Women Entrepreneurs

Sonoma Gnome

My Location
Santa Rosa CA
United States
How SCORE Helped

Rebecca’s path to becoming an entrepreneur began with the idea that she wanted to find a way to provide Sonoma County tourists "with unique, locally-made gift items, that were more interesting souvenirs than the typical 'Made in China' key chains."
 A gifted creative person with a solid sense of humor, Rebecca first started selling witty t-shirts for the holidays, such as the popular "I Believe in Santa...Rosa" shirts. Her next thought was to create a business around gnomes, (who are protectors of the earth), starting the Sonoma Gnome Company in 2013.
At this time she turned to SCORE, and began meeting with Counselor Dana Jacoby. "She was incredibly helpful as she made suggestions that I never would have thought of," Rebecca said. "I remember pausing after one idea and saying, Wow, what a concept!"
"It's great to have someone as a sounding board someone with decades of experience offering help. It's incredibly valuable," she said. "Dana was supportive, encouraging and positive in her comments and feedback to me. I have had the good fortune through SCORE of having my very own business mentor who has gone out of her way to listen and offer her perspective on my entrepreneurial anxieties and dreams."
Rebecca called SCORE a "gift to the community." Besides the one-on-one consulting, she said the workshops are extremely beneficial, especially for a start-up company.
"The classes are great for networking, as I met people who were very supportive and connected," she said. "As entrepreneurs, you often feel isolated.  The classes give you the opportunity to ask questions, get new insights and network."   
Rebecca said she also likes working with Dana because she is counseling a number of local sustainable businesses.  "She has the niche that’s showing the more hip, groovy side of SCORE."   
 She added that some people express concern that SCORE is filled with "old fuddy duddies." She sees SCORE as an incredible resource offering experienced business advice. "They're very consistent in what they offer: the advisors, classes and curriculum are extremely helpful,” she said. Rebecca’s bigger business vision involves a hospitality-based project, and she hopes that SCORE and mentor Dana Jacoby will be able to continue to assist her as she develops her concept. "It would be fantastic to achieve this lodging-based business goal with SCORE’s support!" 

Whitham Group

Carina Whitham
My Location
8130 Louisa Way
Windsor CA
United States
How SCORE Helped

Carina Whitham, Founder and President of the top Renewable Energy Executive Search Firm, Whitham Group, first approached SCORE about five years ago when she was just launching her company.
She discovered SCORE through an internet search for mentors. Carina said she was somewhat skeptical when she saw SCORE’s counseling was free. "I wondered if this will help me and would they have "A" players as consultants if there were no charge," she said. "I was pleasantly surprised as the counselors are informative and experienced."

"When I first met with Richard, he had me construct a business plan and a SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats) analysis," she said. "He really made me do my homework."
As her company expanded, she continued to meet with Richard to discuss growth strategies. Today, she's very proud to say that Whitham Group has experienced phenomenal growth, has a staff of eight, and is extremely successful. "Now when I meet Richard, he tells me how he always knew I was going to make it," she said.

Hip Chick Farms

Serefina Palandech
My Location
335 Sexton Rd
Sebastopol CA
United States
How SCORE Helped

When Serefina initially envisioned her idea of offering a healthier line of chicken nuggets, fingers and meatballs, she turned to the internet for research. One of her first discoveries was SCORE.  She signed up for the five-week class on How to Start a Business, which she credits for getting her business on the right track.
Her next step was to meet with SCORE Mentor Richard Adler, who helped her develop a business plan and financial projections. Serefina also credits Mr. Adler with asking her about the "end game" i.e. where she wants to take her business: To keep it forever or sell it someday?
"We decided we wanted to be acquired, which changed a lot of our thinking,  for example, we decided to co-pack the products instead of building a factory," Serefina said.
As a result, she said Hip Chick Farms went from an idea to a national organic chicken producer, which is sold in Safeway, Whole Foods and other grocery chains. "Starting a business is fraught with challenges.  But with SCORE’s help we cemented our vision, had perseverance and never gave up," she said.
She said she continues to work with SCORE as the company is looking at adding staff, and is asking for help with hiring, benefits, etc.

