Julie and Diana felt they knew how to run a company, but had no idea about how to buy one or set up a corporation. Julie's husband, a business broker, suggested she contact the SBA for advice. That call led to a referral to the Portland chapter of SCORE. "I explained that we needed help fast because time was of the essence," Julie recalls. "They immediately put me in touch with Harry Kane, the former CFO of Georgia Pacific. He was 100 percent fantastic."
SCORE Mentor Harry Kane and his fellow volunteer mentor Dan Williamson, a former consulting engineer, helped Julie and Diana formulate their strategy for purchasing Medical Specialty Solutions. Because both women had to literally keep their day jobs to keep the company functioning, most of the mentoring sessions took place at night and on weekends. "Harry and Dan took a lot of time out of their private lives to help us," Diana says. "They knew we were making tough decisions, and they were always there to support us. They made sure we knew how the outcomes would affect the company."
Julie adds that the two mentors stuck to them like Velcro. "They were with us every step of the way," she says. "Harry sat in on our purchase negotiations, and joined me for my meeting with the loan officer at the bank."
Of particular importance to Julie and Diana was the guidance Harry and Dan provided that helped Medical Specialty Solutions successfully transition to new ownership. "There are so many things to consider, but Harry and Dan made sure we focused first on the mission-critical needs," Julie says. "That included reassuring our clients and staff, who were naturally nervous about whether the changeover would succeed."
Julie and Diana continue to work with their SCORE mentors on a monthly basis. They meet to review financials, fine-tune the strategic plan, and consider key decisions such as remodeling the company's offices to handle its growth. "Harry and Dan challenge us to think of things that we might not have considered," Julie says. "They want to be sure we spend our money wisely, and not commit some of the mistakes that cripple other fast-growing companies."
Diana says, “Harry Kane and Dan Williamson gave unselfishly of their time and brilliant backgrounds to help Medical Specialty Solutions move forward. People often praise Julie and me for saving the company, but SCORE deserves an equal share of the credit."