Environmental Services

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.

Success Stories - Penncoat, Inc., Lancaster

Change is good for entrepreneur Gary Loiseau of Penncoat, Inc. The ability to meet change head-on has helped this business owner build a successful commercial and industrial painting and flooring firm

Owner/Founder
Gary Loisea
My Successes
Change is good for entrepreneur Gary Loiseau of Penncoat, Inc. The ability to meet change head-on has helped this business owner build a successful commercial and industrial painting and flooring firm.
PennCoatPennCoat
The Landisville, PA Company was launched in 1987. Its products include epoxy flooring, chemical resistant coatings, and floors that dissipate static electricity. While Penncoat largely services the food processing industry, it has a diverse customer list including churches, hotels, office buildings and hospitals.
 
Gary’s career didn’t start in large commercial accounts. After attending a local college, he stopped taking classes to paint residential buildings fulltime. Soon the young entrepreneur earned several small commercial jobs, which were followed by a contract to paint a large government housing development.
 
That’s when Gary began to shift the firm’s focus to commercial clients. He enjoyed working with professional-level customers and the challenge of large-scale jobs. “I realized that if I wanted to make this work, I needed to be in the commercial market,” Gary says.
 
The company has continued to grow, but like many small businesses Penncoat has been affected by recent economic conditions. Gary, who oversees the company’s internal operations, estimates the commercial and industrial painting and flooring market is about half the size it was just a few years ago. He did, however, note that the “feast or famine” cycle is a familiar experience to many business owners who perform contract work. “You need to accept whatever the situation is and then do what you can do to influence it.”
  
So as the economic environment has changed, Gary has adjusted the way Penncoat does business. He implemented a marketing plan as well as added a part-time marketing professional. In addition, the company developed methods to assist its salespersons in acquiring and maintaining accounts. The modifications are working. “We’re seeing success,” he notes.
 
Gary’s success is also a result of his willingness to access local resources available to entrepreneurs. About five years ago, he enlisted the help of SCORE Lancaster, a volunteer organization that provides low-cost workshops and free counseling to emerging and existing small businesses. “I learned that SCORE is a great resource for anybody in small business. They have a wealth of resources and knowledge, and you can find somebody in SCORE that’s involved in any aspect of business.”
 
He attends the group’s round table discussions, which allow clients to share ideas and learn from each other. He also meets with his SCORE counselor, PetePayne, several times each year. “We talk about business, especially balancing business and family. He’s a wealth of knowledge in all aspects of life. That’s actually where I get my biggest return is in those impromptu discussions,” says the business owner.
 
For Gary, his SCORE counselor has become a critical sounding board. “He gives me things to think about that I would not normally consider because I’m caught up in day-to-day operations.”
 
While his work at Penncoat is the only job he’s known, Gary has not allowed himself to become mired in a that’s-the-way-we’ve-always-done-it business model. His willingness to embrace change—and rise to the challenges it brings—has allowed this entrepreneur to paint his own path to success. 
What's Great About My Mentor?
For Gary, his SCORE counselor has become a critical sounding board. “He gives me things to think about that I would not normally consider because I’m caught up in day-to-day operations.”

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.

Advanced GeoServices

My Location
1055 Andrew Drive, Suite A
West Chester PA 19380
United States
How SCORE Helped

“SCORE has brought fresh in- sight into our business. SCORE has helped us grow over the past 18 years guiding us through challenging times with new strategic and tactical business ideas… giving us access to people with various expertise and at no cost” Barbara Forslund COO

“SCORE has helped us grow over the past 18 years guiding us through challenging times with new strategic and tactical business ideas” says COO Barbara Forslund. Advanced GeoServices Corp. (AGC) began business in May of 1992 during a previous recession. The company was founded by six civil engineers specializing in superfund site analysis and remediation planning whose target market was private industry. The company rapidly grew to 25 employees in their first year and became profitable in their second year of operation. SCORE began assisting AGC with financial and personnel management during their first year of operation. AGC has grown by acquiring other businesses and expanding their specialized services. Today they employ approximately 60 people, most of whom are highly skilled professionals in environmental, geotechnical, civil engineering and water/wastewater treatment. AGC’s business offerings have also expanded adding geotechnical services, site design for land development, surveying, industrial and municipal waste water treatment and dam inspections and assessments. COO Forslund says “We have the passion and customer service of a small company but the broad diversity of services and technical expertise normally only found in a much larger firm”. She attributes much of their continued success to “building customer loyalty by developing strong relationships with our clients”. SCORE counselor Diana Hong recently assisted the AGC management team by providing an internal assessment of their e-marketing strategy. SCORE counselor Bob Fedor has worked with AGC management over the past 2 years on leadership development. Today Bob is assisting AGC’s management in exploring new strategic business opportunities. COO Barbara Forslund says, “In these challenging times, SCORE has successfully brought fresh insight to our business giving us access to people with various expertise and at no cost.”

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