SCORE Meeting

Today I met with my mentor matched with me though SCORE. Overall it went very well. I wish I had a longer list of questions prepared, but I had already solved most of the questions I sent in my initial e-mail last week!

I gave him an overview of my business and my plan, taught him a little bit about the skateboard industry and the market, and he had some good feedback. I was able to ask him the questions I had about planning for shrinkage and loss prevention in general. We talked about payroll, and the costs and benefits of hiring a payroll company. He explained the different roles a bookkeeper and account could play and how much of that I’m going to handle myself. He answered my questions about what steps I need an attorney for (not much). We talked a lot about various methods of inventory management and ideas for keeping inventory moving.

He seemed to think I was in a good place overall and thinks I’m doing things right. He suggested a few classes that might benefit me and I’ll be looking into those. He was glad to hear my reasons for doing what I am doing. We talked about people who want to start businesses simply for the reason of working for themselves. He told me about so many people who walk in the door and have no idea what they are doing, and how I wasn’t one of them.

If nothing else, I was glad for the conformation from someone who’s done it, that I’m doing it right.

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Stronger Skatepark

Stronger Skatepark

You may have seen me posting about wanting to start a skatepark for a while. Well, I’m doing it.

I have a business plan that I’ve put months of work into. I’ve read a lot of big books about small and big business, and spent more time than I care to admit educating myself though various resources on-line.

I’m ready to move forward and I’m taking steps. In addition to the self-education and the plan, I’ve been building a relationship with an excellent local ramp builder. He built the ramp in my garage and a lot of other fantastic projects here in Portland and around the world. I’m excited that he’s a part of the conversation from the beginning and already has an idea of my vision. Today I obtained my EIN and filed my business with the State of Oregon. I’m meeting with my new business mentor though SCORE on Tuesday morning and I have a few options for funding in the works.

My passion is skateboarding and the skate community. My goal is to support everyone in their perusal of what they love, starting with skateboarders. Skateboarders are often pegged as loners and outcasts, they are judged by what they love and not who they are. Skaters are painted as lawbreakers and vandals and are often treated as less than people. Often their only community is the skate community, and for some even making connections in the skate community can be hard. So many skaters are young, straight, and male. It’s easy to feel like you don’t belong if you aren’t a 14 year old boy.

I want to create a place where everyone belongs. Where you can feel connected regardless of age, gender identity, or sexual preference.

The name of the skatepark was inspired by the Gungor song, “We are Stronger.” The song is about the common thread of being human and the strength that comes from standing together as opposed to creating division.

“You and me
We’re the stuff of stars and dirt
With eyes to see

We are better together
We are the day and night
Together we are stronger
We are stronger”

I have a lot of very detailed plans for the business that I could talk about, but what’s more important to me than that is the goal of the business; To create a inclusive community of skateboarders, a place where those marginalized even by the skate community itself can be accepted. Just the simple fact that it will be a skatepark founded and managed by a woman will attest to that. Skateboarding is a boys game even more than almost any other sport/industry/lifestyle. But there is no reason it has to stay that way.

Doing things to the highest quality possible is incredibly important to me. That’s why this process doesn’t happen over night. Its been nearly a year since I decided to take this seriously, and a dream I’ve been thinking about since I was 15 years old. In addition to being inclusive, my park will be clean, modern, safe, and beautiful to look at. It will have a shop, with all sorts of great products, but more importantly, it will be filled with people. People who love skateboarding and who love seeing all sorts of other people loving skateboarding.

I’m looking for all kinds of support as I launch this labor of love. The most obvious is financial support. I’ll be running a Kickstarter campaign this summer where backers will receive free sessions, memberships, and other rewards for their support. If you wish to support me financially with a smaller amount, the Kickstarter will be the time to do that. If you are interested in investing in the business with a larger sum of money please email me at allisonw.cpst[AT]gmail.com. In addition to monetary support, I’m going to need moral support, and help with my everyday responsibilities. I’m happy to accept all support offered in these areas. I’ll also be looking for all sorts of help with design work, book keeping, and other things related directly to the business.

Thanks to all my friends and family who have supported me thus far. I’ve got a long road ahead of me, but rarely have I been so excited at the prospect of so much work!

Below is a link to my pitch built with Live Plan. This is but a tiny piece of the much larger business plan, but it can give you a good idea of the size and scope of the project.

https://pitch.liveplan.com/dYADS/ghuSw

I’ll be keeping people updated on facebook at https://www.facebook.com/Strongerskateparkpdx/

Much love, Allison.