Restaurants and Hospitality

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.

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.

Business Plan generic template. Can be modified to fit your business.

The Mudhouse Cafe

 

The Mudhouse Cafe

Southeast's First Cybercafe Pairs Cappuccino with High Speed Internet Access in Charlottesville, VA

Lynelle Lawrence is high on adrenaline today, March 17, 1998. Not because it is anything so conventional as St. Patrick's Day, but because she and her husband and business partner, John Lawrence, have just opened the smartroom above their mega-popular Mudhouse Cafe. The Mudhouse combines the relaxing atmosphere of a coffee house, with local coffees and pastries baked on site, with a high-speed Internet connection at a workspace created specifically for the cafe. The cybercafe also features live music and Thursday night "Poetry Slams" for their diverse clientele.

Located on the picturesque Main Street pedestrian mall in Charlottesville, VA—in close proximity to the University of Virginia's main campus—the Mudhouse has become the central meeting place, and place for doing business, for the city's government officials, lawyers, business owners and students. The atmosphere they've created at the Mudhouse is a dream realized for the Lawrences.

The idea to start a coffee house/cybercafe in Charlottesville came to Lynelle an John while they were both living in Alaska. Childhood friends, Lynelle and John met again in Alaska, where neither was working in the restaurant industry. According to Lynelle, they spent a lot of time in coffee houses, which Lynelle describes as "a great space for free expression." Both knew that there was no such space in the Mid-Atlantic or Southeast at the time (1991), let alone in their home state of Virginia. The couple came back to Virginia and began to test their idea.

Lynelle and John began with a coffee cart that served gourmet coffees, espresso and cappuccino on Main Street in Charlottesville. Every business day, the Lawrence's would roll their cart to the top of the street no later than 8:00 a.m. The concept and the cart caught on—a combination of curiosity and just plain good coffee and service. "It formed an energy all its own and became the place to find out news and information," says Lynelle. "We even put up a bulletin board on a nearby tree."

 

My Location
Main Streert Pedestrian Mall
Charlottesville VA
United States
My Successes

 

With an $8,500 loan, the Lawrences tested the market with their cart for a full year. Lynelle worked the cart all day. John worked at a popular restaurant up the street to pay the bills. The market test showed a real interest in their product and their concept for the coffee house.

The Lawrence's conducted a lot of research before opening in October of 1995, including contacting SCORE, on the advice of a friend. Referred to SCORE Counselor Joe Geller, who is the former owner of the Silver Thatch Inn in Virginia and has a long history working within the restaurant and bed and breakfast industries, the Lawrences say they couldn't have found a better mentor. Since 1995, the Lawrences have met or talked with Joe about the business at least once a week. "Joe is always there," says Lynelle. " He is so supportive, so giving and has incredible integrity."

Lynelle now sings the praises of SCORE to everyone she meets. Joe was most instrumental in keeping the couple focused and aiming for that next step to get their business started. He helped them with everything from business planning to bookkeeping, advertising, management, media and the Internet. According to Geller, he helped guide the Lawrence's through the ownership process, but they brought the power of experience and commitment to their business.

The Mudhouse is doing so well that the Lawrences were able to accelerate payments on their $60,000 start-up loan and secure financing for the upstairs section of the cafe, the newly launched smartroom. So much business was being conducted in the Mudhouse that Lynelle often had requests from customers to rent the upstairs for private meetings or receptions. The Lawrence's vision of their cybercafe led them to create their smartroom, a wired multi-media conference room, which boasts some of the most sophisticated projection and presentation equipment and capabilities available today. The entire room is "wired" to accommodate laptop computers and video conferencing. "You really feel like you're in a private screening room," says Lynelle.

"Charlottesville is like a mini-Silicon Valley for a town this size," Lynelle adds, demonstrating there is a definite market for their smartroom. The room can host any number of configurations (probably no more than 25 comfortably) because the Lawrences chose versatile modular furniture that can be set up for individual training work stations, or as one large conference table. They invested in designer Herman Miller's Aeron chairs for comfort and created a unique atmosphere for their meeting space—officially set to launch in April through a series of open houses.

The Lawrence's know that they've created something special in the Mudhouse and readily admit that the staff is the reason it all works. "Our staff is as important as our customers," says Lynelle. For example, the Lawrence's closed the cafe in February to treat the entire staff to a three-day ski trip in West Virginia. "We can't pay people a lot, so it is very important for us to show the staff how much we appreciate them. You can just sense that everyone at the Mudhouse—both customers and employees—really wants to be there."

 

What's Great About My Mentor?

 

"We talk with our SCORE counselor, Joe Geller, all the time—even midnight phone calls. We rely on my father and several friends as our advisors and Joe leads that pack. We really rely on his expertise and are so thankful for SCORE."

Lynelle Lawrence, Co-owner, The Mudhouse Cafe

 

 

 

Rebecca's Family Restaurant

Barb Hogan as a child sat in the old Linesville Islay's Ice Cream Shop and often wondered what it would be like to own and operate a restaurant. Now with the help of SCORE, she is doing just that, in the exact same location as the old Islay's Ice Cream Shop.

After taking an early retirement from the State's labor and Industry Department, this Harmonsburg native started Rebecca's Family Restaurant in May 2007.

Owner/Founder
Barb Hogan
My Location
144 West Erie Street
Linesville PA 16424
United States
What's Great About My Mentor?

From the start, SCORE was able to assist her. leading the SCORE assistance team was Art Cocolin, a restaurateur armed with over 60 years of restaurant experience. His team mates included Dan Leech and BJ Smith from the Meadville Branch of the Erie SCORE Chapter.

How SCORE Helped

Together they helped Hogan bring many business principles into light. SCORE was able to assist this business owner in menu selection, controlling food costs, kitchen design and layout, insurance requirements, advertising and marketing, pricing, equipment selection, and incorporating some of the latest technology impacting the restaurant field. Despite the high wash out rate in the restaurant field,

Rebecca's family Restaurant has constantly held a steady market share. The owners owe a debt of gratitude to the entire SCORE organization. 

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