Tag: score

SCORE Success Story: Greg Rudolph, Board Blazers

Board Blazers - SCORE success storyAfter I spotted a student who had duct-taped Christmas lights to his skateboard riding around the Arizona State University campus one night in 2011, I was inspired with the idea for Board Blazers LED Underglow Skateboard, Longboard & Scooter Lighting. I risked most of my personal savings and started the company at 20 years old in March 2012.

Since I had no prior entrepreneurial experience, SCORE mentors have provided invaluable mentorship and guidance, even after the early hurdles of starting the company. Starting your own business can be a lonely exercise – understandably, everyone tires of just ‘bouncing around ideas’ – but SCORE mentors are always willing to brainstorm, offer a connection, and thoughtfully answer your questions in a confidential environment. Most importantly, I’ve found they consider your business challenges as if they were their own.

Thanks to the help of SCORE and a host of other mentors, the company has grown into a surprising success. Board Blazers have become the #1 selling skateboard lighting system on Amazon.com, with lights sold in all 50 U.S. states and 16 countries. Board Blazers has been featured by USA Today, FOX News, KTLA, the Arizona Republic, the OC Register, AZ Tech Beat, and the Phoenix Business Journal, among others. In March 2013, they were featured by rapper Lil Wayne’s TRUKFIT brand at the renowned SXSW festival, sparking a viral YouTube video. I’ve been named one of Arizona’s “Top 35 Entrepreneurs Under 35,” and in 2014 was profiled by the national FOX TV show “Live Life & Win!” In 2015, Board Blazers was highlighted in Entrepreneur magazine. I’ve also created the Beyond Business Institute to provide leadership and entrepreneurship speaking, consulting, and coaching services, aiming to pass along what I’ve learned from my experiences with the same level of care and consideration that SCORE has always provided me.

You can be the next SCORE success story! Schedule your free business mentoring appointment with a Certified SCORE Mentor today!

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Video: An Overview of Strategic Planning

“If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.”

Strategic Planning is crucial for any businessBen Franklin’s quote is the essential mantra for any business – whether you’re just starting out or have been going for years.

Strategic planning is an organization’s process of defining its strategy, or direction, and making decisions on allocating its resources to pursue this strategy. It may also extend to control mechanisms for guiding the implementation of the strategy. (Wikipedia)

We have a Strategic Planning Seminar 4/23 at 1 pm where you can learn:

  • The difference between a Strategic Plan and a Business Plan.
  • How an effective strategic plan can be used as a road map to achieve business goals.
  • How strategic planning is a critical process that lays the foundation for all other planning in order to achieve growth and profitability.

Presented by Michael Mobley of CEO Focus. Click here to register.

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Symposium Re-Cap Photo Gallery

The Greater Phoenix SCORE 2015 Small Business Symposium was a huge success! We had over 900 attendees registered, 50+ exhibitors and an excellent line-up of speakers. All the presentations were recorded and we’ll have the videos soon. Here are some of the shots from the event.

These were our speakers:

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There was a whole lot of mentoring going on!

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Here are some of the exhibitors!

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We couldn’t have done it without over 40 of our hard-working SCORE mentors & volunteers! These are just a few of them:

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And it wouldn’t have been a success without all the great attendees! Thank you all for coming! Here are just a few shots:

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And as always, a special thanks to our Sponsors!

And thanks to Grand Canyon University for hosting! Awesome venue!

If you didn’t get a chance to have a free 1:1 mentoring session, click here to schedule one.

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7 Essential Skill Sets for Business Success

by George Obst, Certified SCORE Mentor

7 Essential Skill Sets for Business Success Everything is changing at such a dizzying pace that it is hard to keep up.  Whether you are an entrepreneur running an existing business or starting a business,  know that the pace of change has accelerated.  Although we have always had to deal with change, its magnitude, speed and depth is unlike anything we have had to fact heretofore.  All indications are this change proposition will continue to accelerate in the years ahead.  Anticipating and adapting to these changes faster than your competitors will help ensure your success.

Are you in a rut?  Are you thinking and operating the way you always have, or are you facing the future with a new vitality and resolve.  As the external environment changes, your thinking and strategies need to change as well.  For many of us that means acquiring new skills.  You need to engage change proactively, making the necessary business changes to maintain competitive advantage.  If you are in the process of developing your start-up business plan, you will need to be aware of the changes taking place within your business specialty.  You will need to anticipate how your customer expectations are changing so you are not caught “flat footed”.

