Women Entrepreneurs

Blythewood Tae Kwon Do Succeeds With Advice From SCORE

It’s a long way from South Korea to South Carolina.  But for U-Yong Skroback, owner of Blythewood Tae Kwon Do, the journey has been far more than one of distance. 

Owner/Founder
U-Yong Skroback
My Location
Blythewood SC
United States
Employees
3
Year Company Formed
1999
My Successes

Although Tae Kwon Do is a Korean martial art, U-Yong knew little about it until she signed up for a class as something fun to do with her son, Brian. Within three years, she had earned a Black Belt and became interested in sharing these skills with others.  Her classes in a church recreation program proved so popular, U-Yong invested her savings into converting a former auto repair shop into her own Tae Kwon Do studio.

What's Great About My Mentor?

Soon after U-Yong started her business in August 1999, a neighbor suggested that she contact the local chapter of SCORE. “There was so much to running a business that I didn’t know about—cash flow, accounting, taxes, everything,” U-Yong says. “Thankfully, Maxey Love was ready and willing to show me what I needed to do, and how to do it right.”

The former CEO of a local bank, Love had the accounting and financial experience that U-Yong needed. After an introduction to the various types of financial statements, he and U-Yong devised a record keeping system that enabled her to categorize business expenses and reconcile them with her bank statement. Love also guided U-Yong through the preparation of her first business tax return and other license fee payments, then proudly escorted her to the appropriate offices to file the documents.

And though she no longer works directly with Love, U-Yong credits him for having helped her became a true American success story. “Maxey was so wonderful in providing comfort and encouragement when I needed it,” she says.

How SCORE Helped

“I’m grateful that there’s an organization like SCORE that can help me and other people start their own businesses.” says U-Young.

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Sugarplum Visions

Jamie Fine, a Delta Air Lines flight attendant, while recovering from hand surgery, decided to take a cake decorating class which inspired “visions of Sugarplums dancing in her head.” Her initial vision was the design of her wedding cake. She wanted a unique cake for her reception at a Polynesian restaurant to complement its exotic tropical scene. She created the “Exploding Volcano Cake” as a “WOW!” centerpiece.

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Owner/Founder
Jamie Fine
My Location
137 Church Street
Marietta GA 30060
United States
Year Company Formed
2010
My Successes

Soon friends and family were requesting more “WOWS!” than she could bake in her own kitchen. Jamie expanded the bakery by borrowing the kitchen facilities of a friend’s restaurant (after the restaurant had closed for the night). Jamie started to bake and decorate replicas of ladies handbags, footballs, bottles of wine, and sugar paste flowers, displaying no limit to her creativity.

The business soon outgrew the borrowed kitchen facilities. Jamie arranged for several face-to-face mentoring meetings with SCORE mentor, Pat Travisano and attended his Mini-Business Planning Seminar at the Cobb County Chamber of Commerce.

“SCORE mentoring gave me the confidence to open my own bakery.”

Jamie and Pat prepared a simplified business plan which provided Jamie with a better understanding of the financial aspects of her business. In December 2005, she discovered a lovely tearoom that was available to lease and opened her “Sugarplum Visions Bakery and Dessert Café.” It's located on Church Street, a short distance from the downtown Square in Marietta, Georgia.

Jamie’s Website www.sugarplum-visions.com and her unique bakery are a delight to explore. Jamie and Pat are discussing options for growing the business to the next level. She is considering arranging for a full-time baker to permit her to spend more time on the marketing of her business.

MicroSpring Bacteria Business is Booming

For most of us, the word bacteria conjures images of infections and other unpleasantries. Yet one Lancaster County entrepreneur is putting specialized bacteria to work for his clients.

Owner/Founder
George Pearson
My Successes
For most of us, the word bacteria conjures images of infections and other unpleasantries. Yet one Lancaster County entrepreneur is putting specialized bacteria to work for his clients.
 
George Pearson, owner of MicroSpring International LLC, sells microbial cleaning products to several industries, including pest control and food service. The cleaners are rich in earth-friendly bacteria that digest fat, oil, and grease. This green technology eliminates the need for chemical cleaners and produces only water and carbon dioxide as by-products 
Beginning in 2009, George began to form the foundation for his start-up. In fact, it took about a year of planning and legwork to set up the enterprise. It was during this process that George realized he needed additional resources to help build his vision.
 
