50+ Entrepreneurs

Though my wholesale building supply business is profitable, I can’t help feeling we’re not operating up to our potential. As the company’s leader, what can I do to give us the needed push?

Commercial Lease Agreement Template

Syntes Language Group Inc.

For many people, trying to read or write another language can be a slow, mind-numbing exercise in frustration. For Beatriz Bonnet, it's a business opportunity. Her 11-year-old company, Syntes Language Group, has translated documents, manuals, and correspondence between English and more than 100 other languages. Although the firm has only 14 full-time employees, Beatriz expects Syntes Language Group to top $1.5 million in sales this year.

Beatriz Bonnet
My Location
Englewood CO
United States
Year Company Formed
My Successes

Not bad for a former teacher and part-time musician who "inherited" the firm in 1988. "I had a background in languages and had done some translating work for a friend, who had started the company [then called Global Communication Services] as a sideline," she recalls. "He was finishing law school, and offered to sell me the company in exchange for lunch. At the time, I thought, 'I'm just a flute player; what do I know about running a business?'"

Beatriz renamed the company Global Translation Services and most recently changed the name to Syntes Language Group. Initially, the company wasn't foremost in her life either; there was her music, teaching responsibilities and a master's degree to complete first. But word of the firm's services spread, and in 1990, Beatriz decided to devote herself full-time to expanding her company's solid reputation for quality work. When Beatriz and her husband relocated to Denver in 1995, Syntes Language Group moved with her. Yet she kept the Houston office open to serve the region's strong market for translation services.

With success, however, came many challenges, such as finding and retaining good translators, and managing two offices 1,000 miles apart. Beatriz had to make sure her employees were capable of handling the often complex assignments, as a misplaced word or wrong verb tense could easily cause headaches of literally global proportions. Fortunately, there was a resource that could help make sense of these complex issues—SCORE.

"I had been trying other resources as my business grew," Beatriz says. "While attending a business expo, I visited the SCORE booth and spoke to a mentor about my administration and human resources management concerns. He said that SCORE could provide exactly the kind of assistance I needed."

What's Great About My Mentor?

SCORE Mentor Phyllis Milway began applying her extensive knowledge of human resources and administration to Syntes Language Group's unique needs. She guided Beatriz through the maze of structuring compensation programs, interviewing and selecting candidates, checking references, and conducting new employee orientation, as well as the sometimes difficult process of termination.

Phyllis also offered suggestions on developing accurate and relevant job descriptions, employee handbooks, policies and procedures, and other personnel functions that are so vital—yet often overlooked—in supporting a company.

Phyllis currently serves on the board of advisors for Syntes Language Group. "Phyllis brings a breadth of experience that I couldn't have developed myself. She has been more than a great counselor," Bonnet says. "She's also a great friend."

Road Runner Courier/Boca Express

As an IBM executive specializing in world trade and domestic distribution, Michael Moyer never imagined that he would one day own a courier service. But after 30 years with IBM, Michael successfully launched a second and vastly different stage of his career. Now owner and president of Road Runner Courier, Michael feels a new sense of exhilaration as he watches his courier business take off fast, like the famous cartoon Road Runner.

Michael Moyer
My Location
Pompano Beach FL
United States
Year Company Formed
My Successes

In 1982, Michael was transferred to Delray Beach, Florida with a team of 50 employees to head up IBM's new personal computer sales. The excitement of launching a brand new product with a small team is what first gave Moyer the "entrepreneurial bug."

IBM rapidly expanded its sales department in Boca Raton to 9,000 employees. But the company soon folded its local operation in Florida, leaving Michael with a choice—to stay in Florida or to stay with IBM. Michael chose to stay in Delray Beach and began working as a consultant to a courier service.

Michael saw great potential for this type of business and pursued the idea of starting his own courier service. With his business idea just beginning to solidify, Michael went to South Palm Beach SCORE and met with SCORE Business Mentor Leon Leidner.

In 1997, Michael bought a Pompano Beach courier service and changed the name to Road Runner Courier. In the two years since he founded the business, sales have tripled. Almost immediately, Michael began searching for similar companies to buy in south Florida. His plan was to consolidate the courier services under one company to make Road Runner the biggest and best courier services in southern Florida. In May 1999, Michael closed a deal to buy his second courier business, Boca Express.

Michael runs the business by using independent contractors as drivers. He has daily scheduled routes and receives same-day call-ins, as well. His regular delivery runs include worker's compensation checks for the Florida state government and credit slips for American Express.

What's Great About My Mentor?

Leon advised Michael to be cautious in the start-up of his businesses and to avoid future problems by obtaining the proper insurance and developing a system to monitor his billing. "My biggest problem," admits Michael, "was having to make all of the decisions by myself." Accustomed to a large corporation, Michael was always able to call a specific department for almost anything. "All of the sudden, there were no departments, no one to take care of human resources, finances, sales and administration except me."

Michael considers Leon his business consultant and continues to meet with him regularly. Road Runner Courier has tripled its sales and acquired a second company in just two years. In the next few years, Moyer expects his business to grow dramatically to a million-dollar business. Nothing can stop the Road Runner!

How SCORE Helped

Michael says, “SCORE helped me to see the generalities of business that I had never looked at – especially cash flow, advertising and leasing. In a large company, there was always someone to handle those things. SCORE helped me to wear all of those hats myself.”

Use this template when creating a contract concerning your books and business records.

Use this template as a bi-weekly timesheet for your business.

Why No. 1? A Community Partnership.

SCORE East Central Iowa was named the #1 SCORE chapter in America in 2010/2011. This from a group of ~400 other U.S. cities and towns. Here is a 3 minute video celebrating why, who and how.


See video
SCORE East Central Iowa

Resources for Small Business

Guide to doing Business in Maine
Business Answers 1-800-872-3838

Answers to tax questions
Tax Questions 1-800-829-1040

Small Business Development Center at USM 207-78-4949

Tel-Law (a service of the Maine State Bar Assoc) 207-622-1470
Tel- Law - Prerecorded answers

Maine bar Assistance

RESOURCE HUB 207-756-8180
Business Resource Center, Portland
Community Development Resource

Resources for Maine companies seeking international markets
Maine International Trade Center

Counselors to America’s Small Business 207-772-1147
SCORE Portland Maine

CEI (Coastal Enterprise Inc.) 207-772-5556
Portland Maine

SBA 207-592-5322
Small Business Association – Portland

This is a template for a projected balance sheet.

SCORE East Central Iowa - No. 1 in America

Thu, 2011-05-19 16:20

MAY 19, 2011

For Additional Information Contact:

Gregory (Greg) Tomsic, Chairman, 319-329-8431
SCORE East Central Iowa (Benton, Cedar, Jones, Linn)

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