St. Louis Bi-State Region
A SOCIAL ENTERPRISETAKES FLIGHT HOW SCORE HELPED DAWN FINE-TUNE HER BUSINESS
“It all started with a pair of pants.” That’s how Dawn Manske describes the beginning of Made for Freedom, her social enterprise born from one mission: to pursue a world without sex trafficking. Made for Freedom does this by rehabilitating trafficking survivors through economic empowerment. Dawn came face to face with the devastating effects of human trafficking while living in China. Once she learned about the issue, she knew she needed to do something to help end it. Pants turned out to be the answer. Dawn was constantly complimented on the fishermen pants she’d bought in Thailand and realized she could create a business based on the popular product. After learning more about the fashion industry, Dawn knew Made for Freedom needed to manufacture in a different way than the average company.“The conventional way you do apparel is to find a sweatshop and pay the cheapest sources,” Dawn describes.“That’s the opposite of what we want to do.We offer dignified employment to victims of trafficking and marginalized workers.” Dawn set to work and established an ethical supply chain through partnerships with rehabilitation centers. Of course, even a socially conscious business needs capital. Dawn applied for grants to fuel her idea. She was the winner of an Arch Grant in 2014 and the Skandalaris Center Grant from Washington University. But as Dawn says,“My strength was nowhere near numbers, and I knew I needed to get my numbers in line. I needed to understand them better and to learn from people with financial understanding and experience.”
Enter SCORE. Dawn had met SCORE mentor Jim Cornbleet years earlier at the Arch Grant competition. Jim had been a judge, and when they reconnected at an event, Jim suggested Dawn could benefit from what SCORE provides. From that serendipitous meeting, Dawn began working with Jim and his fellow SCORE mentor Stuart Epstein to fine-tune her business and get up to speed on her financial knowledge. Jim brings the sales and marketing expertise, and, as he says, Stuart is the “brains behind the whole thing.” Stuart’s experience as a CFO has been invaluable to Dawn.As Dawn describes,“They brought the numbers and accountability.They hold me to the fire.They give me suggestions and hold me accountable for projects and deadlines.” Jim echoes Dawn’s appreciation for the relationships SCORE fosters.While almost four years had passed since the Arch Grant competition where they’d met, Jim says Dawn’s business plan had stuck with him.As he says of Dawn’s determined spirit when it comes to Made for Freedom,“She has the guts and knows when to ask for help.” For Jim, SCORE has provided a chance to give back and pay forward his business expertise.“I like helping people. I volunteer with other nonprofits, and I knew someone who was involved with SCORE,” Jim says. He applied as a mentor and began working with mentees.“Over the years, I’ve worked with many entrepreneurs, and it’s been very rewarding and stimulating,” he says. Of his mentees, he shares,“I learn as much or more from them as they do from me.” Since turning to SCORE, Dawn has seen her business infrastructure strengthen and her
confidence in her own business skills grow. “The past five events I’ve done have been record-breaking,” she shares. She adds that the supportive mentorship Jim and Stuart have given her has been the best part of her SCORE experience.“What’s been really nice is having two mentors who are incredibly gracious. They’ve been very flexible and understanding,” she says.“They ask really good questions to help me think of areas I haven’t thought of. I have 3,000 balls in the air, and they’re able to say, ‘Here are the most important ones. Here’s how you can prioritize.’” This month, Dawn travels to India on behalf of the State Department to talk about her approach to rehabilitation through economic empowerment.With her purpose-driven enterprise, this is just the beginning.
With SCORE, you’re never alone! Schedule an appointment to meet with a mentor today. Call 1-866-726-7340 or visit StLSCORE.org right now!
When Business Slows Down, You Have 2 Choices Give Up or Push Harder?
THE PLAN ANDTHE LOGIC
Theoretically, they also have some interest in your products and services, as well.
Summertime can be slow for new sales in the business world. Most Americans take trips with their kids, leave for quiet vacations with their spouses, or become too occupied at work because summer is their busy season. All businesses struggle through this period, and no one likes when sales are slow. During the first few years in business, many business owners don’t know about this pattern.This time of year hits, and they go into full-on panic mode, running around like Chicken Little and driving everyone crazy. Once they realize what the issue is, they are left with two choices: give up or push harder. Leaders in the business world have varying opinions on this topic.The choice partly comes down to budget and desire for growth, but there isn’t necessarily a right or wrong answer here. Those who are growth-minded generally want to conquer a slow time of year. The month of July, for example, typically reaps new sales that are only about 30% of a normal month. August is better but still only produces about 70% of a typical month. One theory to fix this issue is to push hard in July with hope that some of that hard work will spill over into August. Some businesses set the goal of hitting 70% of a normal month in
You won’t likely make up for a slow month with a ton of new lead promotions. Many people simply aren’t paying attention.You should get a few new lead promos, but the bulk of your efforts should be focused on people who are already on your list.
To some extent, this comes down to a numbers game.You have to reach out and provide value to double the number of people you do during a normal month, but all the effort will, in theory, have both a short-term (slow season) and long-term (rest of the year) payout.This strategy does not come with 100% guaranteed results, but if you don’t try, you will guarantee yourself a slow month.
