Minority Entrepreneurs

Steve Strauss looks at the trend that is dominating the world, Entrepreneurship.

Faithful readers of this column (thank you very much!) know that every year I post a two-part Top Trends in Small Business piece. It is always interesting to see what is coming down the pike, and it is equally interesting to notice how much, and how little, the list changes every year.

Cupcake Maker Opens Two Shops with Help of Mentor - Hanah Cho

Date
Thu, 2013-10-10 15:44

It can be challenging enough to open one retail shop, let alone two within six months.

But that’s what Antoinette Lafayette did with her business, Pink Frosting Cupcakes in Coppell and Irving. Lafayette felt confident enough to take a risk on a second location so quickly because she was prepared for the opportunity.

“Because I planned so well for it, I had a great chance of succeeding,” she said of starting her new business. “I refused to open the door until I went over everything.”

BARKS Dog Daycare

Owner/Founder
Rue Reynolds and Toni Reynolds
My Location
180 Thunderbird Drive
Richmond Hill GA 31324
United States
Year Company Formed
2011
What's Great About My Mentor?

Bob is honest, straightforward and conveys a genuine desire to see our business flourish. He was

invaluable in finding shortcomings and offering suggestions for shoring up weaknesses in our business

plan. His philosophy that our plan should answer all questions before they are asked went a long way in

demonstrating to investors that we “did our homework” and gave great thought to mitigating risk.

As the company continues its steady growth, we will continue to seek guidance from Bob and SCORE to

navigate the pitfalls of business growth and expansion.

How SCORE Helped

It took several years of research and a focused business plan to secure the funding required for the

company to commence operations in late 2011. Currently, the company has a client roster numbering

in the hundreds and provides boarding & daycare services to over 450 dogs each month on average.

Our Grooming has also become a very strong revenue stream and continues to grow on par with our

occupancy.

After months of market research and formulation of our business plan we met with SCORE to have a

thorough review. Since we would be using our business plan to secure startup capital we wanted to

make sure we had all the bases covered and that our plan demonstrated that our idea was lucrative,

logical and had provisions for risk mitigation. Our SCORE counselor was able to identify key weaknesses

in our plan that had to be addressed before going forward.

An added benefit of working with SCORE was the broad knowledge base held by their counselors;

regardless of the problem we faced whether it be in marketing, finance or accounting there was usually

a SCORE counselor who could lend aid or at the very least, introduce us to someone who could.

 

       I started my refrigeration repair business six months ago and am now at the point of 
needing to interview candidates for my first employee. I’ve never done this before. What tips can 
you offer?

About the Author

       This column is brought to you by the Merrimack Valley Chapter of SCORE, with nearly 70 current and former business executives available to provide free, confidential, one-on-one business mentoring and training workshops for area businesses. Call 603-666-7561 or visit merrimackvalley.score.org for information on mentoring, upcoming workshops and volunteer opportunities. SCORE is a national, non-profit organization and a resource partner of the U. S. Small Business Administration.
       Have a question you’d like answered in this column? E-mail it to info@score-manchester.org, with “Ask SCORE” in the subject line.

SCORE ExpertAnswers

No matter the small business, each entrepreneur faces one similar issue: Pricing. Are you out pricing your customers? Are you under pricing yourself? Is the difference between a year in the red or the black as simple as your price tag? This month SCORE helps you find the answers to these questions.

Few people are better qualified to discuss this issue than Ann Logue, who spent 12 years as a financial market analyst before turning her talents to writing. She also shares her expertise as a lecturer in finance at the University of Illinois at Chicago, teaching both undergraduate and MBA students about corporation finance and international financial markets. Ann will go over the finer points of pricing to help you maximize your pricing for profitability. 

Q:

Pricing is something that all small businesses wrestle with, particularly those just getting started. What are the fundamentals for determining the ideal price for a product or service?

About the Author

Ann Logue - Author and Business Analyst

Ann Logue is a freelance writer and consulting analyst who is fascinated by business and technology. She has a particular interest in regulatory issues and corporate governance. She is the author of Emerging Markets for Dummies, Socially Responsible Investing for Dummies, Day Trading for Dummies, and Hedge Funds for Dummies, and has written for Barron’s, InvestHedge, Newsweek Japan, and BusinessWeek Chicago, among other publications. As an editor and ghostwriter, she worked on a book published by the International Monetary Fund and another by a Wall Street currency strategist. She is a lecturer in finance at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Her current career follows 12 years of experience as an investment analyst. She holds a B.A. from Northwestern University, an M.B.A. from the University of Chicago, and the Chartered Financial Analyst designation.

