Environmental Services

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

http:// http://www.nhbar.org/for-the-public/bankruptypamphlet.asp

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).

Owner/Founder
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, www.Vipsvet.net. 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 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

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.

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