A winning business idea often comes from an unexpected place.
For Ginny Jackson, the birth of her first child planted a seed of a business idea: She loved seeing her baby’s name on personalized gifts her family received.
She decided to start creating personalized items for friends and family, and her project soon turned into a business. Jackson’s company, Personalized Blankets, creates personalized, meaningful baby gifts that well-wishers can order online.
But after more than 15 years, Jackson says she wanted to reinvigorate her business after running on auto-pilot for several years.
Building a business while raising a family
“I found that the problems I faced were the same for many other small business owners: time management, focus, finances, technology and social media to name a few,” she says. Jackson had hired help to fulfill orders while she juggled business operations and raising a growing family, but she started to attend SCORE workshops to help grow her business.
Jackson attended workshops at her local Microsoft Store and local library. At local SCORE business roundtable events, she was able to meet various SCORE mentors and local business owners and build trust in her own business community.
Mentors Bruce William Marino and Gus Ferracane worked with Jackson to help her develop a growth strategy to scale her business wisely. “The perspective of having more than one mentor has been an added value as each offers their own expertise and knowledge,” she says.
Bruce and Gus helped Jackson develop a market entry plan for retail gift shops, to include specialty packaging, pricing, profit evaluation, policies, procedures and of course, a winning sales pitch. Jackson also discussed website development and social media alignment with her mentors in order to boost her online presence.
“I now have a clear and solid growth plan which will allow me to focus on the implementation of this new sales model to grow my revenue,” she says.
More than mentorship — a community, too
“I was so surprised at all the resources that are available,” Jackson says. “It didn’t take me long to start making some major progress with these business challenges. I attribute this to the help that I have received through SCORE mentoring and networking with other small business owners. We all help each other, which is great.”
After helping a generation of families celebrate their precious moments, Jackson is still focused on the customer service that served as the base for her business. “Entrepreneurs are usually people with a lot of ideas.” Jackson says. “It is important to stay focused so that you can gain momentum and make progress, one step at a time.”
And whatever step you’re at along the way, she says, asking for a mentor’s guidance is valuable. “You will appreciate the honest feedback you receive, and they will help you stay on course so that you can be successful.”