Tag: phoenix start up business

Judy Fishman – Publishing Entrepreneur Extraordinaire – A SCORE Success Story

By George Obst, Certified SCORE Mentor

Judy Fishman - Publishing Entrepreneur ExtraordinaireWhen I ran into Judy Fishman at the 2nd annual Greater Phoenix SCORE Symposium in March, it became clear there was an inspirational success story that needed to be told.

Judy Fishman got a great start in her publishing business and SCORE was there to help. A graduate of Queens College with a major in English, Judy entered the publishing industry as a trainee in advertising production. There, she volunteered to write the company’s newsletter and that provided her with the writing sample she needed to apply for a position in the editorial department of another publishing company.

LMT Magazine Five years later, Judy, an entrepreneur at heart, had a yen to create her own publishing business and saw an opportunity to do so within the dental field. With a second mortgage for financing, she began working on the first issue of a magazine for the dental laboratory industry – LMT .

SCORE was there for her when she needed help on the business side of this adventure. A SCORE mentor, in Norwalk, CT. met at her home office to advise her about setting up a payroll, establishing and tracking a five-year plan, and finding trusted sources for service providers such as insurance and accounting. And that was over 30 years ago.

Competition was tough as she competed with five other dental magazines aimed at her target market but, with enthusiasm, conviction, and perseverance, Judy’s magazine became the leader in the field with a 70% market share of allocated advertising dollars. A major reason for her success was the fact that she surveyed her readership and asked for continuous feedback from customers and then initiated changes based on this information. Having customers communicate their opinions are key to creating an intimate customer experience.

Another significant factor contributing to success was her creation of a unique selling proposition. Judy created an industry trade show with educational programs sponsored by the dental companies that advertised in the magazine. She started in one central location and then spread to two other key regions in the country. No other national laboratory publication brought advertisers to the table to meet face to face with their dental laboratory owner/technician-customers.

Judy commented, “Our shows create a more intimate connection between us and the industry suppliers/manufacturers as well as with our readers. We are more than ‘just another magazine,’ and are known for our efforts to satisfy the needs of our community.”

Judy attributes her success to her 16-person staff, empowered to produce quality results. She believes in treating her staff the way she would like to be treated, and staff members have responded in a totally committed way to ensure unity of purpose and exceptional results.

History tells the story best. Three of the competitors that Judy confronted at the start of the magazine have long since closed. She continues to own the dominant market share and has become one of the highest-ranking women executives in the dental industry.

January 2015 was an epic month, setting a record in ad revenue. Congratulations Judy and staff.

The success continues.

SCORE, with over 70 certified mentors in the greater Phoenix area, helps entrepreneurs succeed who are either starting a business or leading a small business. SCORE mentors listen intently, and then, at no cost to the client, bring objective plan development and problem solving in constructive and productive one on one sessions. This may take just one meeting or as many meetings as the entrepreneur feels are helpful and necessary. And remember, as a resource partner of the US Small Business Administration, there is never a fee to the client. If business financing is needed, SCORE mentors will advise on the necessary steps that will increase the client’s chances of securing outside financing.

Schedule an appointment with a SCORE mentor today at a convenient location. Click here to jump-start your success.

George Obst, Certified SCORE MentorGeorge Obst is a Certified SCORE mentor with more than 30 years experience profitably managing and growing businesses, including start-ups, purchasing, financing and selling businesses.




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Video: Barbara Corcoran – Inspiring Entrepreneur

Shark Tank Sharks including Barbara CorcoranYou know her as one of the lady sharks on “Shark Tank” and the Real Estate expert on the Today Show. She’s Barbara Corcoran who took a $1000 loan and built a billion dollar empire. This video is an overview of her business life filled with advice for budding entrepreneurs.

In her updated book, “Shark Tales” you can read about all the ups and downs, the good, bad and the ugly of taking a business from a dream to a multi-billion dollar success.

As a “shark” she not only invests in a business, but mentors them. You can have a mentor without having to get a “shark”.

