Retail and Wholesale Trade

Michael Sarka

Available

Santa Cruz, CA

Languages:English

How I can help you

Michael Sarka Tourism and Hospitality management, marketing and publicity. Events development, planning and operation. Small business start up and operation, growth/management development. Not for profit start-up and development -- Chief Executive Officer, Board of Directors and Chief Elected Officer hiring and coaching.  Both for profit and NP management, marketing, program development and implementation. Agriculture background. 650+ SCORE clients served.

Areas of expertise

Industry Experience

Education

Bachelor of Arts Degree, St. Thomas University. Collateral Credits, University of Minnesota. Certified Meeting Planner, Convention Liaison Council. Certified Mentor, SCORE. Be the Difference, Individual Award, Volunteer Center of Santa Cruz County. Member, SCORE national awards -- E-Mail Mentoring certification development program and Distinguished Service Award, 2015.

Communication methods

Have you found success with mentoring from Michael Sarka? Share your story.

SCORE Success Story: uBuyCoffee.com

Chris Rustici drinking one of uBuyCoffee.com’s Kona coffee roasts while currently deployed in Afghanistan.

http://www.ubuycoffee.com/

Chris Rustici was in a state of transition, a recent graduate of the University of New Hampshire and a Marine Reservist who could be called for another deployment at any time. Combined with the struggling economy, he realized that finding a job wasn’t going to be easy.
          
Why not start his own business, he thought. Chris discussed the idea with his father, Bob, a successful entrepreneur himself, with an extensive background in Internet marketing, and following some research, they decided to form a partnership to sell gourmet coffee and gifts online.

“We knew it was a highly competitive business, especially with the vast number of online retailers, so our top priority was how to plan for success,” says Chris. Bob, who serves as volunteer counselor for SCORE, suggested they take advantage of SCORE’s many resources.
          
“Those helped set us in the right direction,” Chris notes.
          
Attending SCORE workshops such as “Steps to a Better Website” and “Business Taxes” provided a better understanding about a wide range of business issues. Using the SCORE website, they downloaded templates that help forecast cash flow, from which they were able to create a first year plan of projected costs and revenues.
          
“You’re always anxious to jump in with both feet, but we knew how important it was to be conscious of the time and money invested at startup. This initial ‘homework’ period allowed us to stay focused on the critical steps that needed to be done first,” says Chris.
          
With their basic business plan in hand, the actual launch of the business, uBuyCoffee.com, was the next challenge. Sampling coffees from different countries is a growing trend among coffee drinkers, with aficionados even going as far as tracking the coffees to the specific farms. All across the United States, there are hundreds of micro coffee roasters who are creating a market for specialty coffees and roasting coffee almost on demand.
          
“I never realized the taste difference with the fresh roasted coffee, but now that’s all we drink. It’s hard to look at packaged coffee on the supermarket shelf and not wonder just how fresh it really is,” says Bob.
          
Tapping into the trend they’d noted, the Rusticis called hundreds of coffee roasters, offering a free listing on uBuyCoffee.com and the opportunity to sell the roasters’ products. Their goal was to be able to list coffee roasters from every state, as well as promote fair trade coffees.
          
“Talking with the coffee roasters is interesting. They’re primarily small businesses like us, and since most of the coffee is grown by people without a lot of money, many of these roasters have adopted an attitude of great social awareness,” says Chris.

“Some of the roasters we have listed work very closely with coffee farms in faraway countries, visiting them periodically to offer tips on everything from marketing their crops to understanding the complex global market for coffee. As the world’s number two traded commodity (oil is first), I never realized just how large or complex the coffee industry is.”
   
 

Owner/Founder
Chris and Bob Rustici
My Location
Nashua NH
United States
Year Company Formed
2010
My Successes

UBuyCoffee.com is now in its second year of operation, with a constant stream of orders arriving every day, a positive cash flow and growing revenues.
          
