As entrepreneurs we like to think that we know everything, and we know everyone, and we know exactly what we are doing. But really we don't.  -- Jen Mulliniks of Gravitate!
The mentoring session that changed everything

Jen Mulliniks first reached out to SCORE in the planning stages of her small business.

"I wanted to visit with someone who wasn't my friend, who wasn't a family member, someone who didn't know me. I wanted someone who would really look at my business plan with a magnifying glass and try to poke holes in it. I found that with Lew," she recalled about her initial meeting with SCORE mentor, Lew Real .

Mulliniks is the owner of Gravitate , a modern and light-filled space in north downtown Albuquerque for businesses and organizations to utilize for their important meetings. For one set price, groups gain access to an attractive atmosphere with full tech/AV. Meals are extra but include local healthy food options and access to virtually any caterer. The idea for Gravitate grew out of Jen's experience organizing events where she observed the often negative impact of a meeting environment on herself and others. Gravitate's approach is to use the physical environment to help attendees become more comfortable and willing to participate -- a hallmark of a successful meeting.

After their initial meetings, Jen and Lew did not meet again for about a year. Gravitate was up and running, but things were not going well. Resolved that the only solutions were to drastically change the business or close it down, Jen contacted her mentor. Lew reviewed her books. He outlined the steps to close her business. Then he said, "Let's talk about how you're going to stay open."

"It was an a-ha moment. I realized I didn't have to be afraid anymore. Lew made me feel calm," she said.

Lew recommended that Jen make a few tweaks. Today, these tweaks have reaped big results. She now outsources services like marketing and office help so she can focus on growing her business. The next business phases include more space, more services and the opportunity for local culinary entrepreneurs to develop relationships with Gravitate clients.
In addition to SCORE, Mulliniks has worked on components of her business with WESST and ABQ ID . She is also proud to be working with Fathers Building Futures , a workforce development initiative for parents who were incarcerated.

Her advice for other small business owners? "Outsource as much work as you can afford so you can focus on things you know very very well."

Photo credit: Gravitate!

SCORE mentors have expertise and practical experience in the business world.

SCORE Albuquerque helps small businesses grow from start-up through maturity by providing lifelong learning opportunities for business owners. Clients develop their own path to small business success by accessing one-on-one mentoring, workshops, Business Owners Councils and a national network of resources. Our team of experienced entrepreneurs, business owners, corporate executives and managers are trained mentors who help clients gain clarity to take the next step. SCORE Albuquerque is a resource partner of the Small Business Administration (SBA) and Central New Mexico Community College (CNM). In New Mexico, SCORE also has chapters in  Santa Fe  and  Las Cruces .