Agriculture and Farming

The selection of a business entity (form) will affect your exposure to personal liability, how you draw profits and pay taxes, your ability to raise capital, how you run your business, and how difficult it is for business reporting.

Generally, all businesses fall into one of these broad categories: Sole Proprietorship, Partnership, Limited Liability Corporation, or Corporation.

A sole proprietorship is an unincorporated business owned by one individual. A partnership is a legal entity existing between two or more persons who join to carry on a trade or business.

If financial problems have overwhelmed your finances, Bankruptcy may be an option.  Read some of the basics here.


CORE Foods Success With SCORE

Corey Rennell worked with a business mentor at SF SCORE and developed a fresh nutrition bar for extreme athletes. CORE food bars are a growing hit with Olympic athletes, outdoorsmen and fitness buffs in Northern California and the business is expanding at a sustainable pace.

Corey’s product idea came from necessity:
“As a young mountaineer, I was invited by the BBC & Discovery Channels to travel around the world with five other athletes, subsisting and practicing tribal sports with 12 different indigenous peoples,” he says. To get into shape for this incredible, 14-month challenge, the 2008 Harvard University natural science graduate combined his interest in nutritional science research with observations of tribal diets. He built what he calls the CORE Meal: a truly fresh, portable nutrition bar. It did the trick. When he returned, Corey made bars for other athletes, friends and family. When he could no longer keep up with demand, Corey began to consider leaving his day-job to pursue his passion.

Corey now sells two different bars for different kinds of athletes, and his young company is thriving. The bars are sold at Whole Foods stores in Northern California and Reno, Nevada, as well as through the company’s website

In the coming year, Corey plans to offer new varieties of his bars and to build relationships to bring his product to retailers up and down the West Coast. Corey credits the team at Whole Foods Potrero Hill and the Local Producer Loan Program, family and friends as integral to his success. Corey’s business philosophy is inspired by the “sense of community” of the tribes he lived with--“Everyone worked for the well being of everyone. “ He shares those values through his not-for-profit model--including donating all company profits, maintaining a zero carbon footprint, and working with local, organic producers.

For more information

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Corey Rennell
My Location
San Francisco CA 94103
United States
My Successes



What's Great About My Mentor?

“Richard Fivis was exactly what I needed in a counselor --receptive and supportive, but also straightforward and to the point, “ Corey recalls. “He said my goals were absolutely achievable, but I needed a business plan --something to solidify my many ideas and inspirations into one clear vision.“ Corey spent 6-9 months on his business plan and financial projections and Fivis provided critical direction: “At key junctures I needed someone who had been through it all before to help me focus my efforts properly and prioritize my time, “ says Corey. 

How SCORE Helped

Corey contacted San Francisco SCORE Chapter 10, and began working with counselor Richard Fivis to develop a fresh-bar production method.

Corey continues working with Richard Fivis and others at SF Score “as we venture into uncharted territory.”


Corey’s advice to new entrepreneurs:
1. Get an SBA/SCORE counselor.
2. Develop a business plan.
3. Study the existing logistical networks for your product fulfillment carefully.
4. Develop conservative financial projections and make sure you price at a good multiple
5. Build your own salary into your financial projections.
6. Assume everything's been tried before. Get advice, advice, advice!!

He continues working with Richard Fivis and others at SF Score “as we venture into uncharted territory.”

SCORE Mentors Virginia Horse Journal to Success

When Dean and Darlene Jacobson moved from Philadelphia, PA, to Charlottesville, VA, they were anxious to become involved in Virginia's horse community. They searched for a local horse publication that included information about upcoming events, classified ads and horse news. When they couldn't find such a publication, the Jacobson's set out to create it themselves.

Dean and Darlene Jacobson
My Location
Charlottesville VA
United States
Year Company Formed
My Successes

Motivated by their love of horses, they began to write the Virginia Horse Journal, a pamphlet-sized publication of about 20 pages, from their home. Without prior publishing experience, they struggled to produce two issues and then reevaluated their enterprise. Darlene thought that there must be someone with experience who would be willing to help them avoid the common pitfalls. A friend suggested SCORE.

In just three years, Virginia Horse Journal has grown to 80 pages of content. The Journal's 30,000 readers find it informative, as well as personable and entertaining. It is available for free in more than 500 locations throughout Virginia, North Carolina, West Virginia, Maryland and Pennsylvania and over 1,000 loyal readers subscribe to the publication. This year's revenue is expected to top $100,000. The Jacobsons have also developed a Web site that posts current horse news, events and classified ads ( The site has gotten 58,000 hits since February.

Experiencing great success today, the Jacobson's have not had much time to rest lately. Last year, they were named the Official Horse Publication of the Virginia Horse Council and the Virginia Horse Industry Board. They still meet with their SCORE mentors frequently, about every six weeks or when a problem arises. "They keep us in line. Sometimes we are scared to move forward and make a decision, but we are more scared to not listen to them…they are always right about everything!"

Virginia Horse Journal continues to gallop along, having gone from a bimonthly to monthly publication, which means more income for the Jacobsens. "We've also added a Web site and received a grant to do a directory of the state horse industry," adds Darlene. "Things couldn't be going better."

There have been a few changes, such as a move to Northern Virginia. But the Jacobsens have already made contact with the local SCORE chapter. "There are a lot of things that we want to talk about, such as adding new products, making our Web site more productive and dealing with potential competition," says Darlene.

What's Great About My Mentor?

Darlene and Dean met with SCORE mentors Reg Hubley and Arlene Anns, both former McGraw-Hill publishing executives. "It was like an angel was watching out for us. We knew nothing about publishing—we couldn't have found two more perfect people." They met with Arlene and Reg frequently to work on editorial improvements and format and layout changes. They would also speak on the phone whenever something important came up. Twice a month, when the issues were ready to go to the printer, the Jacobsons would invite Arlene and Reg to their house for lunch and they would spend the entire afternoon going over the proof and revising the layout for the magazine.

Reg and Arlene also offered advice on circulation and advertising sales. To develop a circulation base, the Jacobsons began delivering copies of the journal to local retail horse businesses, such as tack and feed stores. Dean sent more than 100 letters to advertisers and received an overwhelming response. The Journal offered an ideal forum for retail horse businesses and horse owners to exchange information about the trade.

How SCORE Helped

Specific industry expertise made SCORE a valuable resource to the Jacobsons. Both Reg and Arlene were able to assist the budding publishers with developing rate schedules, ad sales strategies and plans for how to balance the volume of editorial and advertising content in the publication. As a niche publication, the Jacobsons' SCORE mentors provided solid information on how to make a very targeted publication a profitable business venture.

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).

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, 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.

A list of suggested service providers for SCORE Clients

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

How to really start your business
Bankruptcy: An overview
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