Women Entrepreneurs

Partnering Resources Succeeds By Using Advice From SCORE Mentor

During her career in the field of organizational development and change, Maya Townsend helped clients align people and resources to achieve their goals. So when she began planning her own enterprise called Partnering Resources, Maya looked to SCORE to fill her knowledge gaps.

Owner/Founder
Maya Townsend
My Location
Cambridge MA
United States
Year Company Formed
2004
My Successes

“It’s a challenge to maintain a steady cash flow during natural ebb and flows of work,” she says. “Pete mentored me to anticipate this issue and identify ways of mitigating those effects. With his guidance, I’ve secured several long-term clients and developed partnerships with colleagues in complementary fields. Although most start-ups don’t break even in their first year, Pete has me on track to make a profit.”

Recently Maya appeared in Women's Business Boston magazine. She is currently collaborating on a book about how complex organizations can improve decision-making processes.

“I’m very busy, very happy and very grateful to SCORE,” she says. “Everything goes back to the thinking I did with Pete when I was developing my business plan. He and Bob have been accessible, encouraging and very knowledgeable.”

What's Great About My Mentor?

A call to Worcester, MA SCORE put Maya in touch with mentor Peter Allen, a retired business development consultant. “Pete was absolutely tremendous,” Maya says. “He coached me through my business plan and asked challenging questions that I hadn’t considered. He got me to think about all the practical aspects to running a business—projecting finances, handling insurance—and how to do them. What’s more, his advice helped me land three clients before I formally started my practice.”

Even with such a fast start, Maya knew she needed a solid marketing strategy. To get objective feedback on her Web site, she tapped SCORE’s online counseling resources and contacted Bob Ross. “Bob critiqued my ideas about format and content and provided examples of other website to look at,” she says. “It was so easy, yet I received so much valuable information and advice.”

How SCORE Helped

SCORE helped Maya by setting the foundation for success with her business plan. SCORE played an important role in guiding Maya through her first year in business—a critical “make-or-break” period for many entrepreneurs.

Maya still works closely with her SCORE mentors. Maya says, “SCORE offers such a tremendous service, I can’t believe everyone doesn’t use it. The quality of mentoring and advice is great. I couldn’t have gotten this far this fast without them.”

VIPs - Veterinary Services Succeeds with the help of SCORE Mentor

“Our animals make us feel better. Let me help them feel the best they can,” insists SCORE client, Christine Woodford, DVM, owner and founder of Veterinary Integrative Performance Services, Inc. (VIPs).

Owner/Founder
Christine Woodford
My Location
1661 O'Connor Road
Mt. Vernon IA 52314
United States
My Successes

Veterinary Integrative Performance Services, Inc. (VIPs)

“Our animals make us feel better. Let me help them feel the best they can,” insists SCORE client, Christine Woodford, DVM, owner and founder of Veterinary Integrative Performance Services, Inc. (VIPs). Dr. Woodford graduated Summa Cum Laude from Creighton University in Omaha, Nebraska, in 1994 with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Chemistry. She then received a Master of Science in Organic Chemistry from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1996. In 2002, Dr. Woodford graduated with honors from Iowa State University and received her Doctorate in Veterinary Medicine.

Dr. Woodford, a licensed veterinarian, worked in regular practice for six years. While she was working, she went on for advanced training in animal chiropractic and veterinary acupuncture. In 2006, the American Veterinary Chiropractic Association certified her in Animal Chiropractic. In 2007, the Chi Institute in Florida certified her in Equine Veterinary Acupuncture.

Jim Williams, SCORE mentor and counselor, first met with Dr. Woodford in September 2006 and has met with her about once a month since 2007 when she first began to think about someday opening her own veterinary practice. When Dr. Christine, as most people know her, first met Jim, the assignment he gave to her was to write a business plan. She states that writing the business plan was “painful” but she admits that it was a “very important process and one of the key tools that has contributed to the success of her new company.”

After working through the start up worksheets provided by SCORE, Dr. Christine realized that she could start her own veterinary practice specializing in chiropractic and acupuncture for small animals and horses. She left her previous employer on good terms and was able to retain her existing chiropractic and acupuncture clients. In May 2008, she founded VIPs. Her overall goal is to keep the horse’s body balanced through chiropractic and acupuncture to optimize the horse’s health and performance. Chiropractic is a drug free approach to animal health care. It focuses on restoring proper motion to the spinal column and limbs to keep the nervous system working optimally. The goal of acupuncture is to unblock stagnation and allow “Qi” to flow properly. This restores balance and harmony to the animal.

Since Dr. Christine offers very specialized services, she knew she would have to cover a wide area to reach her clients. She travels to different areas of Iowa each month to provide those services. Dr. Christine says, “Managing the travel throughout the state and the work schedule was the toughest part of my first year in my own business.”

