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Select and watch one of these super 1-3 minute videos.  You can learn how to market, how to grow revenues and sales, how to track your success, what it takes to be an entrepreneur, how financial statements can save your life, and more...


Marketing & Sales Videos

1. The Marketing Message - Improving Yours

2. Direct Marketing - Creating a Business Using

This is a graph illustrating when fixed plus variable costs equal business revenue. That is, you neither lost or made any money on that volume for that product or service. Usually this calculation is shown as a graph but numbers of units and dollars are shown on the grid.

Every startup existing company must balance costs with revenues or they will lose money. This calculation, using an Excel formula, will calculate when a certain volume of sales will equal your fixed and variable costs.  The variable costs are the cost per unit of volume. Most business plans will show this calculation.

This business plan is a generic model suitable for all types of businesses. However, you should modify it to suit your particular circumstances.

“Ultimate Business Planner” is a Windows based software tool that significantly eases the burden of writing a formal business plan. It guides you through each business-planning step quickly and easily.

“Ultimate Business Planner” is a Windows based software tool that significantly eases the burden of writing a formal business plan. It guides you through each business-planning step quickly and easily.

Though my wholesale building supply business is profitable, I can’t help feeling we’re not operating up to our potential. As the company’s leader, what can I do to give us the needed push?

SCORE Mentor Gives Advice to Custom Sewing

In this age of the Internet, cell phones and satellite television with hundreds of channels, the most effective marketing tool remains the simplest—word of mouth. That’s something Ellen Baxendale knows all too well.

Ellen Baxendale
My Location
Endicott NY
United States
Year Company Formed
My Successes

When her son, Tristan, was born 12 years ago, Ellen was happy to trade her career as a licensed veterinary technician for that of stay-at-home mom. But with Tristan growing faster than most babies his age, Ellen found it increasingly difficult to find clothes to fit him. So she fell back on her old hobby of sewing and began crafting parts of Tristan’s wardrobe herself. The more she made, the more she enjoyed it. Soon, Ellen was making clothes for herself and her mother. But even though she gave in to the lure of a high-tech, computerized sewing machine, Ellen never gave any thought to making it a career. After all, it was just a hobby. And, with Tristan’s sister, Victoria, on the way, the job of full-time mom gave her plenty to do.

A few years later, however, a friend of her mother’s asked if Ellen would make some clothes for her, and help with some alterations. Ellen happily agreed. Her mother’s friend told her friends, who also came to Ellen with their sewing needs. Before long, Ellen found herself with a full-time home-based sewing business.

“By 1996, I had a solid customer base, and was making too much money to claim this as a hobby,” Ellen recalls. “One of my customers had started a business and suggested that I call SCORE. I had looked into other business assistance services, and figured SCORE would be a great option because it was free.”

Ellen’s business was doing well.  She now needed to consolidate her operations, which were spread out in several rooms of her house. Ellen was uncertain about moving to a storefront. “I enjoyed working at home because it allowed me to stay close to my family,” she says. “My husband and I decided to renovate our sun porch into a new studio for me. I now have a more spacious work area complete with changing rooms, countertops for my machines and a separate entrance for customers.”

The new studio gave Ellen an unexpected benefit: credibility. “Customers now look at me as a business owner, not someone who does sewing for extra money,” she says. “I have the look of a professional business, but also the flexibility to be home for my children. I’m also able to maintain my interest in my first love, veterinary medicine. I spend one day a week working at a local veterinarian’s office. He too is a customer and a fellow small business owner. We have a lot of fun exchanging ideas and experiences.”

Perhaps no part of Ellen’s career as an entrepreneur was as exciting as being selected for Rotary International’s prestigious Group Study exchange. In November 2001, she joined five other small business owners from around the country for a three-week expenses-paid trip to Japan. “The program is structured to provide experiences that will have an impact on my professional life,” Ellen says. “I spent a day at the Bluebird Kimono Sewing School, and visited a company that manufactures clothing beads, which is one of my niche markets.”

What's Great About My Mentor?

