National Autism Resources, Benicia
National Autism Resources was a start-up, ecommerce business selling a range of unique products and sharing knowledge about services for caretakers of people on the autism spectrum.
Bonnie Arnwine came to the Contra Costa SBDC in 2008 for help determining if her business concept was feasible. With a son on the spectrum and an iParenting Media award winning book, Starting Sensory Integration Therapy, Bonnie felt confident that there was need for her business but wanted to validate her feelings.
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 client’s needs, Bonnie needed help with marketing and selling.
As Bonnie’s business continued to grow, she needed help understanding cash flow management techniques, website optimization and warehouse, 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 where she created a complete business plan.
Over the next two years, Business Advisor Randy Shores helped Bonnie implement her plan where she learned how to use suggestive selling techniques and how to use mailing lists to build her database of potential buyers. Shores explained to Bonnie how to cultivate a relationship with her banker and vendors so she could maximize her cash flow.
Most recently Bonnie received a website audit from SBDC TAP Advisor Sara Isenberg and learned about strategies for website optimization and social media.
After three years in business, November 2011 sales are three times November 2010 sales. Bonnie is searching for warehouse space to move her home-based business to and she has hired two full-time people, one of which has warehouse management expertise.
With the help of Yahoo, the SBDC and a lot of hard work growing her vendor list, Bonnie sees her sales doubling by the end of 2012.
“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!”