Barbara Gray Krause Designs Finds Success WIth SCORE Mentor
Barbara Krause had everything it took to be a successful graphic designer: more than 20 years of experience, numerous awards, and a Rolodex full of prestigious clients who appreciated the quality and timeliness of her work.
So what was she doing selling construction products?
That's what a volunteer mentor at SCORE's Las Vegas chapter wanted to know in 1996 when Barbara sought advice about her latest business venture. " Doubtful of the product's prospects for success, the mentor encouraged Barbara to consider a business that would capitalize on her natural talents instead. Barbara went home still pondering the potential of her relative's proposition, but the words of the SCORE mentor had struck a chord in her thinking. While attending a business networking luncheon some time later, Barbara sensed the proverbial "light bulb" clicking on in her mind. Instead of concentrating only on logos and brochure typefaces, why not help other businesses design their overall corporate image?
Certain she had finally hit on a solid, attractive opportunity, Barbara wanted to avoid making the same mistakes that had limited her success in the past. "It was discouraging to know so little about running a business," she says. "I was determined to learn how to become a business person."
Barbara initially gave her plan six months to succeed, yet she hardly noticed when that deadline arrived. By then, she had developed a thriving business aiding firms of all sizes and types. Her strategy included conducting seminars on marketing, even though she was a novice at public speaking. But by concentrating on what she knew and what her audience wanted to learn, she quickly became a hit on the Las Vegas business-meeting circuit. Her message is simple, yet effective: Small businesses can support each other by trading their expertise and knowledge.
Barbara has since expanded the scope of her services by teaming with Nevada State Bank to offer seminars on home buying in the fast-growing Las Vegas area. She's also conducting programs on how members of today's "sandwich generation" can balance their home and work responsibilities with the demands of caring for aging parents. Another project in the works—a TV production on do-it-yourself logo design—will soon bring her to cable systems around the country.
Meanwhile, demand for her seminars on marketing and networking continue to grow along with her consulting business. Barbara says that this torrent of talent might never have been unleashed had it not been for Bill Burns and her other SCORE mentors.
Barbara needed assistance and knew exactly where to go to find the expertise she needed, SCORE. With the help of Volunteer Mentor Bill Burns, a former manufacturing and marketing executive with a large aluminum company, Barbara formulated business and marketing plans that would help her identify and contact clients in need of her services. The chapter's pre-business seminar also helped her understand the ins and outs of business management. "I couldn't believe it," she says. "I had paid thousands of dollars for marketing classes over the years, and here I was getting all this expertise for free, not to mention the invaluable follow-up support."
"Bill and others were so kind, approachable, and full of experience and good ideas," Barbara says. "They gave me the confidence and guidance that are so important to get a business started. Thanks to them, I've found a conduit by which I can succeed by doing something I enjoy, enrich my own life and help many other people in the process."