A call to SCORE’s Binghamton, NY, chapter led to a meeting with Volunteer Mentors Dick Hannis and Jack Kehoe. Ellen recalls that the two business veterans were supportive, but very direct. “Dick asked somewhat sternly why I wanted to start a sewing business,” she says, adding with a laugh, “I replied confidently that I already had a business; I just wanted to know how to make it legal.”

That icebreaker led to a wealth of advice for Ellen, who learned about the procedures she’d have to follow and agencies to contact. “Dick and Jack were very helpful and encouraged me to call back if I had other questions,” Ellen says. “As I was leaving, Dick said that his tailor had died, and asked if could I take him on. So along with getting a lot of great information from that meeting, I got a new customer.”

Since then, Dick has stopped by Ellen’s home every other month to check on her progress. “If I have questions that he can’t answer, he always sends me to the right person,” she says. “His advice is always on target. He has helped me with things like dealing with difficult customers, organizing my schedule and setting up an investment portfolio for my profits."

One person who eagerly awaits hearing about her trip is SCORE mentor Dick, who continues to serve as Ellen’s mentor. “He’s more than a teacher and advisor,” Ellen says. “He’s also a personal friend. He’s very dedicated to SCORE, which is great for other small business owners who need this kind of resource.”

How SCORE Helped

Just as Ellen never dreamed that she would find herself preparing for an extended overseas business trip, she also never expected to be a successful business owner. “I started out just wanting a little something for myself,” she says. “Making this opportunity work required a lot of effort on my part. But without SCORE’s help, I wouldn’t be here today. They helped me with a lot of issues that I probably wouldn’t have thought of. They also gave me a lot of confidence to make this opportunity work for me.”

News Videos and Articles


Vertigo, Inc. Reinvents Itself With the Help From SCORE

Vertigo, Inc. owners Glen Brown and Roy Haggard have transformed their small engineering company into a burgeoning manufacturing business with the help of Inland Empire SCORE Mentor Nary Kanoor.

Glen Brown and Roy Haggard
My Location
Lake Elsinore CA
United States
Year Company Formed
My Successes

In 2003, Cal Tech grad and company founder Glen Brown turned to his business partner, designer and inventor, Roy Haggard, with a concept for developing some of the 16 patents and the vast array of intellectual property the two engineers had developed in their 17 years together.

Their small consulting and prototyping company, headquartered at Skylark Airport in Lake Elsinore, CA, was well know and highly respected around the world for its ability to solve seemingly intractable engineering problems – from capturing NASA’s Genesis spacecraft in mid-air after its fiery entry into the Earth’s atmosphere to building inflatable fabric “AirBeams” capable of supporting a 150-foot-long portable aircraft hangar.

Glen’s concept was to license their GPS guidance-and-control technology to a company that would build, market and sell the world’s first affordable autopilot for military cargo parachutes. No sooner was the ink dry on Vertigo’s first corporate joint venture than they won the largest contract in their history to design and build 55 AirBeam aircraft maintenance hangars for the U.S. Air Force.

Suddenly, these two talented engineers were faced with the prospect of their friendly little engineering firm doubling in size every three to four years and changing overnight from a rapid-prototyping house to a full-fledged production facility. They called SCORE for help.

Just 12 months after that first call to SCORE, Vertigo completely reconfigured its corporate structure, hiring a new general manager and adding a number of outside directors to its board. They are getting ready to set up a dedicated factory for the manufacture of their patented AirBeams, and the company now has the strategic plan in place that will allow it to manage the kind of sustained growth that Glen and Roy could only have dreamed of 20 years ago.

These changes have had the added benefit of allowing Vertigo’s talented owners to step away from the day-to-day management of their company and get back to doing the things that led to their initial success – solving challenging technical problems that add value to what is now a rapidly growing product base.

Owner Glen Brown says, “Here we were, thinking we were dealing with the kind of corporate challenges that no one could understand. In comes Nary and within a couple of hours it’s as if he’s known Roy and me all our lives.”

