Recreation and Travel

Michael Shank

Michael Shank

Current City: Columbia, MO

Expertise gained from training and experience in sales, sales management, business growth, product and market strategy, international sales and distribution, contract negotiation, and general management.  The majority, but not all experience has been related to small business firms.  

 

One of my favorite sayings is: “Begin with the end in mind.”  This can mean several things in different circumstances, but the most prevalent is to ask oneself, ‘what am I trying to achieve?’, or ‘what is this supposed to look like when I get to the end?’.  It can apply to a multitude of disciplines, be it mechanical, business structure and organization, market or product development, technology, contract arrangements, and internal processes.  

 

Funding, either to start a business or to permit it to seize opportunities for growth or other opportunities can be a huge challenge. It is often the seemingly impossible hurdle. 

 

And, take heart; almost all businesses are looking for funding over the life of the firm.  Even successful ones have the same challenges.  Expansion is fundamentally no different that starting a business, so as a business owner it is best to learn this and be good at it as quickly as possible. 

 

Experience has taught me that regardless of the source of funding, there are three required questions that one should carefully and fully explain:

 

-How much money do you need?

-How are you going to use it?

-How do you intend to pay it back? 

 

My experience is that if the business plan explains these three steps fully, with evidence to support the strategies and the assumptions behind them, then the money can be found somewhere and the other structural issues of financing usually can be worked out.   But, deficiencies in any of these leaves glaring holes which will cause hesitation on the part of the lender or equity contributor.  

 

My bias is in free markets and to focus on buyer and seller motivations in attempting to make deals or in strategizing to offer product to the markets.  This same ‘market based thinking’  or alignment, to my way of thinking applies to all types of business interactions, and relationships, both internal and external.  

 

Experience shows that fear and greed can be found around every corner as motivators of the human interacting to benefit oneself and should not be taken lightly.   Find the fear, or find the greed and you can probably predict a buyer’s or seller’s (or employee’s or supervisor’s, or banker’s, or pick your discipline) underlying motivation. 

 

People act more from fear of making the wrong decision than trying to optimize to make the right decision.  This is one of the greatest deterrents to change, and also a huge barrier to accepting a new and improved mousetrap (which you may be offering).  

 

If you are interested in how I arrived at some of these beliefs (and there are many more for given situations), feel free to further read the details below.  Regardless, my approach in any circumstance is to try and boil it down into workable pieces and parts, and then apply business and economic fundamentals to those pieces.

 

 

Upon graduating with degrees in business and marketing, I joined the Peace Corps.  After spending 2-1/2 years in El Salvador working with small scale vegetable farmers and small scale fishing operations, specializing in public markets, I obtained a Masters Degree in Resource Economics.  This is micro-economics or theory of the firm applied to the development of natural resources, both renewable and non-renewable. 

 

This allowed me to return back to El Salvador with a position with the Inter-American Development Bank to work on an artisan fisheries technological transfer project, assisting fishing cooperatives in obtaining technology and breaking the market restrictions previously held on them.  We were successfully achieving our goals until a small thing called a civil war made it just a tad difficult and we had to leave. 

 

After finishing that contract, and upon returning to the USA, I worked approximately 15 years for small steel and concrete fabrication firm making floating dock structures for the marina market.  When I joined it was a local regional firm, and during my tenure and grew in my impact of progressing through sales, product development and management we grew into a national firm, expanding from 20 to over 100 employees.  

 

I took a short term position working for my State Department of Economic Development, specializing in assisting minority and women owned businesses.  It was there I learned the difficulties and trials of start-ups; the challenges of obtaining financing, and building a business.  There is no ‘magic pill’ or panacea of government hand-outs, as much as those folks selling those books on TV want you to believe there is money out there just for the asking.  This period required me to develop some skills to help people help themselves.

 

After that experience, seeking a return to some type of international involvement, I began in the concrete industry, specifically pre-cast concrete and worked with a firm specializing in selling European equipment into the Americas, with a specific responsibility to develop a market in Latin America. We were successful over a 15 year time period, where we grew from representing 2 European companies from two countries to 9 lines of equipment from 6 countries.  I successfully placed equipment from Chile to Mexico, along with a few in the Caribbean.  Simultaneously I worked the entire USA and Canada.  Thus, I have a vast array of experience of coordinating a foreign buyer with a foreign manufacturer; one might call it melding three cultures in one transaction, as the sale went through our USA company. 

 

There is more, but at this point, if this doesn’t seem interesting, nothing more will. I do promise, however, to offer you things to think about, and resources to pursue, even if you as a business aren’t sure as to how they fit for you. 

 

Nothing ventured, nothing gained. 

 

Onward and Upward.

Michael

Resume

Education

MS-University of Rhode Island

BS-Missouri State University

Ask SCORE
          Our veterinary practice began doing online marketing, including social media, about six
months ago. We believe it’s having a positive impact, but would like to know how we can
accurately measure its effectiveness.  

About the Author

       This column is brought to you by the Merrimack Valley Chapter of SCORE, with nearly
70 current and former business executives available to provide free, confidential, one-on-one
business mentoring and training workshops for area businesses. Call 603-666-7561 or visit
merrimackvalley.score.org for information on mentoring, upcoming workshops and volunteer

Janet M. Hamvas

Janet M. Hamvas

Current City: Upper Black Eddy, PA

Need advice on starting a youth program?

