Dr. Sonja Biggs is the owner of Sonja Biggs Educational Services (SBES). She has a unique for-profit business that offers educational programs designed for blind and sight impaired students. In California there is a state mandate that schools provide this type of program to help mainstream blind children.
In 2016 when Sonja and her son Brandon Biggs came to SCORE for advice and counsel, they met Mel Weisblatt and other SCORE counselors. At that time the company showed revenues of about $300,000. The company however was losing money. Mel with his expertise in Financing, Banking, Startups, Buying/Selling Business, guided Sonja and Brandon through the procedure to helped the company develop a cross tracking system.
Her CFO is her son Brandon, who himself is blind. This is the main reason she decided to specialize in this type of education. When Brandon was young special schooling was very inadequate. Sonja began to explore the operation from a business standpoint. Sonja with a guideline from SCORE, concentrated on the educational aspect, training her teachers, developing teaching aids and computer programs. Brandon was CFO, head of marketing, and coordinator of scheduling, billing, payroll and everything else.
The state of California sets the hourly amount that SBES is paid and it seemed that company could not make a profit on this. SCORE counselor, Mel Weisblatt with Jerry Rose reviewed the charging practices. In their explorations, they found that the company was not charging for all the preparation time and travel time, which the state allows. This alone made them profitable. The Counselors then helped the company develop a cost tracking system so SBES could correctly capture the hours the employees worked.
Their main competition is the in-house staff at the school districts. By developing a marketing program to show the school systems why it is less costly and more effective to outsource this special education program rather than to keep it in-house.
With an improved marketing program and with a more focused cost accounting system, the company has begun to grow and become profitable. This allows Sonja to develop more educational programs, and to be the main spokesperson for the company.
Sonja was very pleased with her mentors and said, “SCORE helped us operate in a business like way and helped us become profitable. Thank you Mel and Jerry”. SVSCORE wishes all the best to Sonja and Brandon.