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What did John F. Kennedy, Jr., Hillary Rodham Clinton, Ed Koch, Richard Daley and Jerry Brown have in common other than politics? The answer is, at one time or another, all failed the Bar Exam. But there’s a New York small business owner who wants to help future exam-takers avoid that same fate.
Trained as a lawyer at Harvard University and as a linguist at the University of Illinois, Dr. Mary Campbell Gallagher has put her training to work to devise what she touts as unique preparation processes for the bar exam.
Founding BarWrite® and BarWrite Press 20 years ago, Gallagher and her staff offer large-group courses and coaching to prepare students for bar examination essays— the Multistate Performance Test and Multistate Bar Exam parts of the exam. She also makes her system for the essays available in her Scoring High on Bar Exam Essays book and CDs.
Slowing growing her company and its reputation, Gallagher added bar-preparation materials to the classes and began to write bar-preparation books for national distribution. Successful with that strategy, Gallagher is quick to point out that the company's growth didn’t happen overnight. "The advertising that worked best for us was word-of-mouth and aiming for excellence," said Gallagher. "You have to be so good that people can’t ignore you."
Despite that success, Gallagher wanted to grow her publishing business. So two years ago she contacted SCORE, Counselors to America's Small Business. A resource partner of the U.S. Small Business Administration, SCORE provides free business management counseling. "My SCORE counselor, Howard Geltzer, was my mentor," said Gallagher. "Howard taught me the principles of public relations, such as which day of the week I should put out a press release."
Gallagher is currently working on a new bar-preparation book to help students prepare for the MPT portion of the exam. And she’s turned once again to Geltzer and his advice to help launch it. "Based upon my experience, I would advise all entrepreneurs to find their own guardian angels at SCORE," said Gallagher.
More information about BarWrite can be found at: www.barwrite.com.
Making Dreams Come True
Stacey Stratton, executive recruiter and owner of True Talent Group, a sales recruitment company based out of Apple Valley, recently turned a lifelong dream and guidance from SCORE into a thriving enterprise with limitless opportunities.
After working in the industry for six years, Stratton had a strong desire to break out and start her own company. An internet search for “small business help” put Stratton in touch with a counselor from her local SCORE office. “Our team provided resources that helped Stacey overcome her concerns regarding how to start a company, develop a solid business plan and put the basics in place to kick-off her recruiting business.,” says SCORE counselor Greg Boettner.
Stratton attended several seminars offered by her local SCORE office, and with help from the Business Planning Center, diligently chipped away at a working business plan. The results are undisputed: sales at True Talent Group in 2008 were double Stratton’s expectations. Sales for 2009 have already exceeded last year’s, and Stratton says she expects to triple her business by the end of the year.
Recently, Stratton has expanded the business to include placement of marketing and creative talent. She has also added contract and temp-to-hire placements. Stratton is currently working to obtain the distinction of being certified a Women’s Business Enterprise. Stratton says, “We have insights about the Twin Cities market and often daily updates about business happenings because we’re involved and networked. This local knowledge translates well when a locally-headquartered corporation wants to build their marketing or sales team nationally or a professional is relocating to the Twin Cities. We understand this market and the businesses that operate nationally and internationally here.”
As a resource partner with the SBA, SCORE provides information vital to small business success. This includes counseling on financing options, business planning, marketing strategies, product development and more. Individual members and counseling teams with diverse business knowledge and experience provide one-on-one, confidential counseling at no cost to the business owner.
Long Islander Wins New York State: Now in Competition for National Small Business Person of the Year
At a Manhattan ceremony in celebration of presidentially declared National Small Business Week 2009the New York District Office of the U.S. Small Business Administration today presented Teresa M. Ward, owner of Teresa&rsquo's Family Cleaning, Inc., with the award for New York State’s top small business. Ward also won for Small Business Person of the Year in the SBA’s Region II, which includes New York, New Jersey, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
Ward founded her residential cleaning company, Teresa’s Family Cleaning, Inc., in 1992, providing the traditional cleaning services one expects for this type of business. Along the way she added non-traditional services such as organizing and management services for senior-living facilities throughout Long Island.
That ability to adapt and grow enabled Family Cleaning to weather the current economic downturn. And rather than submit to the crisis, Ward ensures that her core group of customers is always satisfied with her company’s service. In fact, she still has her pre-crisis 12 to 14 crews out on any given day. "With the traditional spring cleaning time upon us, I feel as though we have gotten through the worst," said Ward.
Ward started her business— not in the infamous entrepreneur’s garage— but she did start as a one-woman business in her basement. The company now owns it own building in Rocky Point, NY, employs upward of 40 cleaners, office staff and sales personnel, has a fleet of 15 vehicles and grosses well over a million in sales. Also environmentally conscious, the company now uses only "green" and eco-friendly products in its cleaning arsenal to help ensure the safety of its customers, employees and the environment.
Family Cleaning was helped through its growth stages with a loan from Community National Bank which was partially guaranteed by the SBA, as well as business management counseling from the SBA’s Stony Brook Small Business Development Center.
When her sister passed away from cancer in 2003, Ward embarked upon another mission and helped launch the Cleaning for a Reason Foundation in New York in 2006. The non-profit, along with 500 cleaning companies across the nation provides free or at-cost cleaning services for women undergoing chemotherapy. Last year she began donating company services to Habitat for Humanity, to prep the homes for their new inhabitants.
Ms. Ward’s awards prove you do not have to be some sort of exotic, high-tech business owner to win this honor," said SBA Spokesman John J. Miller. "You just need to be good at what you do."
The recipient of the country’s most prestigious small business award---National Small Business Person of the Year--- will be selected from among 50 state winners and announced at the National Small Business Week 2009 ceremony in Washington, DC, May18-22, 2009.
Other SBA New York District award winners at the SBA event today included:
Family-Owned Business of the Year
Peter Negri, President & CEO Jamaica Bearings Co. New Hyde Park, NY
Financial Services Champion of the Year
Patrick Mackrell, President & CEO New York Business Development Corp. Albany, NY
Veteran Small Business Champion of the Year
Benjamin B. Hunt, Director Department of Defense Procurement Technical Assistance Center, LaGuardia Comm. College Long Island City, NY
Minority Small Business Champion of the Year
Rev. Carmen Hernandez, Founder & President New York City Lesbian, Gay, Bi-Sexual, Transgender Chamber of Commerce Bronx, NY
Women in Business Champion of the Year
Deborah Brenner, Founder & CEO Women of the Vine Cellars, LLC Piermont, NY
Small Business Journalist of the Year
Joan Hamburg and Liz Hamburg, Co-hosts WOR News/Talk Radio 710 New York, NY