Lauren Rosenstein is the owner of The Green Schoolhouse. Lauren tells her story of working with the PCC Small Business Development Center below.
Tell us about your business.
The Green Schoolhouse is an outdoor experience that connects students of all ages to the natural world. For the Green Schoolhouse, the "natural" world occurs in food systems, in the land surrounding schools, and on urban farms around the city. By connecting students to the natural world, sustainability, and garden education we work to form community, healthy lifestyles, and to encourage people to find magic in all of our environments.
What inspired you to start your business?
I began my first career as an early childhood educator and quickly found that young children are open, curious, and experimental in a way that allows teachers to open the door to a very dynamic way of learning. After almost a decade of teaching young and first time students, and working on creating my own pedagogy, I left the formal classroom and decided to continue teaching in an outdoor environment and with students of all ages.
Before coming to the SBDC, what were you struggling with in your business?
Before coming to the SBDC I had an idea and the bones of a structure, but I had no muscle (let alone the guts and skin). I had very little idea about how to market my business idea, how to utilize a website, how to create systems, and how to grow into the business I wanted.
What types of services did you receive and/or in which programs did you participate?
I have met with an advisor, Sean Harry, from the beginning, who has helped me with the nuts and bolts, but even more importantly has been steadfast in his support. There was a point when I thought I would walk away and Sean was there to remind me why I started my business and how I could keep it going.
How did the services or programs help you overcome your challenges?
Sean has been the best listener, he has encouraged me emotionally and has also provided me with so many tangible tools, especially the GrowthWheel tool. Meeting with an advisor has provided me with a successful approach to a timeline and ways to complete the needs of that timeline.
What have you done differently in your business since working with the SBDC?
Since working with SBDC I have done quite a bit differently. Most importantly for the long term success of my business has been keeping a record of the year and then translating that to successful systems like hiring and training guidelines, marketing strategies, confidence and the ability to reach out to new potential clients, and a working timeline so that I know exactly what I need to do at a particular time of year.
How is your business doing now?
My business is doing incredibly well. Every year since our first year of opening we have increased our income by 100%! Not only has the business continued to grow, I also know how I want to grow it over the next 5 to 10 years because of the future planning I have been able to do due to the help of SBDC.
What would you say to other small business owners thinking of working with the SBDC?
I often encourage other friends who are either starting business or are struggling with growth in their business to reach out to SBDC because the SBDC is incredibly clarifying. The number one thing that I have done through SBDC has been to arrange the business into manageable tables so that I am able to tackle each task in a reasonable way... that is what I tell everyone.