Figen Genco Haigh always knew she had a knack for organizing things. But as a teacher in her native country, Turkey, she never dreamed that she could turn that natural ability into a profitable business.
Figen’s relationship with American Daniel Haigh blossomed into romance and they were married. Now married and in a new country, she needed to find a new career. Because it would have taken two years to be recertified as a teacher, Figen signed on with an area temporary help agency. Several assignments around suburban Philadelphia gave her the opportunity to untangle the harried clutter of files and equipment typical of many modern offices. Intrigued by the possibility of turning her organizing skills into a business, Figen surfed the Internet and discovered that professional organizers have their own association and certification requirements. She eagerly enrolled in a training course and was soon certified as a professional organizer. And by January 2001, Figen was ready to launch her business, Genco Organizes.
Knowing that she had to work hard to promote Genco Organizes, Figen joined the Lower Bucks County Chamber of Commerce (LBCC), where she landed a client at the first meeting she attended. Involvement in the LBCC and other business networking groups soon led to two newspaper articles about her business.
Genco Organizes has since become a model for successful start-up marketing. In between advising a growing network of clients and conducting seminars, Figen writes a monthly “Ask the Organizer” column for the local paper. She also teaches a course in organizing at the local community college, and was recently asked to teach Turkish language classes. Recently, Figen finished work on her first book, and already has ideas for two more.
A chat with another professional organizer led Figen to visit the local SCORE chapter in January 2001. There, Volunteer Mentors Burt Forman and Carlo Liberti helped her with start-up issues such as registering her company name and securing insurance.
Two months after her first visit to SCORE, Figen returned for a marketing consultation with Mentors Bob McCarney and Nat Matlin. Based on their advice, she revised her brochures and business cards.
“SCORE provided the encouragement and support I needed to start a business based on something that I enjoy doing,” Figen says. “It is very meaningful to have these experienced business people believe in me and say ‘you can do it.’"