At SCORE I meet with many women who are thinking of going into business. I recently met with a woman who wanted to open a bakery because everyone loved her cookies. She was newly divorced, had a chunk of cash and dreamed of opening a bakery. “My friends and family all love my cookies and my recipes are special.” She had no business background and knew nothing about running a business. I asked if she had ever worked in a bakery. No,but she often went to a little French bakery near her home. Asking if she had researched the cost of opening a bakery (a sneaky way to start talking about the business plan) she said “no”, but she had a substantial chunk of cash. When I asked if she knew the hours involved in running a business her face lit up as she said she needs little sleep. This was a trick question on my part as I knew she had not experienced the hard labor involved in running a bakery.
Bottom line, I suggested she go to our SCORE all day workshop on how to start your own business and to spend 6 months working in a bakery learning the trade of running a bakery. With that she explained that she had come to be supported in her dream and that I didn’t understand her plan. Needless to say, she was not one of my repeat SCORE clients. Two parts to any business: the art or craft of the business (how to bake) and and the art of running a business (business experience or know how). Unfortunately, she had neither and was not willing to learn. Before you open a business take inventory of your skills and use SCORE to help with the art of running a business. What is your story about starting your business? You can learn the hard way, but why? Come see SCORE. That is why we are here.
In 1987, two young entrepreneurs set out to find feminine and quality driven luggage for women. When their search was unsuccessful, Barbara Bradley Baekgaard and Patricia Miller decided to make their own. After stealing the show with neighborhood clothing displays, Baekgaard and Miller knew they needed to meet the growing demand and come up with a solid business plan. The two fashion forward women contacted SCORE in Ft. Wayne. They met with mentor George Cook who gave them the business advice they needed to grow their company into a fashion empire.
With help from SCORE, Vera Bradley Designs transformed from a neighborhood trend to a global brand. Miller says, “George never told us what to do or how to do it. He would ask questions that helped us find the solutions for ourselves. We were very lucky to connect with somebody whose business expertise complimented our creativity. I’m sure SCORE does that for everybody. They are a fantastic organization.”
Even as a global, multimillion dollar company, the two owners say they never hesitate to contact George for business advice.
Have you tried SCORE? Let us know how your mentor has helped you succeed.