This month, our client success story has a very unique perspective. Leigh Reynolds is not only a SCORE client, but a SCORE mentor as well. The third generation entrepreneur says she’s known most of her adult life that she wanted to own her own business. “I’m one of five children who’s only gotten the (entrepreneurial) bug, but once you get that bug, you can’t get rid of it,” says Leigh.
Leigh who has an extensive background in e-commerce, now runs the e-commerce business Gluten Free Therapeutics. Since reaching out to SCORE in 2012, Leigh started her new company, mentored other SCORE clients and now serves as a co-mentor so she can dedicate enough time to both her business and clients. “I see things from both angles. That gives me a unique perspective, I understand exactly what they’re going through,” says Leigh.
In our interview with Leigh, she shared insight on: running an e-commerce business, what she enjoys about being a SCORE mentor and advice to people who are thinking about starting a new business.
Advice for People Starting an E-commerce Business
“Get a good handle of what your expenses are. One of the most common thing I found is, they (business owners) under estimate how expensive customer acquisition and infrastructure things are, like SEO. They often focus on their product which is important, but there is a lot more too it then having a product.”
Favorite Part about Being a SCORE Mentor
“We help them (clients) look at the big picture and explain to them that there is a lot of stuff they have to go through to have a viable business. I think it’s very important to do proof-of-concept work before starting a business. We like to push them back to the very beginning, to find out if it’s a viable option for them.
In terms of their product, we look at: is this product going to sell, is there a place in the market for it, and if there is, what’s the best way to reach people? We start at the very beginning, we talk about business strategy, product placement, and even design work and everything that goes to reach the customer. That’s my favorite part, I really enjoy that.”
Her Outlook on Being a SCORE Mentor
“Someone asked ‘why do you want to be a SCORE mentor, what do you get out of it?’ My immediate thought was, life-long learning. Every single person that we mentor gives us as much information as we give them. They might not be aware of it, but by helping them solve their issues, we get as much from them and it’s invaluable. Not only am I paying it forward, but I’m also getting something in return.”
What is Your Advice to Someone Who May be Nervous about Starting a Business
“It depends on where the nervousness lies, is it confidence, monetary, or not believing in the product? There’s a lot of reasons why people are nervous, it’s actually good to be nervous and having some trepidation makes you more conscious. It’s better to have the awareness and an understanding of the risks then someone who doesn’t.”
Becoming an Entrepreneur Sometimes Takes Steps
“I have worked for many companies, many different sizes and every time, I was using that time knowing that I wanted to have my own business. And that takes awareness, it's understanding that you are always learning. I would always tell people who worked with me, ‘you’re going to be able to run your own business. Be aware that what you are learning here, is going to take you a lot of places you’re not even thinking about going.’ (Being an entrepreneur) is a huge learning process, it’s fun, exciting, and you can’t do it half way.”