Educational Services

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.

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Community Recreation Centers Find Success Through Collaboration

Collaboration with the competition. For some businesses, it would be a radical — and sometimes unthinkable — idea. Not for Karen Mailen and her colleagues at the recCenters of Lancaster County. The group, made up of four recreation facilities in four different communities, is a collaboration designed to capitalize on shared resources and to enhance the marketability of each center.

Owner/Founder
Karen Mailen
My Successes
Collaboration with the competition. For some businesses, it would be a radical — and sometimes unthinkable — idea. Not for Karen Mailen and her colleagues at the recCenters of Lancaster County. The group, made up of four recreation facilities in four different communities, is a collaboration designed to capitalize on shared resources and to enhance the marketability of each center.
The idea for the alliance came out of a conversation Karen, executive director of the Lititz Rec Center, had with a local businessperson. The discussion turned to the challenge that many firms have with corporate recreation center memberships—a single facility might not be easily accessible to every corporate location or to every employee.
For Karen, who as a former YMCA program director had often shared ideas and resources with other YMCAs, the solution came naturally: create a coalition of recreation centers that offered standardized products and services, making each facility more attractive to corporations and individuals. 
To offer the best possible package, the fledgling group would include centers that offered similar services, such as a fitness center, a gym, and swimming facilities. As a result, along with Karen at the Lititz Rec Center, the group includes Alan Houck from the New Holland Recreation Center, David Lloyd from the Ephrata Rec Center, and Barry Newton from the Hempfield Area Recreation Commission.
From the start of the process, team members were receptive to the idea of collaboration. Karen says, “They were all very open and very helpful. We have a similar mindset.”
One result of the joint effort is the recAlliance program, which allows a member of any one of the four facilities to receive a discount on fees at the participating centers. As a result, a member of the Hempfield center can take discounted classes that may be offered only at Ephrata or New Holland.
In addition, the group recently launched a corporate membership program in which a company’s employees receive a discounted rate to join any recCenter facility. Since all the centers are available in the program, it makes it easier for an employee to find a convenient location, whether it’s near the workplace or one that’s closer to home.
The recCenters of Lancaster County is starting to see a return on their joint efforts. Karen says, “All of our centers are seeing growth in their memberships.” The group’s collaboration on an advertising campaign has also raised the profile of each facility. “We’re able to do television ads, something that we could never afford to do independently.”
Karen credits the group’s success to the assistance of SCORE Lancaster, a non-profit business mentoring service. To help build upon her initial vision, SCORE assembled a task force that included counselors Pete Faber,  Bill Graham, Dave Heckel, and Larry Merris. Karen says these mentors played a critical role in facilitating decision-making among group members. “It’s sometimes hard to get everyone to the same place. SCORE mediated and helped us move forward, even when we couldn’t all agree.”
With SCORE’s assistance, the alliance established their official name as well as a common logo. The process, which took place over a half-dozen work sessions, also included the creation of a marketing plan.
Karen says, “We were very thankful for SCORE’s help and support, and they did it at the perfect price for us — free.”
What's Great About My Mentor?

 To help build upon her initial vision, SCORE assembled a task force that included counselors Pete Faber,  Bill Graham, Dave Heckel, and Larry Merris. Karen says these mentors played a critical role in facilitating decision-making among group members. “It’s sometimes hard to get everyone to the same place. SCORE mediated and helped us move forward, even when we couldn’t all agree.”

How SCORE Helped
With SCORE’s assistance, the alliance established their official name as well as a common logo. The process, which took place over a half-dozen work sessions, also included the creation of a marketing plan.
Karen says, “We were very thankful for SCORE’s help and support, and they did it at the perfect price for us — free.”

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