 

Whisper Creative Products

Delores Rodriguez is an idea person.  In 1998 Delores found herself working in a high pressure job with a Fortune 500 company, putting in lots of hours, and traveling too much.  Too much that is, for her two children at home.  So Delores came up with a great idea for a business - corregated boxes.  Well, not just boxes, but corregated packaging, plastic corregates, foam fabrication, returnables and washable totes.  

            Let’s say your nephew lives in California and he’s working on a project car, 1969 Olds 442.  He need a front bumper, and you happen to have one in your barn that you’d love to ship to him, but you don’t have a clue about how to package it.  It’s not like you can throw it in a box and call UPS.  This baby needs specialty packaging.  Something that won’t allow the bumper to shift or get damaged in transit.  That’s where Delores, and Whisper Creative Products comes in.  Give them the specs on your bumper, and they’ll make a custom package for it.  A package strong enough to ensure that the bumper will get to your nephew in perfect condition.

            “One of our customers wanted to send auto shocks to Mexico and needed special packaging for their products,” explained Delores.  “We custom designed containers that could hold the shocks securely, and although it too a lot of trial and error, those shocks are getting to Mexico in perfect condition.”  Now Delores is getting regular orders from the shock manufacturer.

Owner/Founder
Delores Rodriguez
My Location
1585 Wells Rd
Dundee MI 48131
United States
How SCORE Helped

Ms. Rodriguez has been working with her SCORE Mentor, Dennis Snell, for about 6 months.  “Dennis has been wonderful!  He helped me with Quickbooks, and helped me understand all of the financials – profit and loss, balance sheets, and more.  Now I’m documenting all of my accounting more accurately.”

            “We primarily serve the automotive industry now, but we’re working to get into other manufacturers,” explained Delores.  So Dennis put her in touch with another SCORE Mentor, Tim Ward, whose specialty is sales.  “Tim and I have talked about some of the ideas I have, and he’s given me guidance on how to approach other businesses,” said Delores.”  With the help of Tim and Dennis, and a lot of hard work, Delores’ great ideas are sure to turn into sales and profits for Whisper Creative Products.

Minority Women Entrepreneurs Are Leading The Way For Small Business Growth - Lisa Wirthman

Date
Thu, 2013-08-29 10:41

The surging growth of minority women-owned businesses in the last 15 years tells a mixed story about the American workforce.

Minority women-owned firms grew 156 percent from 1997 to 2013 and now account for one in three women-owned firms in the U.S., according to a 2013 report by American Express on the State of Women-Owned Businesses. In contrast, non-minority women-owned firms grew 32 percent during the same period.

Ask SCORE
 
       I’ve never been the most organized person, but it’s reached the point where the clutter in 
my office is starting to hinder my productivity. How can I get a handle on the paper monster 
that’s threatening to consume me?
 
 

About the Author

       This column is brought to you by the Merrimack Valley Chapter of SCORE, with nearly 70 current and former business executives available to provide free, confidential, one-on-one business mentoring and training workshops for area businesses. Call 603-666-7561 or visit merrimackvalley.score.org for information on mentoring, upcoming workshops and volunteer opportunities. SCORE is a national, non-profit organization and a resource partner of the U. S. Small Business Administration.
       Have a question you’d like answered in this column? E-mail it to info@score-manchester.org, with “Ask SCORE” in the subject line.

Ask SCORE
 
       I’m currently in the planning stage for a new retail bakery. I’m going to need some funding for equipment, but my personal credit history is a bit spotty. How much is that going to hurt me, and how can I combat it?

About the Author

       This column is brought to you by the Merrimack Valley Chapter of SCORE, with nearly 70 current and former business executives available to provide free, confidential, one-on-one business mentoring and training workshops for area businesses. Call 603-666-7561 or visit merrimackvalley.score.org for information on mentoring, upcoming workshops and volunteer opportunities. SCORE is a national, non-profit organization and a resource partner of the U. S. Small Business Administration.
       Have a question you’d like answered in this column? E-mail it to info@score-manchester.org, with “Ask SCORE” in the subject line.

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