Spinal Health and Wellness Wins National SCORE Outstanding Veteran-Owned Small Business Award

September 13, 2011

dr. dolly garnecki from traveling with baby

Dr. Dolly Garnecki

Spinal Health & Wellness LLC is the proud recipient of The 2011 SCORE Award for Outstanding Veteran-Owned Small Business Award sponsored by Insperity. Spinal Health & Wellness LLC’s small business excellence will be recognized by SCORE this Thursday where Dr. Dolly Garnecki will be accompanied by her Central VA SCORE Mentor, Paula Pagonakis at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center in Washington, D.C. SCORE, mentors to America’s small business, serves over 350,000 clients annually and honors their most successful clients at The SCORE Foundation’s annual award ceremony. We’d like to thank you for your continued support and patronage. Without you, this award would not be possible. Thank you.  http://bit.ly/mQJMep  To get your own SCORE Mentor http://centralvirginia.score.org/chapters/central-virginia-score


Should Your Business Go International?

April 3, 2011



Jack Peltier, SCORE Counselor


The third major market opportunity is the easiest to guess…and it is …the international market.

Selling internationally is not the exclusive domain of the P&G’s, IBM’s and McDonald’s of this world. If you have a good product and only sell it in this country, you are working only part of the “territory”.  The large companies just mentioned simply have a global marketing plan. They look at the United States not just as their market, but as ONE of their many markets.

The time to sell internationally has never been better. Sadly, the United States Dollar is in decline…but its reduced value makes your price in dollars more attractive to foreign buyers than ever before.

To some, selling internationally is a big, complicated step, but here in Central Virginia, there is very competent help to greatly simplify the process for you.

One is to ask SCORE for a meeting on this subject and this will cost you around 60 minutes of your time and nothing more.  If you like what you hear in this first meeting, you can ask for a SCORE Mentor. In the Central Virginia chapter which covers several counties, there are at least two counselors who are experienced in international operations.

I am one of them.

There is also in our State a Richmond-based organization called the Virginia Economic Development Partnership www.ExportVirginia.org which assists in finding overseas distributors, organizes trade missions and provides many other export-related services.

The combination of a SCORE counselor or mentor with solid experience in international business, and the great assistance of “Export Virginia” are as close to a “Dream Team” as you can get.

Call us at SCORE, 434.295.6712 and tell us you want to “talk international”. We’ll take it from there!

To schedule an appointment visit www.score-494.org



Did You Guess the 2nd New Market?

March 10, 2011

Jack Peltier

by Jack Peltier


I wrote recently about three new markets available for your products, and I gave you the first of these three major markets.

Here is the second, and perhaps the hardest one to guess…

It is a group of four buying organizations which provide shopping convenience to the active and to the retired members of America’s Armed Forces

The first is a giant buying organization  which, before the advent of Walmart was this county’s largest retailer…and it is the Army & Air Force Exchange Service (AAFES).  This  $9 Billion business headquartered in Dallas operates 3100 facilities in all states and territories and in 32 foreign countries. This includes over 200 retail stores ( PX’s) some convenience stores and more than 2000 fast-food restaurants.    http://www.shopmyexchange.com/vendors/default.asp The second is the Navy Exchange (NEX) which has over 100 locations including 20 overseas, has revenues exceeding $800 Million. Their headquarters is not far…Virginia Beach. www.mynavyexchange.com/command/p-index.html

There are two more:

The Marine Corps Exchange (MCX) has over 17 stores located on  both U.S. coasts and in Japan. Its headquarters is Quantico. www.usmc-mccs.org/buspartners/index.cfm

The Coast Guard Exchange (CGX) has over 25 stores nation-wide, and makes its headquarters in Chesapeake.    www.cg-exchange.com .

Many companies deal with these exchanges directly while others appoint military sales representatives which usually work on a commission basis and can help greatly with the details involved in selling to the US government, and also calling on overseas exchange buyers.

So much for the second “ major new market”. Will someone please name the third?


Increase Your Sales through 3 New Market Activities

March 1, 2011


by Jack Peltier, SCORE Counselor


There are so many opportunities to increase your sales,  yet  there are enormous new markets  which are either never identified or seldom seriously considered.

In good times, manufacturers of a good product sold in this country never  think of new markets, much less identify them.

This oversight is a common error which is easy to understand…  orders are received  in record numbers  during good economic times, and management concentrates  on meeting delivery  requirements and maintaining quality.

No one has the time to think about new markets…until  orders start getting smaller and harder to get and receivables take longer to collect.

There are three very important new markets :  The first one is the most obvious and one of enormous potential:  Sales to Federal, State or Municipal governments.

Marketing to these customers, and following instructions to become their suppliers are subjects which are taught at many business events, and assistance is always gladly provided by the government units involved.

If you require further information as to how to proceed, please let us know, and we will point you in the direction of the very organizations which can assist you right away.

So much for reminding you of the first “new” market.

Do  you know what the other two are?

Save Our Small Businesses First

February 24, 2011

by Paula Pagonakis, SCORE Counselor


Now that President Obama has stated that small business is a top priority on his agenda, we should see all sorts of activity and initiatives to increase the number of start-ups.  He lists 4 main areas he plans to focus on; 1) Access of Capital;  2)Easing of Regulatory Barriers;  3) Providing Real Business Mentors;  4) Tax Incentives/Tax Relief.

