease that hospitalizes 350,000 individuals each year.

 

 

How SCORE Helped

Olivia's mentors helped the research professional turn her four page business plan into a solid 50 page plan that consisted of a budget and estimated cash flow. With the complete business plan for Ventavia Research Group in place, Olivia was able to successfully receive a $150,000 line of credit that was used to launch her business.

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