Women Entrepreneurs

A list of suggested service providers for SCORE Clients

Wildflower Linen

"If you need help, there are people right there [at SCORE], with amazing knowledge. And free! ” -Youngsong Martin, Owner of Wildflower Linen.

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Owner/Founder
Youngsong Martin
My Location
Fountain Valley CA
United States
Employees
12
Year Company Formed
2002
My Successes

A wedding reception, party or other special event should be a memorable experience for hosts and guests alike. But to fashion designer Youngsong Martin, something just didn’t look right.  By drawing on her extensive experience in the world of apparel, Young felt she could “dress” the entire event by creating elegantly tailored slipcovers and linens, and in the process, help define a memory-making tone of glamour. That idea led to the formation of Wildflower Linens.

Almost immediately, Young saw her idea take off among Southern California’s event organizers. In fact, she was afraid her business would grow too fast. 

“You don’t really realize what’s involved with running a business until you actually do it,” Young explains. “I was comfortable with my marketing approach, but I definitely needed help with the management and financial aspects.”

With SCORE’s help, Wildflower Linen has a solid financial and marketing foundation to support continued growth. Corporations, banquet managers, event organizers and bridal reception planners across Southern California now call on Young to assist with events in private homes, and in venues as diverse as the Ritz-Carlton Hotels in Laguna Niguel and Pasadena, the Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Birthplace, and luxurious charter yachts in Newport Beach. And, with several Hawaiian resorts now among her clientele, Young’s company is poised to serve party planners and event venues nationwide.

What's Great About My Mentor?

“It took only a few conversations with Terri to know that I could trust this organization,” Young says. “She understood immediately the kind of business I wanted, and was so enthusiastic about helping me. I couldn’t believe she and other business veterans would be willing do so much and not receive a penny for their efforts.” 

Former sales and marketing professional Terri Carr helped Young refine her business goals and reviewed her marketing program. 

Young also began working with Jim Anderson, who used his extensive background in finance and management to review Wildflower Linen’s accounting and financial practices. He also helped with issues such as expense tracking, inventory control, taxes and planning/budgeting.

“It’s one thing to think you know where your money’s going, but it’s quite another to actually write expenses down and see how they affect your operations,” Young says. “Jim helps me analyze expenses and determine if they are necessary to help keep my business growing. It’s almost like I’m getting an MBA from him!”

How SCORE Helped

Young remembered hearing about SCORE several years earlier during the launch of another business venture, and decided to give them a call. Young continues to rely on Jim Anderson and SCORE to help in monitoring her company’s financial health, as well as other issues such as employee benefits stuff and insurance. “Small businesses often fail because they don’t get help,” Young says. “They can find everything they need at SCORE, and for no charge. At some point, I hope to become a SCORE mentor and provide other entrepreneurs the same kind of expert assistance I’ve been blessed to receive from Jim and Terri.”

“I liked the idea of working with retired executives who understand what small business is all about. They have a track record, but they also had to start somewhere too.” says Youngsong Martin.

Data sources of marketing and demographic data for client use, primarily for Business Plans

Champion Tutoring Finds Success With Advice From SCORE Mentor

School teacher Audrey Menard did her best every day to generate an appreciation and understanding of mathematics. But at the end of every class, she was overwhelmed by the number of students that asked her for extra help. She spent most of her spare time working with them one-on-one. There was such a strong demand for tutoring that she would have to tutor full time in order to reach them all.

Then the idea hit her: Why not create a business to meet student demand for extra assistance? But she was a teacher, not a business person. She knew about education and believed in the importance of individualized tutoring, but she didn't know the first thing about starting and managing a business. Following a friend's advice, Menard began business counseling with SCORE Mentor John MacDonald and regularly attended SCORE workshops.

