How SCORE helped. 

When times get tough, people head to start-ups! This holds true in any recession, but the COVID pandemic crisis was something special. The shutdown brought forced lay-offs and widespread business closures. People responded by opening their own small business – in droves! Americans filed paperwork to start 4.3 million businesses last year. The U.S. Census Bureau reports this as a 24% increase over the previous year, and we are on track for even more this year.

SCORE Mentors Respond to the Trend

Volunteer mentor Fred Engle began working with Zach Johnson-Medland, owner of Gumption Design Co., about eight months ago. Zach was currently working as the social media manager for an online fishing equipment company. He was ready to explore the possibilities that having his own business might offer for both his creativity and growth. According to Johnson-Medland, "Creating a business will help solidify my ideas and organize them financially."

"Zach is wise to advise his current employers about his entrepreneurial activities. Transparency is always best in these situations. Zach develops websites, provides logos, illustrates products, and works with sales on social media, to name just a few of the services that Gumption Design Co. offers."
     - Fred Engle, SCORE volunteer mentor


Fred Engle and Zach Johnson-Medland

Taking the Leap

When Zach decided to branch out with his design skills to start his own company, he instinctively turned to SCORE Lancaster-Lebanon to request the guidance of a mentor.

"My great grandfather was a SCORE mentor way back in the day, so I had an idea of what they did and how useful they could be. When I started looking at all the paperwork and business plan ideas, I knew I'd need someone to help me sort it out. My friend has recently taken a SCORE class, so I began the business class and signed up for a mentor. I also knew that they could help connect me with local businesses that might need my services."
     - Zach Johnson-Medland, founder & owner of Gumption Design Co.

Zach received his B.A. in Fine Arts from Marywood University. While in school, he would help friends and family with business materials like logos, brochures, and websites. After college, he worked in a design agency and got a taste of working with local business owners and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce that helped the local businesses thrive. This design experience resonated with Zach in his current position as the social media manager at an online company and served as inspiration for his entrepreneurial journey.

Navigating a New Business in an Uncertain Climate

These new entrepreneurs face unchartered waters as the national economy struggles to restart from the pandemic business crisis. Zach is fortunate that his business model does not require in-person meetings or supply chain products. However, he must prepare for clients who are directly affected by these issues.

"Luckily, my business isn't tied down to a location, so nothing has changed dramatically. I've had to rely more on digital communication methods and streamlined my onboarding process with clients to ensure they understand my services. It's become more important than ever to have several online touchpoints like a website, Google Maps, and social media. So, these are the products I propose as critical to my clients right now."
          - Zach Johnson-Medland, founder & owner of Gumption Design Co.


Zach Johnson-Medland with a client

Zach is currently working on a business plan with his mentor Fred Engle. Still, one of his principal objectives for the immediate future is to stay connected and committed to this work with his SCORE mentor.

"Fred Engle has really helped keep me accountable to my business goals and helped me connect in the local community. He's been there every step of the way to offer simple guidance on business plans or figure out what steps to take next."
     - Zach Johnson-Medland, founder & owner of Gumption Design Co.

There is one thing that is certain in Zach's future. He will be recommending SCORE Lancaster-Lebanon to any entrepreneur he encounters along his journey. His advice to all would be,

"Always go into a meeting with your mentor with questions. I try to question Fred about anything of importance at the time of our meeting. Even if he doesn't have an answer, he can find someone who does and connect me. SCORE Lancaster-Lebanon has been an invaluable resource for connecting with other business owners who may have faced similar problems."
     - Zach Johnson-Medland, founder & owner of Gumption Design Co.


Zach Johnson-Medland with his score mentors

 

 

Zach Johnson-Medland, owner of Gumption Design Co