Women Entrepreneurs

MicroSpring Bacteria Business is Booming

For most of us, the word bacteria conjures images of infections and other unpleasantries. Yet one Lancaster County entrepreneur is putting specialized bacteria to work for his clients.

Owner/Founder
George Pearson
My Successes
For most of us, the word bacteria conjures images of infections and other unpleasantries. Yet one Lancaster County entrepreneur is putting specialized bacteria to work for his clients.
 
George Pearson, owner of MicroSpring International LLC, sells microbial cleaning products to several industries, including pest control and food service. The cleaners are rich in earth-friendly bacteria that digest fat, oil, and grease. This green technology eliminates the need for chemical cleaners and produces only water and carbon dioxide as by-products 
Beginning in 2009, George began to form the foundation for his start-up. In fact, it took about a year of planning and legwork to set up the enterprise. It was during this process that George realized he needed additional resources to help build his vision.
 
That’s when he contacted the non-profit business mentors at SCORE Lancaster, where he was paired with counselor Jerry Glenn. The entrepreneur credits Jerry, along with several SCORE co-counselors, with setting him up for success. George says that one of the first things his mentor did was establish a weekly task list. With clearly defined objectives, this former medal-winning member of the Quantico shooting team directed his focus onto building the company. He says, “The list made it so much easier and took so much stress off of starting the business. Once I had the tasks finished, Jerry and I would meet and he’d give me more tasks. Before I knew it everything was set up.”
 
Despite his efforts, George encountered challenges that required him to adjust the original plan. Initially, for example, he’d envisioned owning his own lab where he could manufacture the products. He says, however, that Jerry asked him to consider outsourcing production to a laboratory with the resources to manufacture the formula. After exploring the possibility, George contracted with a lab, allowing MicroSpring to maintain control of production as well as cost. He says, “Jerry helped coach me as far as working out the agreements and building the relationships. He also helped me build my negotiation skills. I wouldn’t be here today if it wasn’t for him because they don’t teach negotiating in college.”
 
As the company continues to grow, George is now directing his focus on the next phase of MicroSpring’s business plan, which includes expanding sales into a broader range of industries. He will also continue to put his resources to work by maintaining relationships with Jerry and the rest of the SCORE Lancaster team. George says, “Many small businesses don’t do well and end up collapsing. SCORE is there to help ensure success for business start-ups.
What's Great About My Mentor?

 “Jerry helped coach me as far as working out the agreements and building the relationships. He also helped me build my negotiation skills. I wouldn’t be here today if it wasn’t for him because they don’t teach negotiating in college.”

This is a Word file that contains back-to-back templates for a Business Plan. The first template is for a startup business and the second is for an existing business.

This file is a series of useful Excel spreadsheets: Startup Costs, Personal Financial Statement, Cash Flow, Balance Sheet, Profit & Loss, Variable Overhead Costs, Cash Flow, and Gross Margin.

This thirty-two page primer on Cash Flow will help you understand and manage Cash Flow by explaining the working capital cash conversion cycle -- the cash flow cycle

Entrepreneur’s Guide: Starting and Growing a Business in Pennsylvania is a 108 page booklet filled with current information about free services, check lists, helpful tips and licensing procedures. Because the information in this guide is not intended to be the final statement on any subject, you will also find addresses, web sites and telephone numbers for contacting business-related agencies.

Goeins-Williams Associates Receives Advice From SCORE Mentor

If you asked 100 business owners to rank their most important resource, "employees" would finish number one almost every time. But while organizations may profess to value their workers above all else, not all of them know how to instill and maintain the values of dedication, teamwork, and mutual respect. That's where Dr. Devona E.G. Williams comes in. A former DuPont Company employee with a doctorate in urban affairs and public policy, Devona has spent the past 14 years providing management consulting and training services to corporations, government agencies and non-profit groups. She helps their leaders plan for the future, and she teaches their employees skills that help them do their jobs better through training on topics like attitude management, diversity, leadership, listening, personal style coping and stress.

