Deborah Thompson had no experience running a small business when she launched Pianimals Kids Club in 2012. For help, she contacted SCORE, an arm of the Small Business Administration and a free counseling service for small-business owners.

Thane Brown of Cincinnati is Thompson’s SCORE counselor. He worked for P&G for 36 years in engineering and manufacturing roles, retiring as director of North American Engineering.

“Deborah has a niche business, which meets an unfilled customer need, and she puts the children she teaches first,” Brown said.

Initially, Brown and Thompson worked on a business plan. Since she didn’t need a loan, they worked instead on developing financial predictions, her sales presentation and a tri-fold brochure to attract customers.

Today, they meet every few weeks to set multi-year business objectives and restructure Thompson’s job so she can manage and expand her business.

The work is paying off. In June, Pianimals Kids Club was named SCORE’s Client of the Month.