Porteen Gear

Robyn Porteen
How SCORE Helped

My SCORE mentor (Dan Butler) helped me evaluate my business and move it forward.  I worked with SCORE to secure a micro-loan so I could buy new equipment and increase my marketing.  These changes have put me on a new business track. I am excited to see where this takes my business, as I anticipate expanded sales and higher earnings.  Thank you SCORE.

Nourish Organic Market & Deli

Sheri Rop
How SCORE Helped

SCORE helped us get QuickBooks up and running for our business.  Thanks to our mentor (Joe Mierendorf) we were able to install the program, input data, and run reports.  This has been a huge help.  Not only did we get assistance with QuickBooks, but we received useful operations suggestions, accounting 101 training, systems ideas, and information on tax considerations.  SCORE has had a big impact on the way we do day-to-day business. 

Big Joe's Bar and Grill

How SCORE Helped

My SCORE mentor (Richard McKenzie) helped me through the process of getting funding for our business.  He met with me several times, went over all my paperwork, and guided me along the way.  Anytime I called him, he was there!  He was a pleasure to work with, and I am very grateful for his help.

Advanced Thermal Imaging

Julie Bennett
How SCORE Helped

SCORE has been a tremendous help to me in the starting of my business, Advanced Thermal Imaging. I had a dream which SCORE has been very instrumental in bringing to fruition in just a few short months. The first and very involved project was creating a business plan, with which Mr. Bill Leete was very patient, persistent, and encouraging. Being prepared with a competent business plan enabled me to secure a loan from the second bank I contacted. Once that occurred, I was able to take the certification course and begin other details for starting a business. Mr. Leete was most helpful in providing information regarding other services I might need, such as lawyers, accountants, and insurance companies. Mr. Leete was also helpful in connecting me with other men in areas of expertise that I needed. I was very grateful for Mr. Jim Toth’s expertise with building a website; that was invaluable to me. I was also very grateful for Mr. Joe Mierendorf who willingly tutored me in QuickBooks. I can’t say enough how pleased I am to have been connected with SCORE and how impressed I am with the dedication of each individual in helping me succeed; each person willingly gave up time for mentoring and tutoring me. As a start-up business I will continue to use SCORE services when necessary and definitely recommend SCORE to others who are interested in starting a business or need help with an existing business.

Moving up: Homeless to home store, CEO credits SCORE mentor

Mon, 2015-03-30 15:30

Name: Cynthia Heathcoe

Distinction: CEO of Contemporary Living furniture store

City: Palm Beach Gardens

Cynthia Heathcoe’s dreams of having her own business materialized a year ago when she opened Contemporary Living (www.contemporarylivingpbg.com) in Downtown at the Gardens. This year, she is in the running for the Entrepreneur of the Year Award from Palm Beach SCORE (palmbeach.score.org). The awards ceremony will be on May 8. Finalists will be announced soon.

Simplecare Products

Stephanie Gagne
My Location
St. Helena CA
United States
How SCORE Helped

Stephanie began working with SCORE in 2012 after hearing about the organization from the SBA.  She had created a line of natural body products and was selling them at trade shows.  "Initially, Tom from SCORE helped me to get more organized and how to be more effective in my booth at shows," she said.
Even though she had started selling some products at Whole Foods in Texas, she has pulled back her line offering it solely online. "I decided to first develop my website and online status, making sure it's solid - especially the packaging and product mix."
Stephanie added that SCORE helped her to streamline the product line. "It was great to be able to bounce ideas of them, and they gave me experienced feedback.  They also helped with my business strategy and to make decisions," she said.
She added that she likes the counselor’s flexibility as she can email questions and meet them when she's available. "Because I work at nights, SCORE is great for my needs and schedule."
"It's a true mentoring relationship," she said.
Stephanie said her next steps with SCORE will be to discuss how to get back into retail and how to handle adding staff.

This is one of the 6 most current Biz Talk articles written by Certified Mentor Bill McCabe and published in the Charlotte County Florida Sunpapers twice per month.

Mobile Payment Services.   Provides a review of various mobile payment services and the pros and cons of each.

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