Women Entrepreneurs

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.

Cheryl Newton Architect, LLC

It seems like yesterday. It was February 4, 2010. I had been working for various architect firms for the previous 15 years and was kicking around the idea to start up my own business. I live in Glastonbury, Connecticut and was visiting our Chamber of Commerce and was asking the people there some basic questions dealing with setting up my legal entity. They suggested I meet the two mentors from SCORE who provide free business mentoring in the community. I set up a meeting. I met Jim Cirilli and Mark Cutler and it was the beginning of an amazing journey which continues to this day. I remember looking at the SCORE logo on the documents they had with them; “For the life of your business” and thinking what that really meant. 

In my business, I get the greatest compliments from those clients who have referred their friends and family to me. Over the last year, I have referred 6 of my friends and associates to SCORE. This is the greatest compliment I can give.

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Owner/Founder
Cheryl Newton
My Location
Glastonbury CT 06033
United States
How SCORE Helped

Over the last two years I have been blessed with the advice, friendship and support of my SCORE mentors. Mark and Jim continued to be my primary mentors but there were dozens of other specialists brought in to assist me with everything from business planning, to sales planning and execution, to putting together a marketing plan and then assisting me to find the right tools to reach my target audience to planning and executing a public relations plan. I found SCORE specialists in every functional area there to support me under the umbrella of my two main mentors who have helped me double my business the last two years.

I am a woman wearing many hats. I am a wife. I am a mother. I am the owner operator of a growing architecture firm in Connecticut. I am often asked how I have been able to grow what is often a one person show as chief cook and bottle washer. I tell them about SCORE. I tell them that on my team is an army of experienced people who volunteer their time and who have been there and done that and help me discover the right ways to grow my business and grow it profitably. 

Among the team of SCORE volunteers who I have worked with over the years, included David LaBeau who had retired from SLAM, the largest firm in the area, a firm I had worked for and a man I had great respect for.  There was Jim Cirilli, a sales executive who gave me the courage to go for it, who taught me the power of positive thinking. Through this power of positive thinking, a lesson he was teaching me while he battled against the terrible cancer, I have exceeded the goals established in my strategic plan. Jim and David are now gone but their learnings stay with me every day.

I am still growing and I am still relying upon Mark and the Greater Hartford Score team, my army of specialists I can call upon during my time of need. I am still out there telling the world about SCORE. It’s the best compliment I can give. 

Shoptimize

I have a deep passion for helping women advance and have put this passion into my business which I have named Shoptimize . Shoptimize is a shopping website where customers can advance women as they shop. Women aged 35-64 come for the cause and come back for our cool products ranging from eco-friendly items to luxury handbags. Women have 80% of the purchasing power in this country. On Shoptimize they can use it to shop women to the top.

In addition to advancing the women-led companies whose products we exclusively feature, we give back 1% of our after-tax profits to nonprofits that advance women. When women profit, we all profit, including Shoptimize.

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Owner/Founder
Donna Haghighat
My Location
West Hartford CT
United States
How SCORE Helped

As a brand new small business, I was thrilled to learn about SCORE.  SCORE is amazing in many ways, but the most important two are that it is a free and confidential service that connects the entrepreneur with mentors with the expertise we need when we need it.

The Greater Hartford SCORE has connected me to several great mentors with special expertise that helps me in my particular line of business.  Mark Cutler, my lead mentor and the Chairman of Greater Hartford SCORE has amazing connections and the ability to quickly determine who to bring in as a mentor for a particular entrepreneur.

In my case, I have worked with a couple of amazing resources at SCORE in addition to Mark  including Barry Pilver re social media,  Kathy Rocha on strategic planning and business framework and Jeff Brine on Legal. In addition, Mark was actually able to bring on a fellow SCORE mentee as my mentor due to some similarities in our business model. I am grateful for having Azam Saeed from New England Mercantile Group on my team.

As a solopreneur just starting out, I am literally doing it all, from the most mundane of clerical  and bookkeeping tasks to strategic business decisions. SCORE mentors help me tremendously to stay focused on the higher level decisions.

I have been fortunate to have been exposed to SCORE’s role in Northeast Utilities Supplier Development program and can only applaud them for their contribution to minority business growth in the region.

I can’t recommend SCORE highly enough both for entrepreneurs as well as mentors.  I have already told several entrepreneurs that they must check into their local SCORE which can be a critical resource for them. It certainly has been and continues to be, for me.

Project Genesis

Project Genesis was founded in 1991 as a non-profit corporation dedicated to serving Connecticut adults and students who have disabilities. While our main office is located in Willimantic, our services are available in every county in the state. We serve over 200 individuals per year, some of whom participate in short-term job supports and many of whom receive long-term educational, vocational and life-skills supports. 

We believe in…

Individualized Services: Each person receiving services is unique and deserves to have our support focused on their own, specific dreams and goals. Since our inception in 1991 Project Genesis has been committed to individualized services and this has set us apart.

Trust: One of our strongest guiding principles is the belief that the relationships between our consumers and our staff are key to the development of productive services. When there is a relationship of trust people are better able to strive and to achieve their best.

Honesty: We have a commitment to open and honest communication. No organization is perfect and we at Project Genesis try to own our mistakes just as we celebrate our successes. We welcome the opinions of our consumers and we regularly request information about how we are doing. Both informal communication and satisfaction surveys provide us with information about how we can do our jobs better.

At Project Genesis we never stop trying to do our best. It is, simply, what you deserve. 

See video
Owner/Founder
Virginia Kerensky
My Location
Willimantic CT 06226
United States
Year Company Formed
2009
How SCORE Helped

"They valued what we did [here] as strongly as we did.....You will never find such a broad group of experts."

Replacement Lens Express

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Owner/Founder
Stephanie Bealing
My Location
Plainville CT
United States
How SCORE Helped

"I've been blown away by all the help I've gotten..... I'm hoping there's no last meeting!"

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