Greater Phoenix SCORE has over 70 mentors in the Phoenix Valley at various locations who will mentor you for free! Whether you’re just thinking about starting a business and are trying to figure out if it’s a feasible idea to a fledgling start-up to a business who is a couple of years old and going through growing pains. A SCORE mentor can help you! Click here to schedule an appointment with a SCORE mentor in a location near you!

SCORE also has free business tools. Click here to access them.


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SCORE Success Story: Prime Realty Group LLC

SCORE Business Success StoryCompany: Prime Realty Group LLC

Owner: Elise Sarmiento

Type of Business: Real Estate Investments

SCORE Mentor: Tom Loegering

SCORE Services:

  • Business Plan Development
  • Business Plan Review
  • Business Start-up
  • Home-based Business
  • Management
  • Real Estate
  • Office Admin/Mgmt
  • Real Estate Investment

SCORE’s Role:

I was very lucky to meet Tom Loegering in April, 2012. Although I was trained as a professional (veterinarian), Tom provided me with much-needed guidance in focusing on key parameters that are critical to balancing one’s life:

  • Personal
  • Financial
  • Family
  • Physical
  • Community
  • Spiritual

His message was simple —

Learn to control yourself in these key aspects of life and you can accomplish almost anything to which you set your mind.

Focus on Your Target MarketBy applying these principles, I found that much of the clutter and distraction that challenged me nearly every day, gradually became mitigated. I found that I was increasingly able to direct my energy and focus toward greater creativity and development of novel ideas.

The path, although simple, was not easy at first. I discovered very quickly that I needed to approach each of these life aspects in steps much like a business plan. Tom taught me to write down a plan for achieving each goal including the small and very personal ones. By putting each plan on a timeline, I gradually began to get my life under control. Then an interesting thing happened — I began to notice that a strong sense of peace began to enter my life as I achieved more and more of my goals. The peace and sense of personal control that came into my life began to clear my mind and I found that I had increasingly more energy and drive to be creative and to accomplish new goals.

Since meeting Tom, I have become licensed in real estate and am pursuing a career in locating multifamily properties that yield high cash-on-cash returns for investors. I also am a Realtor in single family residential properties with Keller Williams Realty Sonoran Living in Scottsdale, AZ. Of course, I still work as a veterinarian, but now I find that I can provide a much higher level of care for my patients because I think more clearly and am much more efficient!

I feel that the sky is the limit, and I can’t wait to achieve sufficient financial wealth to allow me to establish a scholarship fund that will help others achieve peace and balance in life through education, self-discipline, and perseverance.

Many would-be entrepreneurs are wondering how to balance a day-job, family and a start-up company. A SCORE mentor can provide the guidance needed to manage everything and help you be successful – and it’s free! Click here to schedule a free meeting. We are located at several locations around the Phoenix Valley.

Is your business a SCORE story? Contact your mentor to get the success form and we’ll feature your story!

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Hitting the Target: Setting & Reaching Your Goals

By George Obst, Certified SCORE Mentor

HITTING THE TARGET                  SETTING AND ACHIEVING THE RIGHT GOALSSetting and achieving the right set of goals are two of the most important skill sets essential to entrepreneurial and business success.

Setting goals is about determining the set of objectives that best balances what your organization can become and what it can realistically achieve. It is about setting goals that are achievable, and yet stretch the organization to greater accomplishments.  Goals need to be clear and discussed frequently and effectively.  Also, they need to be measurable with progress documented at frequent intervals.

Once the goals are set, the priority actions need to be identified.  These priority actions are the pathway for accomplishing the goals.  This truly is where the rubber meets the road.  The right priority actions, combined by relentless follow-up, keep the truly important things on the radar screen.  In most day-to-day work environments everything seems urgent and important.  Defining what the most important actions should be and pursuing their accomplishment attests to the tenacity, attitude, and judgment of leadership.

Typically, setting four to six goals are about as many as can be effectively handled.  Then, setting at most, three to four priorities (action steps) for each goal should represent the most important and timely actions that must be taken to achieve the goal.  Each action step should have a due date and be assigned to one or more individuals.  Full dialogue about the goals and priorities needs to occur to achieve buy-in from the people who will carry out the actions.

