Frank Batsche and Frank Geers already had a wealth of business experience when they teamed up in October 2002 to form Harris Hawk LLC, a company that helps other firms with their promotional and fulfillment programs. Batsche, Harris Hawk’s president, had already established and operated successful insurance and real estate investment firms. Geers, the company vice president, had developed his marketing expertise with his family’s promotional and printing management business. Despite their combined knowledge, however, the two business partners still felt they could use some additional business know-how, particularly when it came to Harris Hawks’ budgeting and finances.
Although Harris Hawk’s sales have rocketed from $382,000 in 1983 to a projected $1.6 million in 2006, SCORE Mentor Ralph Lowenstein cautioned Batsche and Geers to avoid the pitfalls of moving too far too fast. When they discussed their ideas for two new ventures, Lowenstein advised them to focus on their core business first, then reexamine these ideas in a couple of years.
“Ralph headed a company similar to ours, so he’s able to share his experience as well as his business knowledge,” Geers says. “He’s helped with our financials, reviewed our budgets and cash flow, and provided a good, informed opinion on our operations.”
“His explanation made perfect sense,” Geers said. “He’s someone who is genuinely concerned about your success.”
Geers recalled having heard about SCORE and its free business mentoring services. A visit to www.score.org led him to the chapter in nearby Cincinnati and SCORE Mentor Ralph Lowenstein, who proved to be the ideal mentor for Harris Hawk.
“The great thing about SCORE is that they’re not in it for themselves,” he says. “Their mentors were in the business world for a long time and accumulated a lot of experience. And here they are willingly sharing it with others so that they’ll make the right moves and avoid the wrong ones.” Geers adds that he recommends SCORE to other small business owners and aspiring entrepreneurs.