By George Obst, Certified SCORE Mentor
When I ran into Judy Fishman at the 2nd annual Greater Phoenix SCORE Symposium in March, it became clear there was an inspirational success story that needed to be told.
Judy Fishman got a great start in her publishing business and SCORE was there to help. A graduate of Queens College with a major in English, Judy entered the publishing industry as a trainee in advertising production. There, she volunteered to write the company’s newsletter and that provided her with the writing sample she needed to apply for a position in the editorial department of another publishing company.
Five years later, Judy, an entrepreneur at heart, had a yen to create her own publishing business and saw an opportunity to do so within the dental field. With a second mortgage for financing, she began working on the first issue of a magazine for the dental laboratory industry – LMT .
SCORE was there for her when she needed help on the business side of this adventure. A SCORE mentor, in Norwalk, CT. met at her home office to advise her about setting up a payroll, establishing and tracking a five-year plan, and finding trusted sources for service providers such as insurance and accounting. And that was over 30 years ago.
Competition was tough as she competed with five other dental magazines aimed at her target market but, with enthusiasm, conviction, and perseverance, Judy’s magazine became the leader in the field with a 70% market share of allocated advertising dollars. A major reason for her success was the fact that she surveyed her readership and asked for continuous feedback from customers and then initiated changes based on this information. Having customers communicate their opinions are key to creating an intimate customer experience.
Another significant factor contributing to success was her creation of a unique selling proposition. Judy created an industry trade show with educational programs sponsored by the dental companies that advertised in the magazine. She started in one central location and then spread to two other key regions in the country. No other national laboratory publication brought advertisers to the table to meet face to face with their dental laboratory owner/technician-customers.
Judy commented, “Our shows create a more intimate connection between us and the industry suppliers/manufacturers as well as with our readers. We are more than ‘just another magazine,’ and are known for our efforts to satisfy the needs of our community.”
Judy attributes her success to her 16-person staff, empowered to produce quality results. She believes in treating her staff the way she would like to be treated, and staff members have responded in a totally committed way to ensure unity of purpose and exceptional results.
History tells the story best. Three of the competitors that Judy confronted at the start of the magazine have long since closed. She continues to own the dominant market share and has become one of the highest-ranking women executives in the dental industry.
January 2015 was an epic month, setting a record in ad revenue. Congratulations Judy and staff.
The success continues.
SCORE, with over 70 certified mentors in the greater Phoenix area, helps entrepreneurs succeed who are either starting a business or leading a small business. SCORE mentors listen intently, and then, at no cost to the client, bring objective plan development and problem solving in constructive and productive one on one sessions. This may take just one meeting or as many meetings as the entrepreneur feels are helpful and necessary. And remember, as a resource partner of the US Small Business Administration, there is never a fee to the client. If business financing is needed, SCORE mentors will advise on the necessary steps that will increase the client’s chances of securing outside financing.
Schedule an appointment with a SCORE mentor today at a convenient location. Click here to jump-start your success.
George Obst is a Certified SCORE mentor with more than 30 years experience profitably managing and growing businesses, including start-ups, purchasing, financing and selling business.