Glen adds, “He certainly helped us see outside ourselves and look at our company with fresh eyes. We’re very appreciative of Nary’s advice and counsel, and we are certain that we wouldn’t have reinvented ourselves so quickly, if at all, without his involvement.”

What's Great About My Mentor?

In March 2005, seeking practical advice from someone who had “been there and done that,” Glen and Roy turned to their local SCORE chapter. They found Nary Kanoor, a retired software executive who had piloted several companies through the difficult waters of transitioning from a small founder/owner-managed company. Nary proposed a five-phase plan, starting with the most basic of activities–developing corporate mission and vision statements for this company in transition.

How SCORE Helped

Glen says, “We’re very appreciative of SCORE Mentor Nary Kanoor’s advice and counsel, and we are certain that we wouldn’t have reinvented ourselves so quickly, if at all, without his involvement.”

Semiconductor Circuits

Teddi Ritchie liked her job and she liked the company she worked for. She never dreamed that one day she would own it. But when the owners of Semiconductor Circuits Inc. (SCI) planned to close down the electronics manufacturing plant where she had worked for 21 years, Teddi set out to do just that. "I had two choices," she recalls. "I could either look for gainful employment elsewhere, or go through the system and try to buy the company. We had good people, good products, and our customers liked us. If there was ever a place worth saving, this was it."

Teddi Ritchie
My Location
Windham NH
United States
Year Company Formed
My Successes

Making the leap from materials manager to business owner would not be easy. Teddi's experience was in purchasing, not finance, and preparing a business plan for such a huge purchase would require extensive information and up-front analysis. However, Teddi knew her company well. Although she would have to keep her plans confidential, she was eager to give it a try. But time was of the essence. SCI's current owners couldn't wait forever, and Teddi still had her "day job" to think about.

For several weeks, Teddi worked well into the wee hours of the morning developing the business plan that would ultimately save SCI. The formidable task became increasingly frustrating because many of her resources didn't always provide the right answers. About three-quarters of the way through, Teddi realized that she needed to talk to somebody. The question was: who? That’s when Teddi reached out to SCORE.

The first bank Teddi approached was intrigued by her plan, but suggested that she explore getting assistance from the state. Teddi eventually received a bank loan and state-backed financing from a local economic development authority. The deal was closed on a Friday in December 1998. The following Monday, Teddi walked into Semiconductor Circuits as the new owner and CEO.

Teddi's first steps were to make some long-overdue policy changes. She implemented flexible work schedules and production incentive programs, and encouraged more employee involvement in setting operations and management goals. These and other moves resulted in a more engaged workforce and a healthier balance sheet. SCI was projected to make $2.5 million during Ritchie's first year of ownership. After the first nine months, the company was on track to earn $4.2 million, with the promise of even better times to come. Semiconductor Circuits also added five new employees to its payroll in the month's following Ritchie's purchase.

"We're achieving these wonderful results because we're focusing on the business," Teddi explains. "The previous owner had pretty much given up on us because we amounted to only 1 percent of a billion-dollar company. By being more flexible, our employees are motivated to do their best work, which allows us to produce a better product. Now, our old owners are one of our customers."

What's Great About My Mentor?

While scanning the Internet for help, Teddi discovered the U.S. Small Business Administration's (SBA) Web site, which in turn led her to SCORE's homepage. She contacted the local chapter and within a few days received a call from Shep Bartlett, a former owner of a furniture business. Shep met Teddi at the local library and reviewed the still-evolving business plan. "Shep was just the person I'd been looking for," Teddi says. "He understood my objectives and answered all my questions, making sure I understood each topic before we moved on to the next area. With his help, I was ready to present my business plan to the banks."

Teddi doesn't plan to rest on her laurels. She still meets regularly with Shep to discuss business opportunities and ways to keep SCI growing. "He's a great advisor and a wonderful person," she says.

How SCORE Helped

“I didn’t want to spend the rest of my life asking ‘what if.’ I believed in myself and in the ability of my fellow employees to make this dream succeed. But I couldn’t have done it without the help of Shep Bartlett and SCORE.” says Teddi Richie.

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