That’s when he contacted the non-profit business mentors at SCORE Lancaster, where he was paired with counselor Jerry Glenn. The entrepreneur credits Jerry, along with several SCORE co-counselors, with setting him up for success. George says that one of the first things his mentor did was establish a weekly task list. With clearly defined objectives, this former medal-winning member of the Quantico shooting team directed his focus onto building the company. He says, “The list made it so much easier and took so much stress off of starting the business. Once I had the tasks finished, Jerry and I would meet and he’d give me more tasks. Before I knew it everything was set up.”
 
Despite his efforts, George encountered challenges that required him to adjust the original plan. Initially, for example, he’d envisioned owning his own lab where he could manufacture the products. He says, however, that Jerry asked him to consider outsourcing production to a laboratory with the resources to manufacture the formula. After exploring the possibility, George contracted with a lab, allowing MicroSpring to maintain control of production as well as cost. He says, “Jerry helped coach me as far as working out the agreements and building the relationships. He also helped me build my negotiation skills. I wouldn’t be here today if it wasn’t for him because they don’t teach negotiating in college.”
 
As the company continues to grow, George is now directing his focus on the next phase of MicroSpring’s business plan, which includes expanding sales into a broader range of industries. He will also continue to put his resources to work by maintaining relationships with Jerry and the rest of the SCORE Lancaster team. George says, “Many small businesses don’t do well and end up collapsing. SCORE is there to help ensure success for business start-ups.
What's Great About My Mentor?

 “Jerry helped coach me as far as working out the agreements and building the relationships. He also helped me build my negotiation skills. I wouldn’t be here today if it wasn’t for him because they don’t teach negotiating in college.”

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Goeins-Williams Associates Receives Advice From SCORE Mentor

If you asked 100 business owners to rank their most important resource, "employees" would finish number one almost every time. But while organizations may profess to value their workers above all else, not all of them know how to instill and maintain the values of dedication, teamwork, and mutual respect. That's where Dr. Devona E.G. Williams comes in. A former DuPont Company employee with a doctorate in urban affairs and public policy, Devona has spent the past 14 years providing management consulting and training services to corporations, government agencies and non-profit groups. She helps their leaders plan for the future, and she teaches their employees skills that help them do their jobs better through training on topics like attitude management, diversity, leadership, listening, personal style coping and stress.

Owner/Founder
Dr. Devona E.G. Williams
My Location
Wilmington DE
United States
Employees
2
Year Company Formed
1986
My Successes

Thanks to SCORE Mentor Dave Milling's advice, Goeins-Williams Associates is poised to enhance its services to public- and private-sector organizations throughout the Delaware Valley region and beyond. The company also sells training materials and other organizational development resources to customers across the U.S via an e-commerce site, which includes a link to Goeins-Williams' own Web page. A recent article in the Wilmington News-Journal, Delaware's largest newspaper, spotlighted Devona and her role in assisting area corporations and agencies.

Having implemented the steps that will accommodate her company's growth, Devona is hard at work at Dave's other recommendations. They include becoming an 8(a)-certified business, settling some lingering financial issues, and forming an advisory council to help steer the company's future. Williams has already reserved a spot on that council for her SCORE mentor.

What's Great About My Mentor?

Devona had long known about SCORE and decided it was time to enlist their help. She met with Volunteer Mentor Dave Milling, the former CEO and owner of a major paper products company. Devona laid out her issues and ideas, then asked Dave for his reaction. "Dave agreed that I was making the right moves, but he also had some ideas for things I hadn't considered," Devona says. "It felt good having someone with his experience validate what I was doing. But more important, he provided a fresh, objective look at how I was implementing my plans."

“It always helps to talk to someone with experience who can help you set goals and find the best way to achieve them. Dave gave me confidence to do what was necessary to manage my business’ growth, not be overwhelmed by it.” says Devona.

How SCORE Helped

Although Williams wishes she had called on SCORE years earlier, she's making up for lost time by using the organization's Web site, seminars, and other small business resources. "I've always held the SCORE organization in high regard, and my Dave has more than validated my expectations," she says. "He's become more than a business mentor. I consider him a friend."

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