I hope his policies include resources to help keep small businesses in business.

The latest statistics from the Small Business Administration (SBA) show that “two-thirds of new employer establishments survive at lease two years, and 44 percent survive at least four years.” This is a far cry from the previous long-held belief that 50 percent of businesses fail in the first year and 95 percent fail with

in five years.

Brian Head, Economist with the SBA Office of Advocacy, noted that the latest statistics are a much more accurate assessment of new business success rates, and that “as a general rule of thumb, new employer businesses have a 50/50 chance of surviving for five years or more.”

Better success rates notwithstanding, a significant percentage of new businesses do fail. Expert opinions abound about what a business owner should and shouldn’t do to keep a new business afloat in the perilous waters of the entrepreneurial sea. There are, however, key factors that — if not avoided — will be certain to weigh down a business and possibly sink it forevermore.  http://www.businessknowhow.com/startup/business-failure.htm

While small business start-up is a solution to many out-of-work Americans, and a jump start to the economy, I anticipate a problem if similar initiatives are not put in place to assist those small businesses already in operation that need assistance.

I am concerned that the White House  http://www.whitehouse.gov/issues/startup- america focus on the goal defined in terms of numbers of new business start-ups may be missing the important element of creating successful ongoing businesses.

I am just not sure that flooding the economy with a million new start-up is a solution to anything.

“Bang for the Buck” Marketing

February 8, 2011


Guest Blogger: Mike Ludgate,

SCORE Central VA Counselor

Recently, a SCORE client asked me about advertising and how to get the best “Bang for the Buck”. I had to tell them there are many answers to a question like that. One thing is sure, if you are selling to anyone, you are like the fisherman. One thing we know, is that if you don’t put some bait on the hook and try to attract some fish you won’t have any supper tonight.

You may have to try several different baits and you may have to throw a lot of casts but if you don’t try at all, you KNOW you won’t have any success.

The first step in developing any advertising plan is to re-read your business plan. Focus on the part where you define your customer. Identify where your target customer is, what they do. That should give you the key to where you’re going to find your potential customer to lure in. The clues to all of the decisions that you need make about your advertising plan will be found in your Business Plan. As previously stated, you have to know your customer and you have to look at your financial projections to determine how much you should be spending. Make sure you have the cash to sustain a program.

If your sales forecast tells you that spring is a good season for your business, but you’re sitting in January wishing for some customer traffic, the answer may be to wait or consider a different form of marketing now. The solution could be that your market will buy now if you give them a good deal. So you may want to have a sale and do some promotion.

As you can see there are no easy answers to the original question of how to get the best “Bang for the Buck”. Your specific situation may have a different outcome. The point I want to make is that it is essential that you have a solid Business Plan to start with. It is a tool to help you manage your business operations.

Whatever marketing option you choose as right for you, keep in mind that a client has to hear your message seven times before it really sinks in. So don’t think you can get away with buying one ad to see if it works….because I can save you the money by telling you that it won’t! You have to have a consistent plan designed to get you maximum exposure at a realistic cost.

This is my area of expertise and I get great satisfaction as a volunteer SCORE counselor sharing my experience with small business owners just like you. If you are looking for any kind of business advice or mentoring, there are 24 other SCORE counselors with a variety of experience able to answer most any question you may have here at SCORE Central VA. Sign up for a free counseling session www.score-494.org and check out our low cost ($25) interactive workshops covering start-up, marketing, financials and more.

Small Biz Ask “Can we have an Advisory Board too?”

January 31, 2011

I was asking for the assistance of another SCORE counselor, Ray the other day concerning a client who has been in business for several years.  They had the need for some skills beyond my areas of expertise and Ray had the help I needed.  We discussed how small business needs change throughout the life of the business.  Where do small business owners go for information regarding strategic decisions such as capital investments, funding, expansion plans and strategic initiatives?  Who helps them with an exit strategy?  Small businesses have the same needs as big ones but often cannot find or afford the same resources.  Small businesses don’t have a board of directors rich in strengths covering all areas to help guide their decisions.  For many small businesses, a problem or opportunity comes along and the owner typically tries to figure out the solution by them self.  They may find themselves unequipped in various areas and don’t always have the time to identify resources or the funds to hire them.

Ray wondered if SCORE could provide this type of help to the small business.  He thought about putting together teams of seasoned volunteer professionals assembled specifically for a particular small business so that when a problem or opportunity arises, the team is already in place.  The small business owner is already familiar with the team and areas of strength and the team is already familiar with the business because there have been quarterly meetings like the big guys hold to identify problems and opportunities in advance.  The business owner can count on them to help identify new opportunities or outline future problems that can be avoided.

We further discussed how this would be an Advisory Board offering options but with no decision making power which would leave it to small business owner to call the shots.  As we tried to further flesh out the process, we thought that a small business owner could request an Advisory Board for their business by visiting the SCORE website at www.score-494.org and make a request.  We would interview the business owner and identify the current business needs.  Next, we would carefully match those SCORE counselors that can provide the right expertise and energy that is needed assembling a selection of Advisory Board candidates.  The business owner can review the profiles of the candidates, make their selection and hold the first meeting. 

So this is where Ray and I decided we needed input from the actual business owners.  This program would be for those businesses already operating because start-ups have different needs.  So small business owners out there, let us know what you think.  Help us develop this new service from SCORE.  How can we make it work for you?