St. Louis Bi-State Region
Angie Mangan had always dreamt of owning her own business.A trained interior designer, she loves helping people create the perfect look and feel to transform their houses into a homes. As her kids got older,Angie began to pursue her dream more seriously. She looked at the technical aspects of running a business and researched what she would need to know to do it.“That’s when I ran across SCORE,” Angie explains. SCORE St. Louis had a seminar on how to write a business plan — exactly the information Angie was looking for.Angie brought her husband along with her, and “That’s where it started,” she says. She went to another seminar focused on business finances soon after. Still, it wasn’t until Angie’s daughter Alyssa graduated from college with a degree in interior design that it was time to take the concept to the next level. Knowing about her mother’s dream, Alyssa was ready to help.“She said,‘Mom, I’d like to do business with you.’ That’s when I became serious about it,” Angie says.Then, they got to work on the business plan, but when it came to the finances,Angie and Alyssa felt stuck.“We’re interior designers, not accountants.We both felt so lost,” says Angie.“We ended up reaching out to SCORE for a mentor, and luckily, we got Stuart.” An experienced CFO, Stuart brought the financial know-how to the team. He brought the duo expertise beyond just numbers, though. “He not only helped us through the financial components, but he also looked through our business plan and gave me suggestions. He shared it with people he knew for further feedback,” Angie says.“That was a huge help when we felt lost.”
services.“It’s going well,” Angie says of the business.“The community support has been great, and we have repeat customers as well as new people coming in every day.” The store’s space is divided into stylized vignettes “so that each vignette takes on a different part of a home,” Alyssa describes. “Whether it’s the dining room or kitchen, there are different styles within the store.” The styles combine Alyssa’s and Angie’s aesthetics, bringing together contemporary and eclectic designs for a “welcoming, cozy environment.” For Alyssa and Angie, the highlight of each day is connecting with customers and hearing about their lives.“It feels more like friends coming in,” Alyssa says.“We want it to be a fun, inviting place to be — a home away from home.” That feeling is exemplified by the fact that most of the people helping out at Blue Dahlia Designs are family members. Even now that the business is up and running, Stuart still checks in to see how things are going. “He came to our open house, and he reaches out to see how we’re doing and if there’s anything he can help with. He’s been amazing,” Angie says.
Alyssa adds,“Stuart’s guidance was like that last puzzle piece falling in place. Stuart was phenomenal. He not only helped us work through accounting multiple times, but he also gave us tips on the rest of our business plan. He truly helped us so much more than we could have imagined.” Early on,Angie and Alyssa faced rejection from a few banks.“Being in the retail business, we got knocked down a few times and were told no one would run with our idea.We expected a long haul,” Angie says. Here again, Stuart helped them overcome another hurdle.“Stuart connected us with a bank, and with our well-written business plan, thanks to him, we got approved by the first bank we went to.” Today,Angie and Alyssa’s dream has come to life with Blue Dahlia Designs, a home decor boutique that offers personalized interior design
Make Your Meetings Matter Tips to Get the Most Out of Your Time
BEYOND ROI With SCORE, you’re never alone! Schedule an appointment to talk with a mentor today. Call 1-866-726-7340 or visit StLSCORE.org right now! If you’re listing off a slew of granular changes, those aren’t the ingredients for a productive meeting. Information like that can be disseminated in other forms. As you discuss a larger concern, details relating to it will arise during your discussion. Ask yourself if the meeting has a larger topic that merits discussion. ENGAGEYOUR PARTICIPANTS. A meeting should do just that. If you’re not expecting collaboration, don’t call it a meeting. Tell your staff you’re giving a presentation and they’ll come ready to take notes. But if you want to actually have a meeting, every participant should come ready and willing to engage with the ideas on the table. excuse to ditch a campaign early.Two months in, they see a lackluster ROI, so they abandon the campaign into which they’ve poured thousands of dollars and hundreds of hours. Often, if they’d just waited, then they’d have seen a steady improvement on their return, especially as they learned the ins and outs of the strategy and invested more in it. to suss out the financial performance of your marketing efforts. But it’s important to realize that ROI is a blunter instrument than what you really need. Instead, break down your marketing efforts into their constituent parts and learn to measure them at the most basic level.This way, you can start to truly see what’s going on in those complex marketing interactions and determine exactly what’s working and what isn’t. With SCORE, you’re never alone!We offer workshops and seminars each month to help you develop the skills you need to succeed. Visit StLouisSCORE.eventbrite.com today! ROI ISTHEWRONGTOOL FORTHE JOB. All of this isn’t to say that you shouldn’t try
Ask yourself,“What are the biggest time wasters in my office?” If your workplace is like most, it’s a safe guess that social media and meetings are on your list. Maybe there’s a way you can eliminate social media from your office or, at least, curtail its use. However, meetings are an essential part of effective workplace communication.The question, then, isn’t how to get rid of meetings, but rather how to make them more efficient.With that in mind, here are a few tips for getting the most out of your meetings.
ALLOW EXCEPTIONS. There’s no surer way to make an attendee anxious than pulling them away from an important
MAKE A GAME PLAN. If you don’t have a reason for a meeting, don’t have a meeting.Weekly meetings can be a great way to catch your staff up on the latest news and issues at
task. Nobody should skip out on a meeting simply because they don’t want to go. However, if their time could be more wisely spent, then you shouldn’t force them to attend. Prioritize who needs to be at the meeting and whose time could be better used elsewhere. STARTWITH BIG IDEAS. A meeting should be a forum for hashing out concerns and tackling big picture concepts.
the office, but there’s no need to make them the same length of time every week.You should never feel like you need to fill a certain number of minutes. Instead, get to the heart of what you’re talking about, allow the staff to ask questions, and then get back to work.
