When Michelle Bohm was contemplating starting a new business, she wasn’t just thinking about herself. She was envisioning how it could work for other women in the community with a similar drive to succeed. "I took some time to evaluate different industries, and then one day I was in a salon and it hit me ... This is where I am supposed to be," Bohm says.
Her business concept was about much more than salon services. She envisioned a complete head-to-toe experience where she could sell everything from haircuts and hair products to clothing, jewelry, handbags, shoes, and arts and crafts from local women-owned businesses.
"Had I not listened and acted on that spark of inspiration, this dream never would have been born," Bohm says.
In June 2017, Bohm opened the doors to her salon and boutique, which she aptly named Inspired. "We are about to hit our 18-month mark and have already expanded into additional space!" she says.
Feeling confident she took the right direction for a small business, Bohm adds, "The beauty services industry is fast-paced and exciting; plus, it gives me the opportunity to work with incredible artists whose talents balance my own."
According to Bohm, a former loan officer, "I heard about SCORE from my days in banking. I had attended local workshops on various topics and knew that their mission was to help people get their start in a new business. As soon as I decided that this was the path I was going to take, my next call was to SCORE to find myself a mentor."
Making every effort to ensure she was prepared to take the plunge, Bohm says, "Before we even signed the lease on our space, I was matched with two amazing mentors — Jim Peugh and Gary Ebeling — who helped me develop my idea and write my business plan."
According to Bohm, the best thing about SCORE is the mentor connection. She explains, “[My mentors and I] met monthly in the beginning and now we meet quarterly. Sometimes, I needed advice and sometimes I just needed someone to tell me I was on the right track and keep going. I always leave those meetings fired up to do more and confident in my ability to do it!"
As inspired and enthusiastic as she is, Bohm admits, "It is easy to get distracted with the day-to-day operations (and a dreamer like me is distracted by everything), but my mentors keep me accountable to follow through on the less exciting things that are vital to a healthy business."
Bohm's advice to anyone considering starting their own business: "Step 1: Call SCORE and get a mentor you trust. Talk to them (and anyone else who will listen) about your ideas; then ask for feedback. Don’t be afraid to admit what you don’t know and always ask for help. Most importantly, you don’t have to know how it’s all going to work out before you start. Just take the first step and be confident in your ability to figure things out."