Owner/Founder
Dr. Devona E.G. Williams
My Location
Wilmington DE
United States
Employees
2
Year Company Formed
1986
My Successes

Thanks to SCORE Mentor Dave Milling's advice, Goeins-Williams Associates is poised to enhance its services to public- and private-sector organizations throughout the Delaware Valley region and beyond. The company also sells training materials and other organizational development resources to customers across the U.S via an e-commerce site, which includes a link to Goeins-Williams' own Web page. A recent article in the Wilmington News-Journal, Delaware's largest newspaper, spotlighted Devona and her role in assisting area corporations and agencies.

Having implemented the steps that will accommodate her company's growth, Devona is hard at work at Dave's other recommendations. They include becoming an 8(a)-certified business, settling some lingering financial issues, and forming an advisory council to help steer the company's future. Williams has already reserved a spot on that council for her SCORE mentor.

What's Great About My Mentor?

Devona had long known about SCORE and decided it was time to enlist their help. She met with Volunteer Mentor Dave Milling, the former CEO and owner of a major paper products company. Devona laid out her issues and ideas, then asked Dave for his reaction. "Dave agreed that I was making the right moves, but he also had some ideas for things I hadn't considered," Devona says. "It felt good having someone with his experience validate what I was doing. But more important, he provided a fresh, objective look at how I was implementing my plans."

“It always helps to talk to someone with experience who can help you set goals and find the best way to achieve them. Dave gave me confidence to do what was necessary to manage my business’ growth, not be overwhelmed by it.” says Devona.

How SCORE Helped

Although Williams wishes she had called on SCORE years earlier, she's making up for lost time by using the organization's Web site, seminars, and other small business resources. "I've always held the SCORE organization in high regard, and my Dave has more than validated my expectations," she says. "He's become more than a business mentor. I consider him a friend."

Free SCORE Advice Helps Intelli Investigations, LLC Find Success

It’s not unusual for children to follow their parents’ careers. What makes Jennifer Colon unique is that both her parents were private investigators who operated their own agency.  Though the profession is rarely as glamorous as portrayed in movies and TV shows, Jennifer still found the work fascinating and wanted to make it her own as well.

Owner/Founder
Jennifer Colon
My Location
Gainesville FL
United States
Year Company Formed
2005
My Successes

As with most other first-time business owners, Jennifer soon found herself overwhelmed with the responsibilities and decisions necessary to manage the business smoothly. While she and her agency, Intelli Investigations, were licensed and had little competition in the Gainesville, Florida, area, Jennifer still needed to build awareness of her services among potential customers.

More than three years later, Intelli Investigations is growing steadily with a full range of services such as pre-employment and tenant screening, child custody surveillance, judgment recovery, asset investigations, and court document retrieval.

“I’m still in growing stage, but the business is now able to sustain itself,” Jennifer says. “I have plans to expand, and it’s good to know that the groups Alfred suggested are out there to help me cultivate more business.”

What's Great About My Mentor?

Gainesville SCORE Mentor Alfred Furnweger reviewed Jennifer’s business plan and critiqued her marketing materials. He also recommended other ways to gain visibility, including becoming involved in area networking groups like the Gainesville Chamber of Commerce and the Gainesville Area Women’s Network.

And while Jennifer was confident she could be an ace investigator, Alfred helped her believe she could be a successful businessperson as well. “Sometimes, I’d think I was crazy for doing this, especially being so young and facing so many risks,” she says. “Alfred put my mind at ease and gave me excellent advice. The time I spent with him was well worth it.”

My ambitious future plans also include working with a SCORE mentor. “I’ve always been open to seeking out advice on things I don’t’ know about,” Jennifer says.  “Alfred gave me the foundation to get my business started on the right track. I’ll definitely go back when I need their help.”

How SCORE Helped

“Since my budget was zero at the time, SCORE’s free services were just what I needed. SCORE Mentor Alfred Furnweger put my mind at ease and gave me excellent advice.  He gave me the foundation to get my business started on the right tract. The time I spend with him was well worth it.” says Jennifer.

SCORE Mentor Advices Social Betty

With guidance from San Diego SCORE, entrepreneur Heather Nelson is using her Social Betty Web site to help ease tough economic times for the local hospitality industry.

Owner/Founder
Heather Nelson
My Location
San Diego CA
United States
Year Company Formed
2008
My Successes

Launched in January 2008, www.socialbetty.com connects venues and event organizers who are planning events, both private and corporate.  Organizers simply post their event’s details, free of charge, and tell the venues what they want and details about their needs.  In turn, venues fill the requests of the organizer in order to fill available space and generate more revenue.

