Originally posted on contracostasbdc.org.
National Autism Resources was founded by Bonnie Arnwine. It is an e-commerce business featuring products and services for caretakers of people on the autism spectrum. With a son on the spectrum and an award-winning book – Starting Sensory Integration Therapy – Bonnie felt confident that there was a need for her business. Still, she went to the Contra Costa SBDC in 2008 for help determining if her business concept was feasible.
Bonnie recognized that she needed a business plan to help her determine the market and financial feasibility of her business concept. With a strong technical background and first-hand knowledge of her potential clients’ needs, Bonnie needed help with marketing and selling.
As Bonnie’s business continued to grow, she needed help in understanding many business concepts. These included cash flow management techniques, website optimization, and warehouse and inventory control management.
Bonnie’s relationship with the SBDC began as she enrolled in the Center’s 12-week “Successful New Ventures Training Program” with Business Advisor Cindy Turner. There, she created a complete business plan.
Over the next two years, Business Advisor Randy Shores helped Bonnie implement her plan. She learned how to use suggestive selling techniques and how to build her database of potential buyers. Shores explained to Bonnie how to cultivate a relationship with her banker and vendors in order to maximize her cash flow.
Most recently, Bonnie received a website audit from SBDC TAP Advisor Sara Isenberg. In it, she learned about strategies for website optimization and social media.
Right from the start the SBDC has helped me to grow my business and avoid costly mistakes. Their advice has paid off enormously. Any small business owner that does not take advantage of their services is crazy!
In November 2011, after three years in business, her year-to-year sales tripled. Bonnie began searching for warehouse space to move her home-based business into. She also hired two full-time staff, one of which has warehouse management expertise.