Recreation and Travel

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.


Travel Alive

For many people, the ideal overseas vacation consists of living as if they had never left home. Not for Tom LeaMond, co-founder and CEO of Travel Alive.  After an extended career in business and finance, Tom began preparing his business plan in late 2004, partnered with Molly Besta-Alscheid in 2005, and turned to Chicago SCORE in 2006 to help turn a dream into reality. SCORE helped him by developing a business plan and working on a marketing strategy.

Tom LeaMond and Molly Besta-Alscheid
My Location
Oak Park IL
United States
Year Company Formed
My Successes

The Oak Park, Illinois-based travel company offers what it describes as “a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to volunteer and grow in a foreign land.” Specifically, Travel Alive provides travel packages that offer language immersion and volunteer experience for students and professionals who want to improve their language skills while making a difference in the world. 

In 2006, Travel Alive sent five participants to Ocotal, Nicaragua. In 2007 more than 80 clients will travel to Nicaragua and, late in the year, volunteers will begin traveling to Ecuador.  Late in 2008, Travel Alive expects to send its first participants to Brazil as part of an overall goal of more than 300 volunteers they have recruited for next year.

A year into the business, SCORE introduced Tom and Molly to Nicki Tader, another entrepreneur with a dream to start a volunteer-based travel company—this time in Brazil.  The trio combined operations under the Travel Alive name. “We were excited,” Tom says.”With Brazil as a destination, we were able to offer clients a new country and a new immersion language, Portuguese.”

What's Great About My Mentor?

SCORE Mentors Bill Broderick and Ingrid Van Weenen met several times with Tom and Molly to review business plan progress and help develop a marketing strategy. “We were investing a lot of time and our personal funds to get this off the ground, and Bill and Ingrid offered expertise and encouragement when we needed it most,” Tom says.

The pair also attended a number of SCORE seminars and enjoyed ready access to other SCORE mentors, including Mike Koen, an expert in business development, and Peg Corwin, who helped the pair maximize the company’s Internet presence.

River Excitement!


In 1986, John Marshall was trying to figure out how to combine his passion for fishing with his Associates Degree from the New York Board of Regents as a Sous Chef graduate of the Culinary Institute of America. He did it by creating a unique venture known as River Excitement!

As a Licensed and Registered New Hampshire Fishing Guide and a Vermont Registered Fishing Guide, John takes guests on fly fishing or light spinning McKenzie Drift Boat float trips on the Connecticut River and - along the way - treats them to gourmet river side lunches or snacks complete with white table cloths, china, and sterling silver serving pieces.

A native of Newport, Rhode Island where the waterfront was his childhood playground, John, eager to learn about fly fishing, stumbled into Wally Kolkowski, a veteran fly fisherman from Pennsylvania who was eager to share his extensive knowledge. Fast forward to the late 70's when John and his wife Susan started to vacation in the Upper Valley and eventually decided to make the move to the north country - Hartland, Vermont to be exact.

To support their new adventure, Susan went to work for the VA Hospital in White River and John went to work for Billings Dairy in Norwich and, eventually, for the VA as well. “I had the perfect job at the VA,” said John who is now retired. “I was able to take time off during the fishing season when I started to book my float trips and build my business.”

Two years ago, John added a private mountaintop pond near Woodstock to his fishing and dining offerings and, recently wrote and self-published a book, Fish On! The book captures his experience and information so others can enhance their enjoyment of the outdoors. It’s available in paperback and Kindle format through and in local bookshops.

Despite the success of River Excitement!, John thought it might be wise to contact SCORE to see if there were marketing techniques that would enable him to fill in those open dates in his schedule. Counselors Barry Rotman from Norwich and Jeff Bendis from Woodstock worked with John.

“Barry encouraged me to contact local chambers of commerce and local inns and Jeff and Barry suggested that I get on the‘speaking circuit’ of the local Rotary Clubs so more local residents and businesses would learn about River Excitement!” said John. “The SCORE counselors also gave me tips on how to get the word out about my float trips to travelers to the area before they arrived.” Hopefully, these ideas will build on John’s already successful venture in this up coming fishing season.

This really has nothing to do with the success story of John Marshall’s River Excitement!, but it’s a lovely add-on. In 2009, John’s wife, Susan Marshall, was named Nurse of the Year at the VA Hospital. Congratulations, Susan!

To book your river or mountaintop pond fishing or bird watching or leaf peeping trip or just to learn more about what River Excitement! has to offer, check out John’s web site at or e-mail him at or call him at 802-457-4021.


John Marshall

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

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.

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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