“In addition to helping event planners, many venues benefit from using Social Betty because they now have greater opportunity to generate additional revenue that would otherwise expire at the end of each business day, especially during non-peak hours, slower weeknights and vacant times,” Leslie says.

In the first quarter of 2009, Social Betty Web site traffic increased by more than 200 percent over the previous quarter and the event organizer and venue registrations have nearly doubled.  Nelson is finalizing the second phase of her Web site design, which features a new look and more user-friendly components.  As Nelson prepares to offer Social Betty’s services nationwide, she continues to work with Dick Leslie on strategic planning, raising capital, and managing overall operations of her company.

Social Betty has been featured on the local FOX, CW and ABC news stations as well as in Pacific San Diego magazine and The Daily Aztec.

What's Great About My Mentor?

“When I was getting my first business off the ground, I attended the Tax Considerations for Small Business workshop and the Women’s Networking Breakfast, which led me to several free counseling sessions with various SCORE mentors,” Nelson says.  “After I started Social Betty, I contacted SCORE again and was linked up with San Diego SCORE Mentor Dick Leslie, who has been instrumental in helping me obtain financing, hire a team of sales contractors and create a pay structure and work parameters.”

Nelson continues to use SCORE’s services as Social Betty grows.  “I look forward to working with Dick and San Diego SCORE in the near future on the company’s strategy for growth as I will be expanding Social Betty’s reach to Orange County and Los Angeles and eventually expand the Web site nationwide,” Nelson says.

How SCORE Helped

Nelson recognized a need for increased communication among event planners and restaurants, hotels and nightclubs.  She had utilized SCORE’s service when starting her first business in 2004, and when she needed assistance with financing and hiring sales contractors for Social Betty, she contacted SCORE once again.

SCORE Mentors SCI Consulting, Inc. to Success

Energy, passion and a commitment to putting people first have helped Lynnette Spano build SCI Consulting Services, Inc. into a successful information technology firm, which won contracts valued at $239 million just last year. But the true secret to her success may well be her knack for asking questions.

Owner/Founder
Lynnette Spano
My Location
Vienna VA
United States
Employees
200
Year Company Formed
1983
My Successes

Intrigued by the federal government’s increasing demand for IT hardware and software support services, Lynette formed SCI in the basement of her mother’s Brooklyn home and moved to the nation’s capital in order to be closer to what she hoped would be a thriving client base.

Now with more than 200 full-time IT professionals located in 19 cities across the U.S., SCI is one of the largest woman-owned businesses in the federal marketplace. Earlier this year, it was added to Washington SmartCEO Magazine’s “Future 50” list of the area’s fastest growing privately held companies. Lynette was also among MEA Magazine’s “Fifty Most Influential Entrepreneurs in Business” in 2007 and has been nominated for the SBA’s 2008 “Women in Business Champion Award.”

Lynette has a commitment to help aspiring small business owners find answers to their startup questions. She’s sharing her ideas and insights about entrepreneurship and the federal market via a speaking tour, a new Web site (www.LynetteSpano.com) and a syndicated TV show. All will stress the value of working with a SCORE mentor.

What's Great About My Mentor?

“My SCORE mentors told me that it’s one thing to have dreams, but another to execute them,” Lynnette says. “They provided guidance for creating the infrastructure that would make things happen.”

How SCORE Helped

“I went to the SBA office in D.C. to learn about being certified as a Small Disadvantaged Business, and noticed this room full of older gentlemen having a lively discussion,” Lynette recalls. “I poked my head in and asked what was going on. They said it was the SCORE office and told me all about their free mentoring services.”

That was the first of what became many visits to SCORE for Lynette, who admits she was flying blind at this point in her career as an entrepreneur. They helped her acclimate to the federal business environment, provided tips on doing research and setting a vision and plan for her.

“SCORE is a wonderful organization with wonderful people who can provide lessons learned for avoiding the pitfalls that companies can face,” says Lynnette. “They’ve been there, they’ve done it, and they can help anyone succeed.”

Cash Flow and Pro Forma spreadsheets with all formulas already in the template

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