Ram Charan, a noted management consultant and author, has identified seven interrelated learnable skills that separate the performers from non-performers:

  1. Pinpoint external changes and trends quickly and accurately.
  2. Use this information to position your business and to re-position your thinking.  This process has to happen quickly enough to be effective because of the pace of change.  This means aligning your actions with today’s realities.
  3. Quickly and accurately identify the changing needs of your customers and meet these needs better than your competitors.  You need to be quicker and more nimble in recognizing changing customer requirements.
  4. Set goals and laser sharp priorities.  Select the right set of goals, make them achievable, and get everyone involved.  Goals need to be stated clearly, be measureable and communicated effectively and often.
  5. Evaluate your key staff and determine whether they are high achievers, flexible, willing to adapt to new realities, have a positive can-do attitude and are team players.
  6. Develop in yourself and team leaders the ability to be “coaches” rather than “bosses”.  Bosses tell people what to do.  Coaches ask questions and together with their people work on goals, priorities and solutions to problems.
  7. As an entrepreneur you need to possess the following attributes:  integrity, character, ambition, drive, tenacity, “people skills”, communication skills, psychological openness, realism and an insatiable appetite for learning.

Success on a sustained basis in this world of change depends on your cultivating and practicing these seven skills sets.

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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Charting Strategies for Business Growth

By George Obst, Certified SCORE Mentor

Strategies for Business GrowthIn every industry there are individual companies that grow their sales each year no matter the economic conditions.  We are talking about organic sales, not increased prices.  In other words these companies sell more of their products and services each year.  The question is, “how do they do it?”

Creating a market driven organization requires a culture that actively targets market growth.  The key components follow:

  1. Achieve product and/or service quality with every sale, every day, every month, and every year.  In other words strive for consistency of product or service.
  2. Create product and service leadership that differentiates you from competitors.  Strive to make your company unique, in both product and service.  Develop a list of ways you could distinguish your product/service from the others.  Implement the necessary changes in your organization to deliver the differences you identify.
  3. Connect with customers to create customer intimacy.  To achieve customer intimacy the customers are at the top of the organization chart.  They are followed by the front line sales and service staff, and all other staff who have direct customer contact.

In this setting management is the catalyst that provides this customer intimate environment, and achieves it by taking the following actions:

  1. Consciously decides to improve what is already in place by focusing on manufacturing and/or service effectiveness.  These companies strive to deliver a product or service at a lower cost, in record time, and with no errors.  The result is operational excellence.
  2. Ensures that all staff who deal with customers have adequate training both in their area of expertise as well as customer listening skills.
  3. Listens to feedback from those who deal with customers and determines where to initiate changes to better serve customers.
  4. Values highly those who interact with customers and recognizes/rewards incidents of exceptional customer service.
  5. Avoids all polices and rules that stop those in contact with customers from being able to solve their problems.  In other words, empower those in contact with customers to be able to solve problems on the spot.

Creating this climate of customer and operational excellence will ensure that your company will grow and take market share from your competitors.

SCORE, a resource partner of the US Small Business Administration has certified mentors who can help you achieve market leadership.  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, financing, purchasing, and selling businesses.

 

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7 Keys to Employee Commitment

By George Obst, Certified SCORE Mentor
7 Keys to Employee CommitmentWhy do some employees do what is expected and others don’t see what has to be done? Why do some employees accept responsibility for their mistakes and others blame others? Why do some employees appreciate the job opportunity and others feel entitled? Why do some employees work to improve things and others accept the status quo?

The answer is that really good employees, have ideas, do more than their “job” requires, take responsibility for what goes right and what goes wrong, and are motivated to do their best. These committed employees  respond positively to the following 7 keys to employee commitment:

  1. A clear vision on where the company is heading. They need to buy into the vision that is clearly and often discussed by owners and managers.
  2. Well defined values that communicate what the company stands for and that the company “lives” by these values.
  3. Positions, no matter at what level, in which the employees know that they make a difference. They need to know that their actions impact the success of the enterprise because they have “ownership” of their jobs. They need to know the importance of their jobs to the success of the business.
  4. Positions that are clearly defined in which specific goals are spelled out. Equally important is that everyone will know when the goals are achieved because they are measurable, and not simply “pie in the sky”. The most committed employees have a major hand in setting these goals and measurements of success.
  5. Supervisors and managers who receive appropriate training in management and people skills. Most employees who leave a company due so because of a poor relationship with their boss, not because of the company. The bosses who are promoted to management because of their technical skill sets, need to develop management skill sets in order to be effective leaders of employees.
  6. An environment that creates learning opportunities. Employees want to create more value by growing in their jobs. They need to have personal development goals, along with the well – defined goals for their position.
  7. Supervisors and managers who are serious about “listening” to their employees. There is a real hunger for employees to be listened to and this very activity will result in much more committed employees. The sad thing is that bosses are much more busy giving orders and direction and spend too little time seeking and listening to employee thoughts and ideas.

The bottom line is that if bosses implement effectively, the seven keys stated here, they will have employees who have more pride, confidence, and the ability to make a difference.  They will have truly committed employees.

Greater Phoenix SCORE, through their certified mentors can provide your business with the tools necessary to gain committed employees. Call 602 745- 7250, or click here to make your appointment with a SCORE mentor today. There is no cost, except your time commitment to work on your “improvement program”.

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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