Pooth & Associates - Carena Pooth, your business coach & advisorfrequently asked questions

Pooth & Associates

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Thinking about getting some help with your business? It’s not an easy step to take. You want someone who is experienced and knowledgeable. But those qualities alone are not enough.

Every business advisor should be competent, but you need to feel comfortable with your advisor as a person. If you don’t have that level of comfort and trust, you’re not going to be able to share the information that’s needed to make the process work.

Your business advisor must be compassionate, an excellent communicator, and 100% trustworthy. For the best results, the “chemistry” between you and your advisor has to be right. That’s why I insist on a phone conversation before we can even talk about how we might work together. Once we get to know each other a bit, we can decide whether it makes sense for us to work together. If we decide it’s not the right thing to do right now, no problem!  Many business owners find that initial call to be a valuable experience either way (they’ve told us so).

Below are some questions and answers that will give you a better idea about me and the way I work.
Click on any question to see the answer.

Can you help me with marketing?

Yes! Small businesses often have a very small marketing budget, so I help them identify the most beneficial ways to spend those dollars. Many businesses find themselves “shooting in the dark” when it comes to marketing, so I strongly recommend to many of my clients that they develop a simple, internal marketing plan to guide their marketing activities.  I also help business owners develop marketing messages and materials, getting local service providers involved as appropriate.

Do you do business plans?

My “internal use only” Business Roadmap and Marketing Roadmap programs have been discontinued. I no longer offer these as standalone programs because it was not cost-effective to do so. However, development of a Business or Marketing Roadmap can be part of my retainer-based Business Support Program.

If a business plan (or marketing plan) is the only reason you are thinking about hiring an advisor, I recommend that you look elsewhere. SCORE is a free, government-funded resource that some business owners have had great success with, so it might make sense to start there.

Do you work with startups?

Yes. I have worked with a number of startups and I have to admit they have a special appeal for me because of the entrepreneurial and innovative spirit that drives them. 

For what kind of people will your programs NOT work?

Alas….there are some who will not benefit from working with me, and I want to be very “up front” about this. Those who think all they have to do is pay me and changes will take place are mistaken. My clients must be ready, willing, and able to work hard with me. Those who are reluctant to be open with me will not get great value from working with me.

How can you make a difference in just a few hours a month?

It’s true that results will occur sooner if we work more hours per month. However, some small business owners cannot initially afford to pay for an intensive program. I tailor my program to the means as well as the needs of each client. As few as 4 hours of my time each month make a difference if the business owner is able and willing to put his or her own time into it, and do some “homework” when we are not together. And my flagship service, the Business Support Program, includes untimed Telephone Hotline Support. Many clients have told me that my Hotline Support service is very valuable to them in keeping them on track and moving forward.

How much do your services cost?

The cost varies according to the particular service you are buying and the amount of time I will be working with or for you. The retainer arrangement I use in the Business Support Program results in a predictable, set monthly fee, so cash flow is impacted as minimally as possible. 

What about mature companies?

These are great to work with, too! Experienced business owners have learned a lot through the mistakes they’ve made (I know I have learned through mine!). By the time they talk to me, they already know that if they want something to change, they’d better change something! This gives us a great starting point.

What do you know about my type of business?

I’ve worked with many types of businesses, but may not have direct experience with your industry. However, the fundamentals that are key to business success are quite similar across all businesses. When answers are needed that are specific to your particular industry or sector, I’ll help you find them.

What if something happens after I sign your contract and I can’t continue paying?

After an initial, non-refundable payment, my clients may cancel my services at any time without penalty. Likewise, I may cancel if I don’t feel the engagement is working out in such a way that the client will really benefit from working with me.

What is Telephone Hotline Support?

Telephone Hotline Support is included in my Business Support Program (BSP). Throughout a BSP engagement with Pooth & Associates, the business owner may call me at any time to discuss anything at all about the business without incurring billable time (unless the call is used to replace a planned meeting, of course).

What kind of businesses do you work with?

I work with non-manufacturing businesses, from “solopreneur” to business owners having a small management team consisting of fewer than ten people. Most important, I choose to work with clients who are committed to doing their part to make the program work for them. This means they are eager to work hard and be responsive to my requests for information or meetings. They understand that there is no magic wand! We have to work together as a team, and we both have to keep our promises to each other and ourselves.