SCORE to Honor SCORE-Mentored Delaware County Businesses for First Time


Action Potential's 2011 Ribbn Cutting (Courtesy of Action Potential's Facebook page)

To hear a number of small-business owners put it, the folks over at Chester and Delaware County SCORE are the Obi-Wan Kenobis of business development.

The organization has more than 100 volunteers who assist those thinking of starting a business or those already in business who need help in growing it. Their combined experience and knowledge matches those of most business-school faculties, and their confidential mentoring is free.

SCORE’s primary goal is to help small businesses be successful by establishing an on-going relationship with the entrepreneur and providing the necessary expertise to foster success.

12918042_2185419501598759_2054966900_nSCORE will continue to give back by honoring SCORE-mentored businesses in Chester and Delaware counties for the first time at its annual awards luncheon.

This year’s gala will take place June 2 at the Concord Country Club.

The five Small Business Award winners for 2016 are:

  1. Action Potential, a physical-therapy firm in Glen Mills
  2. Viela, Ltd, a jewelry designer and wholesaler in Uwchlan
  3. Pro-Active Muscle Therapy, a massage-therapy company in Nottingham
  4. Gemelli, a gelato and dessert cafe in West Chester
  5. Heartline Press, a printing company in Aston

Before they co-founded Action Potential in 2011, physical therapists Kathy Dixon and Kristen Wilson had no business experience. After consulting with SCORE’s Richard Westerman, the two were ready to achieve their goal of providing a better outpatient therapy option to senior, neurological, and amputee clients.

“The biggest thing SCORE helped us with was writing our business plan,” said Dixon. “It forced you to really research the area, the competition, and when the bank wanted to see our data, we had everything prepared.”

With continued guidance from SCORE, particularly with marketing, Dixon and Wilson grew their business from a total of 93 clients in 2012 to 404 last year.

Angela Colasanti – president of Viela, Ltd. – has had similar experiences working with SCORE.

10387484_712544322167274_6847115182937404230_n“They helped me transition into a full-scale manufacturing operation by assisting me with business plan development, accounting topics, pricing structures, even legal counseling,” she said.

Colasanti has been a designer and fabricator of jewelry for more than a decade, and the advice she continues to receive from SCORE has been invaluable.

“SCORE is my go-to resource because their breadth of knowledge is so vast,” she said. “In all sincerity, they single-handedly changed the direction of my business for the good and helped me avoid large-scale mistakes.”

According to Ann Hughes, owner of Pro-Active Muscle Therapy, SCORE helped nurture her vision for expansion.

“I started out as a sole proprietor in 2006,” the massage therapist said. “I always wanted to grow, but didn’t know how. I was working in an office attached to my home, and in doing so, I had to rely mostly on word of mouth. You don’t want to advertise when your clients are coming to your home.

“Steve Crumrine was my mentor, and he was engaged with what I wanted to do. He got behind me and spent hours giving me advice. I was able to develop a business mindset. I remember when we were forecasting my numbers for each month, I was only off two cents one time. That’s how good they are.”

When Vincenzo Tettamanti, an Italian immigrant and the owner of Gemelli, was about to sign the lease agreement for his current retail space, he realized that he needed advice on how to manage his daily operation.

Tettamanti stumbled upon SCORE through Facebook, and its counselors – particularly Harry Eckerson – assisted him with menu planning, marketing, staffing, operations, and supplier management.

Ryan Hartley, the owner of Heartline Press, Inc., Printing and Design, was working extremely long hours and weekends, and his business was barely profitable and positive cash flows were minimal. In 2012, he reached out to SCORE, and counselors Phil Macero and Alan Vinick helped Hartley re-craft his business model, which included developing job descriptions and a strategic marketing plan, as well as identifying customer demographics.

In turn, Hartley scaled down his staff and re-aligned his personnel, resulting in positive cash flow. He also enhanced his web design services and executed a more effective social-media marketing campaign.

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