SCORE: Group Support

The oBOXx Team is participating in a five-week SCORE (Service Corp of Retired Executives) workshop, Simple Steps for Starting Your Business. At the first session, our facilitators told us, “This group will be one of your first support systems as you start your new business.” Oh, how true it is turning out to be.  

Roger Fleming discusses a workshop exercise with Audra Supplee of Electro Magic Productions, LLC

The oBOXx team is in this adventure with 21 other entrepreneurs – a diverse group that includes such businesses as: Mobile Document Destruction, Jewelery Making, Crocheting, Writing, Videography, Dog Day Care, Restaurant Management, Stone Masonry, Staffing, Sunless Tanning, and Legal Consulting.  While we are each the subject matter expert in our own fields, we’re all beginners when it comes to launching a business.  That’s the common thread in SCORE.

In this week’s session: Marketing Plan and Business Structure, we touched on such topics as: Product Differentiators; Target Market Comparison; Company Position Relative to Competition; and Marketing Communication Channels. 

A young entrepreneur with SCORE leaders George Edwards, Charles F. Espenlaub, and Roger Fleming

Typically, SCORE leaders Charles F. Espenlaub, Roger Fleming, and George Edwards, present information, walk us through a business case study, initiate discussion, and then have us participate in an exercise or two. 

For one of the workshop exercises, the oBOXx team partnered with writer and speaker, Audra Supplee, and her husband, Brian, of Electro Magic Productions, LLC.  In addition to the workshop, the Suplees are also conducting extensive research at the Chester County Library so that they can put together a tight business and marketing plan.

Delfina Doherty, who focuses on personalized baby gifts, and started Delfina Designs, said, “There is a lot to think about when you’re starting a small business.  This workshop is great because it brings us outside expertise about all aspects of planning and marketing.”

John Burke, initiating a mobile document destruction business, said, “I appreciate the fact that we’re tasked each week, and we have to respond to the information presented. Taking a course like this, you’re forced to come out of your comfort zone and develop more confidence in yourself.”

As our facilitator, Roger, reminded us again this week, “The steps may be simple but the process is not. Starting a business takes months and months of hard work.”

One very important take away for all of us SCORE participants was that, as business owners, we must believe in our product and be able to sell it.  If we’re not out there selling our product/concept no one will know what a unique, well priced service we offer.  And that was the gist of Marketing Plan and Business Structure.

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Forced to think outside the box when they were downsized from their jobs at large pharmaceutical companies in the spring of 2010, Joann Mercer and Marie Tartaglio formed a writing partnership. Whether it was coincidence, serendipity, fate, or a shared passion for words, Joann and Marie combined their writing skills and learning expertise to create oBOXx, LLC. Joann and Marie first met as freshman in high school. With careers, marriages, and the birth of children, they lost touch over the years. They met again briefly in 1999 when they worked together in the Learning and Development department at AstraZeneca. With their lives full and busy, they drifted in and out of touch over the next decade until 2010 when a downturn in the economy found them both out of work and job searching through the same employment agency. They discovered that, over the years, they had nurtured their high school passion for writing. (Their English teachers are so proud!) Independently, Joann and Marie were traveling parallel paths in creating writing. From there, it was a logical leap to form a writing partnership. This outside-the-box solution to finding work in a down turned economy gave birth to oBOXx, LLC and their journey to a best seller.
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