Sports, Wellness, Entertainment?  

 President/Owner, Ricochets Gymnastics, Inc., Hatboro, PA 1982-2013
Creatively financed and developed all aspects of this start up business, and in 32 years took it to a top level program recognized throughout the United States. Ricochets was ranked in the top 10% of training centers for profitability and number of students enrolled, and top 5% for client retention and satisfaction rates. Responsibilities included: 1.) hiring, training, providing professional development for, and maintaining a top notch staff  2.) developing curricula for the preschool, age group, and competitive team programs 3.) starting a summer camp program 4.) marketing and advertising these programs to the public 5.) all aspects of finance, including payroll and investing 6.) relocation of the facility, and orchestrating all aspects of the move including contract negotiations, build out, design and layout, all to optimize efficiency and ascetics, three times, as expansion was necessary to keep up with growing demand.

Program Director/Head Coach, Abington YMCA, Abington, PA 1979-1982

Developed program curriculum. Responsible for hiring and training staff, scheduling classes, and physical set up of gymnasium for optimal use. In two years, took the program out of the red, and turned it into their most profitable children’s program.

 

Resume

Education

Temple University, Philadelphia, PA  BBA 1982

Ask SCORE

            I recently purchased a children’s daycare center. The previous owner did not treat the staff well, and my top priority is to correct that situation. How do you suggest I accomplish that?

About the Author

            This column is brought to you by the Merrimack Valley Chapter of SCORE, with nearly 70 current and former business executives available to provide free, confidential, one-on-one business mentoring and training workshops for area businesses. Call 603-666-7561 or visit merrimackvalley.score.org for information on mentoring, upcoming workshops and volunteer opportunities. SCORE is a national, non-profit organization and a resource partner of the U. S. Small Business Administration.

 Ask SCORE

       I own a software development company. While I wouldn’t consider myself disorganized,
at the end of most days I can’t help feeling I haven’t accomplished what I set out to do that day.
What can I do to better manage my time?

About the Author

       This column is brought to you by the Merrimack Valley Chapter of SCORE, with nearly
70 current and former business executives available to provide free, confidential, one-on-one
business mentoring and training workshops for area businesses. Call 603-666-7561 or visit
merrimackvalley.score.org for information on mentoring, upcoming workshops and volunteer
opportunities. SCORE is a national, non-profit organization and a resource partner of the U. S.
Small Business Administration.

Stephen Engelhardt

Stephen Engelhardt

Current City: Sun Lakes, AZ

My primary career focus was the sale of computers, software other high tech products to a wide range of businesses, especially the financial industry. I worked my way up to the Vice President level by proving that I could develop staff and produce exceptional levels of performance.

I believe my success with customers was due to two primary elements: showing the customer how my product would affect his profit and effective, timely follow-up.

My expertise is in sales, trade shows,, marketing, selection and training of sales personnel, prospecting, pricing. compensation plans, sales expense control, proposal writing and government bidding.

I heavy industry experience in banking, security, postal, unemployment tax cost control, government, retail, manufacturing,non-profit, etc.

Resume

Education

<p> Master of Business Administration, University of Phoenix Bachelor of Business Administration, University of Texas, Arlington Various Formal Corporate Training Programs such as: Sales Sales Management Computer Programming EEOC and HIPPA</p>

Dr. Robert S Brookman

Dr. Robert S Brookman

Current City: Providence, RI
Chapter: Rhode Island

 

Manager of Research and Development for Firestone

Vice President of Technology and Board member of small public company

President of $200,000,000 Plastics Company

Currently  Vice President for Business Development for a billion dollar privately held plastics company

I have run the sales,marketing, technology, and financial operations of medium sized companies.

My current activities include: mergers and acquisitions,technology evaluation and acquisition, and am the only internal employee coach for fast track and high potential troubled employees 

 

Resume

Education

<p>
&nbsp;BS in Chemistry from CCNY and PHD in Polymer Chemistry from NYU Polytechnical Inst</p>

       I’ve been approached by a lead generation service. Do they really work, and if not, what other means of generating leads can you suggest?

About the Author

       This column is brought to you by the Merrimack Valley Chapter of SCORE, with nearly 70 current and former business executives available to provide free, confidential, one-on-one business mentoring and training workshops for area businesses. Call 603-666-7561 or visit merrimackvalley.score.org for information on mentoring, upcoming workshops and volunteer opportunities. SCORE is a national, non-profit organization and a resource partner of the U. S. Small Business Administration.

       Have a question you’d like answered in this column? E-mail it to info@score-manchester.org, with “Ask SCORE” in the subject line.

       I started my refrigeration repair business six months ago and am now at the point of 
needing to interview candidates for my first employee. I’ve never done this before. What tips can 
you offer?

About the Author

       This column is brought to you by the Merrimack Valley Chapter of SCORE, with nearly 70 current and former business executives available to provide free, confidential, one-on-one business mentoring and training workshops for area businesses. Call 603-666-7561 or visit merrimackvalley.score.org for information on mentoring, upcoming workshops and volunteer opportunities. SCORE is a national, non-profit organization and a resource partner of the U. S. Small Business Administration.
       Have a question you’d like answered in this column? E-mail it to info@score-manchester.org, with “Ask SCORE” in the subject line.