Here are the three main areas to focus on:
1. People you’ve recently spoken with who haven’t done business yet
2. Past hot leads who have gone dark
3. Leads that need to be reengaged
By focusing internally more than externally, you have a much better chance of closing a sale since these people already know, like, and trust you.
July and to make August be 100% on par with a normal month. If this happens, it’s a huge win.
ASKANDYOU SHALL RECEIVE
HOWTO CONDUCT YOUR NEXT GREAT INTERVIEW
Follow these simple guidelines and turn a lackluster interview process into a worthwhile experience. Potential job candidates, by their very nature, have the desire to impress.As an entrepreneur, it’s in your best interest to use that desire to its highest capacity. Even if your candidate isn’t quite the best person for the job, you’ll have a much better understanding of how a few well-constructed questions can make all the difference. With SCORE, you’re never alone! Schedule an appointment to meet with a mentor today. Call 1-866-726-7340 or visit StLSCORE.org right now!
hypothetical questions can be revealing in some cases, but they can also easily steer you away from what you really need to know. Similarly, asking a candidate what a past employer might say about them leaves the door open for generalized assumptions.When in doubt, resort to questions that showcase what a new hire can bring to the table. BE SPECIFICTOYOUR COMPANY Finally, turn the attention to your company. Ask your candidates what they think your business can do to improve its operations.This turns the conversation away from topics like a candidate’s personal weaknesses and allows you to learn about your company from an outsider’s perspective. It’s one thing to ask a candidate why they think they should be hired, but it’s another to dig deeper for more detailed answers based on research. Qualified candidates don’t just fix problems; they create long-lasting solutions.
Interviewing for an open position at your business is as much about what you ask a potential candidate as it is about their responses.You don’t want to conclude an interview and realize you don’t know anything about the person you just spent the last 45 minutes with. Improve your interviews with these helpful points to ensure you find the right person for the job every time. MOVE UPTHE Q&A It’s okay for you to expect a little more legwork from your candidates.The best ones know how to research your company, so use the interview to make sure they’ve done their homework. Instead of waiting until the end of the interview for your candidate’s final questions, start by asking what they want to know about the job. STAY RELEVANT Next, ask about their relevant job experience. Resumes, in this case, aren’t always the most revealing. Focus on their examples and how their experience can be applied to your business.Asking
Intellectual Property and Your Business
HOWTO EFFECTIVELY PROTECT YOUR INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY
maintain their competitive advantage.A great example of this strategy is when Sony Pictures patented their animation style for “Spider-Man: Into the SpiderVerse” which grossed over $375,502,565.There are two types of patents: one for utility (function) and one for design (aesthetic).To apply for a patent, register with the United States Patent Office. Regardless of the type of intellectual property you have, it’s important you identify what type it is and which type of protection is most appropriate. Even a small amount of intellectual property is worth protecting, so start the process now to safeguard it. 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!
Intellectual property is defined by Merriam-Webster as “property (such as an idea, invention, or process) that derives from the work of the mind or intellect.” As you can no doubt glean from this definition, intellectual property can be a lot of things, so it’s important to identify and protect you and your business’ intellectual property. Here are the main categories and protections for your company’s creations.
TRADE SECRETS A trade secret is any useful piece of
distinctive Nike “Swoosh” and the familiar ending sound of Dell’s commercials.To properly protect your trademark, file a trademark application to have it registered. COPYRIGHTS Most people seek protection under copyright law for a variety of things related to their product or business, like images, specific words on packaging, labeling, the actual product, and the business webpage.The best thing about copyright registration is that it’s inexpensive. Plus, the law allows you to demand attorney fees from those who infringe on your copyright. PATENTS Patents are a fantastic way to protect your designs, and companies have utilized patents to
information that the public doesn’t know about and the owner has taken steps to protect. If you have taken the steps necessary to protect your own trade practices, you may have a case if you ever discover your trade secret has been leaked. Having your employees sign a nondisclosure agreement (NDA) is a great way to initially establish your unique business practices as trade secrets. TRADEMARKS The name of your business, product, or service — anything a customer uses to identify a product — generally requires a trademark.This may include your company’s name, product name, etc.Think of the
St. Louis Bi-State Region UPCOMING WORKSHOPS
SEPTEMBER 2019 Monday, Sept. 9 • The Ultimate Marketing Plan: How to Attract and Keep New Customers • Understanding Financial Statements Saturday, Sept. 14 • How to Start and ManageYour Own Business • How toWrite a Great Business Plan Monday, Sept. 23 • GrowYour BusinessWithWomen’s Business Enterprise (WBE) Certification • Buying a Franchise or Existing Business
OCTOBER 2019 Saturday, Oct. 5 • How to Start and ManageYour Own Business Monday, Oct. 14 • How toWrite a Great Business Plan • QuickBooks – Basic Monday, Oct. 28 • How to Advertise to your Ideal Customer Using Digital, Social Media, &TV • How to Start a Not-for-Profit Business
To register for an upcoming workshop, go to StLouisSCORE.eventbrite.com *Workshop schedules are subject to change.
EXPERT LEADWORKSHOPS + MENTORSTO GUIDE YOU = THE SCORE ADVANTAGE
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