“We have confidence in our business plans, goals and long-term success,” says Chris.
         
If you’ve never tried fresh roasted coffee, or are interested in sampling coffee from virtually any corner of the world, check out uBuyCoffee.com or call 800-360-8105.

How SCORE Helped

The many resources SCORE offers were extremely helpful in our planning and getting the business up and running on the right path.


-Chris Rustici

Attending SCORE workshops such as “Steps to a Better Website” and “Business Taxes” provided a better understanding about a wide range of business issues. Using the SCORE website, they downloaded templates that help forecast cash flow, from which they were able to create a first year plan of projected costs and revenues.
          
“You’re always anxious to jump in with both feet, but we knew how important it was to be conscious of the time and money invested at startup. This initial ‘homework’ period allowed us to stay focused on the critical steps that needed to be done first,” says Chris.
          
With their basic business plan in hand, the actual launch of the business, uBuyCoffee.com, was the next challenge. Sampling coffees from different countries is a growing trend among coffee drinkers, with aficionados even going as far as tracking the coffees to the specific farms. All across the United States, there are hundreds of micro coffee roasters who are creating a market for specialty coffees and roasting coffee almost on demand.

 

Education

Graduate of the University of New Hampshire

I’m a licensed land surveyor who recently started my own firm. While I know my trade well, like most engineering types, sales is not my strong suit. How can I overcome this weakness?  Read more....

Link to Small Biz Open Mic website

 

A concise primer on how to navigate your way to franchise success.

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...

VIDEOS
Videos

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.

SCORE Mentor Advices French Corner Antiques

In 1987, Guy and Daniele Veroli moved from Paris to suburban Philadelphia and established French Corner Antiques. Regular buying trips to their homeland helped the couple keep their store stocked with rare and unique items for their many loyal customers. The Verolis were also smart business people, and understood the benefits of periodically reexamining their business strategy.

 

With the lease on their store set to expire in July 2002, the couple began thinking about taking the store in a distinctly different direction. Because so many of their customers lived outside the area, there was no pressing need for a brick-and-mortar location or regular business hours. E-commerce, on the other hand, posed some intriguing possibilities that would benefit both the Verolis and their customers. They also had the advantage of an existing Web site, and a Paris-based son who could help with design and maintenance.

My Location
Philadelphia PA
United States
Year Company Formed
2002
What's Great About My Mentor?

“Ed has been a wonderful resource. There has not been a question that he couldn’t answer. It’s amazing that these qualified individuals provide their time and knowledge for no cost.”

—Daniele Veroli, co-owner, French Corner Antiques

How SCORE Helped

But many questions remained about the idea, including whether it would work at all. At the suggestion of a friend, the Verolis visited SCORE’s Web site in January 2002 and registered for email counseling. They were soon matched with Ed Piekarz, a retired executive living in Sarasota, FL. Communicating entirely via email, Ed and the Verolis worked through the many technical requirements necessary to move the business to the Internet, as well as mixing “conventional” and online strategies to retain their customer base.

The transition would not be easy. Guy and Daniele would need access to the site while in the U.S. and on their buying trips to France. There were also a host of design and maintenance issues to consider, as well as ensuring the security and reliability of online payment systems. But despite the complexities of distance, language and technology, the Verolis had everything in place to make the leap into cyberspace on June 8, 2002—Bastille Day, and the day the lease of the retail store expired. The couple marked the occasion with an Open House and the formal debut of their new e-commerce site.

The Verolis have not abandoned the “real world” of retail altogether. They have rented space in a local multi-dealer antiques store, and are exploring similar opportunities elsewhere on the East Coast. “We’re still experimenting and evaluating to find the right combination for our business,” Daniele says, “but the opportunities of the Internet are very exciting.”

Guy and Daniele also keep in touch with Ed Piekarz, particularly as they explore new options, such as the potential use of Internet portals to increase their visibility.

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.

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