How the Most Popular Marketing Metric Is Holding You Back
ROI on a recent email blast, and it will give you a pretty good indicator of how many recipients responded to your efforts with their dollars. What it won’t tell you is how that campaign improved your prospects’ awareness of your brand or their actual engagement with the content you’re providing. Even if we suppose that ROI can closely represent how much you’re getting out of a campaign, it can’t predict the future. Depending on what particular strategy you use, actual monetary return for your marketing investment might be months out. Too many business owners use ROI as an
Contemporary businesses, large and small, have become obsessed with return on investment (ROI). On the surface, it makes perfect sense. If ROI represents what it claims to, then you’d obviously need to track it closely. For higher-ups and managers, it’s certainly an important metric to gauge the correct course for the company. But when it comes to measuring the success of modern marketing campaigns, ROI is far less useful than most business owners believe — at least not in the way it’s being used. Here’s why. ROI IS REDUCTIVE. In its most basic form, ROI is calculated by dividing the net revenue gained through a marketing campaign by its cost.This allows us to compare the dollars we’re putting into a campaign to the dollars we’re getting out of it, which, at face value, would make it the end-all be-all of marketing metrics. But even the most complex ROI calculations drastically oversimplify the marketing process. For example, you can determine the monetary
LEARNING FROM FAILURE
How to Turn a Negative Customer Experience Around
Though many people are quick to say failure is not an option, this mindset simply doesn’t make sense. If we never failed at anything, then how would we learn from our mistakes? Mistakes create the building blocks to success. It might be rough and bumpy, but we learn and move forward. It’s the same when you have an angry customer on your hands.You can use the opportunity to learn and make sure their next experience is better. How do you handle a mistake? First, don’t point fingers. If a customer wasn’t satisfied with their interaction with your business, own up to it.When you try to defend yourself, you create more issues.The customer wants the problem resolved — they don’t care about the reason you failed. Approach the problem with an open mind and calm demeanor. Let the customer know that you are sorry and be empathetic.As a bonus, offer them a freebie of some kind to entice them back in the near future.
Everyone makes mistakes, but how we fix and learn from our mistakes is what shows our true colors. Showing your customers you are able to handle mistakes will leave a far more lasting impression than the mistake ever will. With SCORE, you’re never alone!We offer resources, workshops, and seminars each month to help you develop the skills you need to succeed.Visit StLouisSCORE. eventbrite.com today!
It shows that you are truly sorry for what they went through.
Facing negative feedback through online reviews is a tricky circumstance. It can feel as though these ratings will make or break your company. Similar to talking to an angry customer, this depends on how you handle the situation. One option is to focus on getting the review removed. If you have proof that the review is untrue, then this may be possible. However, if the review is accurate, responding as politely and calmly as you can will be the best approach. Let them know you are aware of the problem and are addressing it promptly.
Business Trips Don’t Have to BeTerrible
4 TRAVEL MISTAKES YOU KEEP MAKING Most people love to travel, but few people enjoy business trips.While that can partially be chalked up to the extra rest and relaxation you might have on a nonwork-related trip, unhealthy habits can make business trips even more draining. If business trips leave you feeling like you need a vacation, you might be making the following mistakes.
NOTTAKING SLEEP SERIOUSLY Early morning meetings, late-night networking events, and unfamiliar hotel rooms are a recipe for lost sleep. Lack of sleep puts your body on the fast-track to poor health, so you need to make good sleep a priority. Do your best to maintain your sleep schedule and bedtime routine while traveling. Better yet, check the guest reviews before booking your hotel. Heed complaints about thin walls or uncomfortable beds and find accommodations that support a good sleep environment. You shouldn’t have to dread business trips. Build better travel habits to feel healthier and enjoy every kind of trip you take this year. With SCORE, you’re never alone! Schedule an appointment to talk with a mentor today. Call 1-866-726-7340 or visit StLSCORE.org right now!
SKIPPING BREAKFAST On hectic mornings with early meetings, it’s tempting to skip breakfast and just grab some coffee. But if you usually eat breakfast at home, skipping your morning meal can cause you to be a lot hungrier later, which can lead to excess snacking or overeating at lunch.When traveling, stick to your regular eating habits. EATING RESTAURANT SERVING SIZES If you’re eating three restaurant-sized meals a day, you’re going to get more calories than if you were cooking at home. Don’t be afraid to order half-portions or stick to the appetizer menu.You can also ask about ordering meals à la carte — no one needs all those fries with their burger, anyway.These strategies will help you save money and stick to a healthy calorie count.
NOT PACKINGWORKOUT GEAR Research from the travel risk management
company On Call International found that 54% of people say they’re less likely to exercise while on a work trip, but you shouldn’t let fitness take a back seat. Packing workout clothes can serve as a reminder to get some exercise. Get of the hotel gym, walking to nearby destinations, or doing some yoga in the hotel room before bed. in a good workout by taking advantage
St. Louis Bi-State Region
UPCOMING WORKSHOPS EXPERT LEADWORKSHOPS + MENTORS TO GUIDEYOU = THE SCORE ADVANTAGE
APRIL 2020 Due to the COVID-19 outbreak, all of our April workshops are canceled. You can still access many of our resources online: https://stlouis.score.org/
MAY 2020 Saturday, May 2 • How to Start and ManageYour Own Business • DefiningYourTarget Market Monday, May 11 • 12 Month Not-for-Profit Fundraising Plan • The Perfect Customer Lifecycle Monday, May 18 • How toWrite an Effective Business Plan
To register for an upcoming workshop, go to StLouisSCORE.eventbrite.com . *Workshop schedules are subject to change.
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