Youth Entrepreneurship

Cha Cha’s Doggie Day Care Uses SCORE Mentor as Financial Sounding Board

Desalene Jones’ career as an entrepreneur has gone to the dogs.  And she couldn’t be happier.

Desalene is the founder and owner of Cha Cha’s Doggie Day Care of Sacramento, California.  Modeled after daycare centers for children, Cha Cha’s provides dogs of all ages, sizes and breeds with a wide range of care services, activities, toys, and plenty of canine company while their humans are away at work. 

In addition, Desalene and her staff ensure that their canine customers receive balanced diets, trim nails, groom coats, clean teeth and willingly clean up after the occasional “mistake”—a welcome relief to owners who don’t relish finding such surprises waiting for them when they get home after a long day.

Desalene Jones
My Location
Sacramento CA
United States
My Successes

While Cha Cha’s is a dream-come-true for busy dog owners, the business exists only because Desalene was unable to realize her dream of bringing her own dog to her former job.  “I tried every argument imaginable to convince my boss that it’d be OK, but he never agreed,” she says.  “I was 27 then, and figured that if I was ever going to strike out on my own, this was the time to do it.”

Desalene quit her job and began providing dog care at her client’s homes. Because many of them had other, sometimes exotic pets that were difficult to deal with, she decided it would be better for everyone if she cared for her clients’ dogs at a central location

While trying to understand the nuances of preparing a business plan for her new enterprise, Desalene attended an SBA seminar for start-up businesses that included a speaker from Sacramento SCORE.  Seeing that he had brought his own small dog to the session, “I knew instantly that these were people I could connect with,” Desalene recalls with a smile.

What's Great About My Mentor?

Desalene visited the Sacramento SCORE office and discussed her business idea with a team of volunteer mentors who assured her that she wasn’t barking up the wrong tree.  She began working with several experts with different business backgrounds to develop her business plan, calculate financial needs and formulate a management strategy. 

“One of the most important aspects was mapping out where to invest money as my business grew,” she says. “They developed a big spreadsheet that has turned out to be a very valuable business planning tool.”

Desalene also discovered that the expertise of SCORE mentors goes far beyond their respective business specialties.  While at a business planning session, she happened to mention some of the difficulties she was having hiring good employees and dealing with those who failed to meet their responsibilities. “The mentors gave me some tips and suggestions that proved very helpful,” she says.  “It’s great to be able to talk with them about anything.”

Desalene plans to do a lot more talking with her SCORE mentors as she prepares to open a second Cha Cha’s location.

How SCORE Helped

“I don’t know how I would have made it this far without SCORE,” she says.  “I started with a few hundred dollars, and there’s no way I could have paid for all that valuable advice myself.  And I don’t simply mean clichés flung in my direction, but actual sit -down meetings and hands-on development of essential materials.  There will never be a time in the life of my business that I could not use the assistance and expertise of the individuals at SCORE.”

This template can be used to calculate the projected profit of 3 years. 

A long term forecast is not a necessary part of a basic business plan. However, it is an excellent tool to help you open up your thinking about the company's future. Furthermore, venture capitalists will almost always want a long term forecast to get a feel for growth prospects.

The further out you forecast, the less accuracy you can maintain, so use round numbers, except where you know exact amounts; e.g.: rent expense if you have a long term lease.

This template can be used to calculate the opening day balance sheet.

This template is for the loan amortization schedule.

Form 22         Model for Chapter Bylaws Form

Caffe Gelato Succeeds With Encouragement From SCORE Mentor

Ryan German always had the makings of a small business owner. After his freshman year in college, he ran a successful student painters franchise. During summers, he and his brother worked a roadside fruit stand. He saved his money and studied business administration. About the time of his junior year, he decided his next business venture would be to make authentic gelato and sell it downtown. In late 1999 at the age of 22, Ryan contacted SCORE, where he was assigned to SCORE volunteer mentor Earl Norman, who was intrigued and excited about Ryan’s idea. Caffe Gelato opened in 2000 and now serves lunch, dinner and the Caffe’s specialty, homemade Italian ice cream known as gelato.

Ryan German
My Location
Newark DE
United States
My Successes

After being rejected by eight banks for a small business loan, Ryan’s work with Earl resulted in small business loan offers from two banks. With his parents as co-signers, Ryan settled on a small business loan in February 2000. Next, he and his family renovated an older building and opened the doors of his restaurant that April.
When asked why he chose this path, Ryan says being a small business owner is the only job he was going to do. Eventually he wants to be a large business owner. But the most difficult part of the job now is managing employees who are his age. His greatest joy is talking to happy customers and seeing everything come together. “It’s like completing a large puzzle. There’s a sense of accomplishment,” says Ryan.
Located just three blocks from Ryan's alma mater, the University of Delaware, Caffe Gelato is not a student hang-out, but targeted to working professionals. Like any good restaurant owner, Ryan says his goal is “to get customers in the door—make sure they are happy, and paying. Then, get them out and back again.”

What's Great About My Mentor?

Ryan says "my (SCORE mentor) Earl Norman is smart, has a professional background, and was very good with me. He helped expand my business plan with financial documents, such as a projected opening balance sheet, cash flow and income statements, and a sensitivity analysis."

How SCORE Helped

Through Earl's help, Ryan fine-tuned his business plan and secured a location. Earl arranged for him to meet his contacts at two local banks, and each made Ryan an offer. A few months later, Ryan went back to SCORE for help with the artwork for his company logo. SCORE Counselor Beatrice Benson connected him to an artist with whom he is now working.

Starting a business or non-profit organization is not a trivial undertaking. The following steps should only be undertaken after you have completed your business plan and obtained sufficient funding.

Business Plan

Starting a business or non-profit organization is not a trivial undertaking.  The following steps should only be undertaken after you have completed your business plan and obtained sufficient funding.  Help in developing a business plan is available from local SCORE mentors, Online mentorsface-to-face workshops and

Grow Your Business: Rethink Your Marketing


This workshop brought to you by SCORE and HP will help you find the most effective way to grow your business through new marketing opportunities.


The Arizona Department of Commerce offers a must do Small Business Services Online Program that guides you through what you need to know to start or expand your business in Arizona. The step by step guide acquaints you with all the statewide resources and information needed to start up your Arizona small business!  Included in the guide is detailed “how to” information on the following subjects:

  • Business Structure

  • Business Name Registration

  • Specific Business Activities

  • State Regulatory Licensing

  • Transaction Privilege Tax

  • Employee Hiring

  • City/Town Compliances

  • Loans

  • Procurement Opportunities

  • Certification for S/W/W/DBE

You should NOT start a business in Arizona without going through this guide. It is available 24/7 and you can proceed at your own pace. It is extremely valuable! : Click This Link  

You should NOT start a business in Arizona without going through this guide. It is available 24/7 and you can proceed at your own pace. It is extremely valuable!

Serving up Success: Lavu, Inc. Launches iPad Tableside Order System

When Lavu, Inc.'s three employees engaged with Albuquerque SCORE they were putting the finishing touches on PosLavu, a revolutionary tableside ordering system for restaurants.  But, more than merely a stylish way to take orders, PosLavu's iPad order entry was only part of a robust system that included table management, order entry, communication with the kitchen, multi-course ordering, email receipts and back office restaurant management -- all at an anticipated price point far below competitors' fixed location order management systems.

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My Location
901 Rio Grande Blvd. NW
Albuquerque NM 87104
United States
Year Company Formed
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