After that first year, she began renting office space at Crystal Creek Equine Center. This is a premiere horse facility in Marion conveniently located one-fourth mile north of Highway 151. This location allows her to work on small animals safely in a climate-controlled office. It also has a large indoor arena and an area where she can work on horses. Currently she sees patients at her office two to three days a week and travels to other areas of the state two days a week. When asked what the biggest surprise of owning her own business was, she answered, “The amount of time it takes to ‘manage’ and the need for consistent/constant marketing, accounting practices, time management; someone told me that ‘starting your own business is like taking care of a newborn child—it takes constant care and attention.’”

Marketing has been an important factor in the success of VIPs. As Jim Williams stated, “marketing is announcing who you are and what you do.” Dr. Christine writes educational articles for local animal owner magazines. She has taught courses at Kirkwood Community College. She also has a website, www.Vipsvet.net. She has her logo and contact information on the sides of her vehicle that she refers to as her “mobile billboard.” She also reaches prospects through direct mail. About two weeks before she plans to be in a certain part of the state, she sends post cards to her existing contacts. Even if that client’s animal is doing fine and does not need treatment that month, the reminder postcards generate a tremendous amount of word of mouth advertising and she receives referrals from satisfied clients.

Dr. Christine created a tri-fold informational brochure that explains her services. She has contacted other veterinarians, human chiropractors and acupuncturists, and pet groomers, boarders, and trainers. They display her business cards and brochures at their places of business. She joined Linn County Le Tip, a local networking group of business professionals. She gives educational talks and demonstrations for animal enthusiasts.

Dr. Christine says the greatest satisfaction of owning her own business is in “Helping animals feel better; providing hope to animal cases when traditional veterinary medicine has left them with a poor prognosis.” She states that she gets continuing satisfaction from the “feedback from her clients telling me that their animals feel better and are happier. In addition to her highly specialized services, other distinguishing characteristics of Dr. Christine’s business is that she schedules all appointments—no emergency services—and that she always collects for her services at the time of service; this contributes to her low overhead. When asked what have been the most important keys to her success, Dr. Christine agrees that a well thought out business plan, including a detailed marketing plan is high on her list and that she could not have done that without the help of her SCORE mentor. Dr. Christine states that Jim has been a mentor on every aspect of her business, including making suggestions about how to dress to make the best impression on clients.

 

A proactive approach to managing potential disasters may help mitigate the effects on your business, and lessen the time and resources necessary to resume normal operations.

 

SCORE is committed to helping small business owners with disaster preparedness and relief. Below is a comprehensive list of helpful resources.

Add-A-View Murals and Prints

I came to SCORE with the strong determination to start my own business but with the frustration of not knowing where to begin.

Owner/Founder
Diane R. Mouzon
My Successes

I came to SCORE with the strong determination to start my own business but with the frustration of not knowing where to begin.

My mentors at SCORE immediately made me feel comfortable. They led me by the hand through a step-by-step analysis of myself and the market I wanted to enter. This helped me to further define my product line and identify all the possible markets that I could target.

They also kept me motivated when I felt discouraged at what I thought were stumbling blocks, helping me to see the other roads that I could take to achieve my goals.

I consider the members of SCORE an invaluable source of knowledge to anybody either starting or considering starting their own business and I will be forever thankful for this wonderful service.

Turner Government and Public Affairs

Entrepreneurs frequently cannot be as objective about their companies as they should be. I am lucky and grateful that my SCORE advisors are always available and willing to share their years of wisdom and experience to help me grow my business.

Owner/Founder
Caren Turner
My Successes

My ScoreBergen counselors have been an essential part of my business success.

Both of them have established and run their own successful businesses. They now magnanimously donate their time to help my business avoid pitfalls, overcome significant obstacles and reach for greater goals and objectives.

Entrepreneurs frequently cannot be as objective about their companies as they should be. I am lucky and grateful that my SCORE advisors are always available and willing to share their years of wisdom and experience to help me grow my business.
 

Small businesses on the Internet are racing up beside large multi-national corporations on the information superhighway and giving them quite a scare. On the Internet a small business like can compete with, and even surpass, large national firms.

E-Commerce Lowers Business Costs
A global business on the Internet does not require bricks and mortar or staff around the world, just a Web site and perhaps one central warehouse. .

E-Commerce Is Accessible Anywhere, Anytime
The audience on the Internet is global.

E-Commerce Strengthens Customer Service
A Web site allows a business to address its customers on a personal level.

E-Commerce Develops Customer Loyalty

A list of suggested service providers for SCORE Clients

Wildflower Linen

"If you need help, there are people right there [at SCORE], with amazing knowledge. And free! ” -Youngsong Martin, Owner of Wildflower Linen.

See video
Owner/Founder
Youngsong Martin
My Location
Fountain Valley CA
United States
Employees
12
Year Company Formed
2002
My Successes

A wedding reception, party or other special event should be a memorable experience for hosts and guests alike. But to fashion designer Youngsong Martin, something just didn’t look right.  By drawing on her extensive experience in the world of apparel, Young felt she could “dress” the entire event by creating elegantly tailored slipcovers and linens, and in the process, help define a memory-making tone of glamour. That idea led to the formation of Wildflower Linens.

