Women Entrepreneurs

SCORE Mentor Illinois Business Journal

Kerry Smith was looking for something new so she moved from Texas to Illinois in order to be closer to her family and friends. Smith began working at a local newspaper but something was missing.  “I realized that I was living in a six-county region with 30,000 companies that had no business journal.  I was working at a small daily paper looking for a place to write business news, but none existed,” she says.  Smith decided she would start her own Illinois Business Journal, but before launching, she did her research contacting chambers of commerce and SCORE. She and her SCORE mentor, Richard Rook, spent countless hours perfecting all aspects of her pending journal launch.

Owner/Founder
Kerry Smith
My Location
Alton IL
United States
Employees
2
Year Company Formed
2000
My Successes

The Illinois Business Journal has a circulation of 20,000 and a survey revealed that an average of four people read each issue, which pegs their readership at closer to 80,000. Kerry is also actively moving to provide all of their articles online. Unlike other older papers that depend on subscriptions for much of their revenue, the Illinois Business Journal is more dependent on advertisers. She sees that as a major plus, as journalism begins to move away from traditional print media.

What's Great About My Mentor?

“I didn’t even know what a business plan was, but veteran Southwest Illinois SCORE mentor Richard Rook helped me develop one.  He has been with me all along asking if there was anything that they can do to make my business even more successful. I would go in and ask, ‘How much will this cost?’ or ‘Is this a good idea?’ and they would tell me honestly,” she says. “They provided literally hundreds of hours of support, especially during the initial stages. They didn’t know much about newspapers, but they knew everything else.”

Through their weekly one-hour meetings and countless faxes, Richard led Kerry through the process of creating a business plan, including three-year cash flow projections, insurance, distribution and marketing. “Richard treated me so well, it was like he had adopted a family member,” Kerry says. “He was so helpful. It’s still hard to believe that I received all that advice and assistance for no charge.”

How SCORE Helped

“These days, more newspapers fold than get started,” Kerry says. “Richard Rook and SCORE are the reason this publication continues to prosper. At no cost, I gained expertise that you cannot put a price on. And the caliber of SCORE’s volunteers is amazing. The local chapter has CEO’s, Ph.D.’s, and other experts who willingly give up the free time they’ve worked so hard for to help people like me get started in business.”

The Translation Link

Translation Link—which offers translation services as well as marketing, document editing, consulting and other services in a variety of languages—hit the market and took off. After signing its first client in January 2007, by year two the company showed growth of 1,300 percent.

"Through the Internet, we found a local mentor Greg Hoffman," Alina Mugford explains. "First of all, I was new in the country in terms of how to go on doing business in the U.S. My experience in business is long in Venezuela. He helped me to do things here in the U.S. business-wise and all the steps that you should do to start a company. He also helped to narrow down my target market. I wanted to start big. He made me rethink my target."

http://www.thetranslationlink.net/

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Owner/Founder
Alina Mugford
My Location
Cortez FL
United States
Year Company Formed
2006
My Successes

"The company just took off on year two. It was something unbelievable," Alina says, noting that the success came "after very hard work; 24-7 is not an understatement."

Alina was nearly 50 when she immigrated to the United States in 2003. Although she had extensive business experience in Venezuela and was a college professor, the Cuban-born Alina didn’t know a lot about doing business in the U.S. "I don’t want to sound trite but I’m a good example of the American dream," says Alina, who became a U.S. citizen 1 1/2 years ago. "Hard work, hard work, hard work pays off. When you put your body, your heart, your soul into what you want to do, you can do it."

"When I was 44-years-old, I had a stroke. I immigrated to the United States when I was turning 50, and I started all over again," she says. "Having faith, vision in the future, internal spirit; I see it as a driving force within myself. No obstacle is insurmountable. If you set your mind to it, you can achieve it."

Translation Link is the recipient of the 2010 SCORE Award for Outstanding Small Business Launch by a 50 Entrepreneur.

What's Great About My Mentor?

SCORE mentor Greg Hoffman helped me understand the steps needed to start a company in the U.S.

How SCORE Helped

After learning that there was a terrific need for translation services in Florida's Manatee and Sarasota Counties, Alina began investigating business resources to help start her own service. She learned about SCORE through her local Chamber of Commerce, and also went online to find a mentor

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