Barb Schuster works as a secretary at Pennridge School District by day, helps take care of a friend’s horse on the side and recently resigned from her third job, waitressing.
But, what Schuster really wants to do is be her own boss. Since 2011 she has been working on an animal grooming glove called Grooming Hands through her company, B Comfee, which she established as an LLC in 2012.
“When you're passionate about something and you hear your customers' enthusiasm after using the Grooming Hands inspires you to continue,” said Schuster, of Perkasie.
For the last two years she has drawn inspiration from small business counselors at SCORE Bucks County, a nonprofit organization which mentors entrepreneurs on various facets of business.
“Networking is a big thing that they’re helping me out with,” Schuster said. “They’re also good for giving you confidence when you’re not sure where to turn or how to present things.”
In addition to taking advantage of SCORE’s free counseling services, Schuster has received “personal guidance” on everything business-related, including record-keeping functions like putting together a cash flow summary and profit and loss statements. She has also been participating in workshops, including a recent one designed to offer help in obtaining a bank loan.
SCORE mentors have helped to keep her focused on the big picture and what’s needed to make her business dream a reality.
“You have the opportunity to talk to different people and learn the different aspects of the businesses where you think you might need more help,” she said of SCORE.
Currently, Schuster is trying to find a better way to manufacture Grooming Hands, which she said can be used on cats, dogs, horses and “anything that likes to get groomed.”
While manufacturing has been her biggest challenge so far, her SCORE mentors have helped her stay motivated. Counselors, who all have business backgrounds and decades of insight, also give her a real-world view and perspective to know that running a business is far from easy.
“There are the hard times that you have to think clearly about,” Schuster said. “You really have got to be aware of everything that’s involved. You’ve got to look at the benefits, the risks and what you’re willing to do to make the business successful.”