Owner/Founder
Audrey Menard
My Location
Charlottesville VA
United States
Employees
30
Year Company Formed
1994
My Successes

Champion Tutoring opened its doors with four to five tutors who offered math, English, special education and reading tutoring primarily to junior high school students. MacDonald helped Menard to market Champion Tutoring to students and parents and to recruit tutors. She used direct mailings and radio and newspaper ads, but her presentations to Charlottesville schools proved to be the most effective. She visited Charlottesville's guidance counselors, teachers and principals and presented Champion Tutoring. The schools were very receptive and soon let parents and students know where to turn for extra help.

Champion Tutoring has grown substantially in just four years. Menard now employs around 30 tutors that offer tutoring in a full range of subjects including, math, English, reading, special education, science, social studies, GRE prep, SAT prep and foreign languages. Word has traveled so quickly about the quality of Champion Tutoring that advertising is no longer necessary; nearly all clients come from referrals. Between 1996 and 1997, revenues increased by $35,000 and in the last year, profits increased by another $34,000.

UPDATE: Champion Tutoring has since been sold to new owner, Anna C. Patchias. Patchias has worked to transform Champion Tutoring and give the company a new fun filled spin on education. Patchias has worked with SCORE since 2004 and uses the advice her mentors have given her to give Champion Tutoring an edge.

What's Great About My Mentor?

John MacDonald helped Menard transform her business idea into reality. He provided Audrey with assistance in all aspects of developing the business, including creating a business plan, developing a marketing and sales strategy and managing cash flow. MacDonald's mentoring and Menard's diligence soon paid off. What once seemed like a far-fetched idea became a profitable business.

How SCORE Helped

“I wouldn’t have the success I do today without my SCORE mentor. He helped me with EVERY business aspect and got me where I am today.” says Audrey.

Enhanced Ideas

Gwyn Anderson knew she wanted to use her extensive knowledge of computer hardware and software to work for herself. While she moved through the intricacies of computer technology with ease, starting her own home-based business didn't come as naturally. So, Gwyn turned to SCORE Mentor Don Frank for some basic help with starting her small business, Enhanced Ideas, now thriving in its third year.

Owner/Founder
Gwyn Anderson
My Location
LaCrosse WI
United States
Employees
4
Year Company Formed
1996
My Successes

One thing Gwyn has learned is that her clients find her. She has repeat customers and referrals that sustain her client list and believes it is because a good tech is hard to find. Gwyn currently takes clients from as far away as Illinois, Iowa and Minnesota as long as they pay her travel expenses. She only schedules two clients per day, because she never knows what she is going to walk into. "The question or problem could take 15 minutes or six hours," she says. Right now about two-thirds of her business is commercial and the other third residential. Enhanced Ideas performs computer consulting, software training, hardware evaluation and installation, and LAN configuration.

One residential customer, and one of her biggest fans, is another of the LaCrosse Chapter's SCORE mentors, Dick Evans. Dick has used Enhanced Ideas several times for assistance with his home computer and has high praise for Gwyn. "Gwyn is well-organized and has a passion for the business world," Dick says. He adds that with her attention now aimed at custom training for small businesses, she may need to take on more personnel. "With LaCrosse's flourishing small business community and population—around 100,000—Gwyn's skills are in demand."

What's Great About My Mentor?

Don Frank helped Gywn form her LaCrosse, WI, business by working with her on what he calls some common sense questions: how to advertise properly, price services, create a business plan and balance income and expenses. Gwyn says she came to SCORE looking for direction. Gwyn and Frank evaluated several computer stores in the area and the services they offered to get a feel for the competition. Frank says, "Gwyn just took our conversation about starting Enhanced Ideas and our ideas and really ran with them."

How SCORE Helped

According to Gwyn, "Coming to SCORE was the best thing I did." Gwyn also was looking for guidance with local business codes and statutes so that her business would be legally stable from the start. "I was so impressed that they listened," says Gwyn of her SCORE mentor. "They made me feel that my idea had value and supported me." And, Gywn still works with SCORE when she has questions about the business. "I know I can call and ask questions when I am moving into foreign territory," Gwyn adds.

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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