BUSINESS SUCCESS STORIES
Forget-Me-Not Memory Support Program
Barb Barkley-Ellingson, a retired Montessori teacher of 25 years, discovered a program started by Karen and Tom Brenner, which used the Montessori Method for teaching individuals with various forms of dementia. After making initial contact and corresponding with them for several years, Barkley-Ellingson finally decided to begin her own business, Forget-Me-Not Memory Support Program, LLC, enabling her to continue using her years of experience teaching the Montessori Method.
Not knowing how to begin, Barkley-Ellingson turned to the Western Dairyland Women's Business Center for the training and one-on-one consulting she needed. She registered for the "Building Your Business" seminar, and then signed up for a one-on-one consultation soon after.
"Being around other people who were starting their own small business helped me continue the confidence and direction I needed," Barkley-Ellingson said. "I was retired and knew I wanted to start my own business for about five years, but I felt like I was on an island all alone. The class helped me realize, I was not alone, and there were others like me. I highly recommend anyone thinking of starting a business to take one of these classes!"
Barkley-Ellingson was a pioneer in the area of bringing the Montessori Method to dementia patients in a full out business model, as no one else was doing it locally.
The Business Development Specialist was able to assist Barkley-Ellingson with the business structure and creating the LLC and FEIN registration, and developing the mission statement and plan for implementing this new business concept. They also assured her the name of her business, Forget-Me-Not Memory Support Program was suitable for use, as other programs in the nation had similar named programs. Barkley-Ellingson was able to obtain permission to use her business' name, but said that, "I wouldn't have thought of this on my own, and probably would have given up at that point without even asking if I could use the name."
"Even the most minor detail, such as writing the press release and sending it to care facilities, has really expanded my business presence to the point of me having more than enough work for myself to handle, and something I wouldn't have done on my own," Barkley-Ellingson said.
The Business Development Specialist also helped Barkley-Ellingson craft a mission statement that summarizes the essence of what her business does, and has helped capture leads and interest from different dementia programs in the area. "It's so nice to have the same message to tell people when they ask me what I do and what the program is about, and they understand the concept right away!"
Barkley-Ellingson concluded, "Thanks to Western Dairyland's great support. I wouldn't be where I am today. From encouraging me to press forward and giving me easy tasks to complete for each meeting gave me the direction and confidence to start my own small business. The Business Development Specialist was always there, ready to answer any question and helped me envision this business that didn't exist. Now I own a business that is not only needed but greatly appreciated in this area. I'm living my dream."