Almost immediately, Young saw her idea take off among Southern California’s event organizers. In fact, she was afraid her business would grow too fast. 

“You don’t really realize what’s involved with running a business until you actually do it,” Young explains. “I was comfortable with my marketing approach, but I definitely needed help with the management and financial aspects.”

With SCORE’s help, Wildflower Linen has a solid financial and marketing foundation to support continued growth. Corporations, banquet managers, event organizers and bridal reception planners across Southern California now call on Young to assist with events in private homes, and in venues as diverse as the Ritz-Carlton Hotels in Laguna Niguel and Pasadena, the Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Birthplace, and luxurious charter yachts in Newport Beach. And, with several Hawaiian resorts now among her clientele, Young’s company is poised to serve party planners and event venues nationwide.

What's Great About My Mentor?

“It took only a few conversations with Terri to know that I could trust this organization,” Young says. “She understood immediately the kind of business I wanted, and was so enthusiastic about helping me. I couldn’t believe she and other business veterans would be willing do so much and not receive a penny for their efforts.” 

Former sales and marketing professional Terri Carr helped Young refine her business goals and reviewed her marketing program. 

Young also began working with Jim Anderson, who used his extensive background in finance and management to review Wildflower Linen’s accounting and financial practices. He also helped with issues such as expense tracking, inventory control, taxes and planning/budgeting.

“It’s one thing to think you know where your money’s going, but it’s quite another to actually write expenses down and see how they affect your operations,” Young says. “Jim helps me analyze expenses and determine if they are necessary to help keep my business growing. It’s almost like I’m getting an MBA from him!”

How SCORE Helped

Young remembered hearing about SCORE several years earlier during the launch of another business venture, and decided to give them a call. Young continues to rely on Jim Anderson and SCORE to help in monitoring her company’s financial health, as well as other issues such as employee benefits stuff and insurance. “Small businesses often fail because they don’t get help,” Young says. “They can find everything they need at SCORE, and for no charge. At some point, I hope to become a SCORE mentor and provide other entrepreneurs the same kind of expert assistance I’ve been blessed to receive from Jim and Terri.”

“I liked the idea of working with retired executives who understand what small business is all about. They have a track record, but they also had to start somewhere too.” says Youngsong Martin.

Data sources of marketing and demographic data for client use, primarily for Business Plans

Champion Tutoring Finds Success With Advice From SCORE Mentor

School teacher Audrey Menard did her best every day to generate an appreciation and understanding of mathematics. But at the end of every class, she was overwhelmed by the number of students that asked her for extra help. She spent most of her spare time working with them one-on-one. There was such a strong demand for tutoring that she would have to tutor full time in order to reach them all.

Then the idea hit her: Why not create a business to meet student demand for extra assistance? But she was a teacher, not a business person. She knew about education and believed in the importance of individualized tutoring, but she didn't know the first thing about starting and managing a business. Following a friend's advice, Menard began business counseling with SCORE Mentor John MacDonald and regularly attended SCORE workshops.

Owner/Founder
Audrey Menard
My Location
Charlottesville VA
United States
Employees
30
Year Company Formed
1994
My Successes

Champion Tutoring opened its doors with four to five tutors who offered math, English, special education and reading tutoring primarily to junior high school students. MacDonald helped Menard to market Champion Tutoring to students and parents and to recruit tutors. She used direct mailings and radio and newspaper ads, but her presentations to Charlottesville schools proved to be the most effective. She visited Charlottesville's guidance counselors, teachers and principals and presented Champion Tutoring. The schools were very receptive and soon let parents and students know where to turn for extra help.

Champion Tutoring has grown substantially in just four years. Menard now employs around 30 tutors that offer tutoring in a full range of subjects including, math, English, reading, special education, science, social studies, GRE prep, SAT prep and foreign languages. Word has traveled so quickly about the quality of Champion Tutoring that advertising is no longer necessary; nearly all clients come from referrals. Between 1996 and 1997, revenues increased by $35,000 and in the last year, profits increased by another $34,000.

UPDATE: Champion Tutoring has since been sold to new owner, Anna C. Patchias. Patchias has worked to transform Champion Tutoring and give the company a new fun filled spin on education. Patchias has worked with SCORE since 2004 and uses the advice her mentors have given her to give Champion Tutoring an edge.

What's Great About My Mentor?

John MacDonald helped Menard transform her business idea into reality. He provided Audrey with assistance in all aspects of developing the business, including creating a business plan, developing a marketing and sales strategy and managing cash flow. MacDonald's mentoring and Menard's diligence soon paid off. What once seemed like a far-fetched idea became a profitable business.

How SCORE Helped

“I wouldn’t have the success I do today without my SCORE mentor. He helped me with EVERY business aspect and got me where I am today.” says Audrey.

Syndicate content