Setting the wrong priorities, or having too many priorities, dilutes the entire effort and results in non-performance. Often, priorities are set when too little information is available or when people filter the information through their own biases or ego.

Let’s look at a simple example to illustrate the concept.  The goal is to increase sales 8% in 2014.  This goal was arrived at after an analysis of why sales were growing at only 2%.

The priorities may be:

  1. Survey existing accounts (by a specified date) that showed a drop in sales or had flat sales to determine the reasons.
  2. Based on the result of the survey take a defined action. For example, if product quality was a significant reason, then identify a priority to make operational improvements.  Be specific about the step(s) you will take.
  3. Identify a hit list of potential new accounts and call on five of these a month.

Effectively identifying and implementing goals and priorities, and linking their accomplishment to individual and team performance, have a powerful impact on people’s behavior. The result will be sustained and significant organization progress and success.

SCORE, a resource partner of the US Small Business Administration has certified mentors who can help you identify the most important goals and priorities for your business or business idea. Call today, (602 745-7250) or click here to make your no fee appointment with a SCORE mentor.  There is never a charge and you can be assured of the very best counsel and advice.

About the Author:

George Obst, Certified SCORE MentorGeorge Obst is a Certified SCORE mentor with more than 30 years experience profitably managing and growing businesses, including start-ups, purchasing, financing and selling businesses.


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How to Create a Customer-Driven Business

By George Obst, Certified SCORE Mentor

Having a customer-driven businessNo matter what business you are thinking about starting, or operating currently, you will need to keep customers happy to be successful. Most businesses grow from very happy existing customers along with adding new customers.
How can you accomplish this?  It’s simple, really. Although it may sound unthinkable, put your customers in charge of running your business by seeking their feedback and making changes to improve your operations, products and services based on what you hear.

Most important, talk to your customers and ask these four questions:

  1. What are your needs and expectations of us?
  2. Which of these needs and expectations are most important to you.
  3. How well are we meeting these needs?
  4. How can we do better in meeting these needs?

In addition to these questions, if your customers use competitor products and services,  you can ask how well your competitors meet your customer needs compared to you.  Don’t be afraid to seek out competitor information from the best source of competitor intelligence, customers!

Any well thought out and written marketing plan should include a section on how often and what you communicate to customers in addition to the normal day to day communications.

Getting customer feedback will help you develop an improvement program that will “lock in” your customers to your products and services.

If you develop a specific communication format and follow it, you will “delight” your customers, increase your customer retention rate and increase your sales and profits.

Get more information (at no charge to you) by contacting SCORE at 602 745-7250 or clicking here.  You will be put in contact with a SCORE mentor who will help you start your business or grow your existing business by advising you on the essentials of better planning to avoid the mistakes that many new or existing business owners make.

George ObstGeorge Obst is a Certified SCORE Mentor with more than 30 years experience profitably managing and growing businesses, including start ups, purchasing, financing, and selling businesses.




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Shark Tank’s Daymond John – Lessons from his Worst Mistakes

English: This is a photo of Daymond John, FUBU...
Daymond John, FUBU CEO  (Wikipedia)

When you think of Shark Tank‘s Daymond John, what comes to mind? Successful? Businessman? Entrepreneur? Shark?

After 25 years, Daymond has learned from successes, failures and has had several epiphanies. He started out in Queens, NY, waiting tables and selling t-shirts out of the trunk of his car. He found a need and a niche and he filled it. But it was not without both wins and losses.

“As an entrepreneur, you never stop learning,” he says. “I’ve failed way more than I’ve succeeded.” ~Daymond John

In this interview from Entrepreneur, he answers these questions and more:
How long before you give up if things aren’t going as you planned?
What is an entrepreneur?

He tells of the mistakes he’s made and what’s he’s learned from them.

His books are available on Amazon:

What do you need to learn?

Greater Phoenix SCORE’s retired executives, may not be on Shark Tank, but they’ve been where you are and guess what? You can pick their brains for free! Daymond mentioned one of his mentors. You can have one too! Click here to schedule a meeting with one of the SCORE mentors.

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