Podiatrist Julie Shaheen cares about feet. A lot. And in her six years of keeping her patients’ feet healthy, she discovered a growing public health concern—a number of people were getting infections from nail salon treatments. This inspired her to open Barefoot Medical Spa with her business partner Mary Pat Dolan, in late October, 2018.

The pair met with Seacoast SCORE Mentors Stephen Hershfield and Charles Kirkpatrick for the first time in May of 2017 and continued to meet nine more times over the next 18 months. “Steve and Charlie gave us ‘homework,’ which was really great, Shaheen says, smiling. “They helped us create a polished business plan, do profit and loss statements, and make intelligent projections—all essential to our ability to secure a commercial loan and successfully launch our business,” she adds. In addition to meeting with their Seacoast SCORE mentors, Shaheen and Dolan attended a few SCORE workshops on topics including social media management, finance, and starting a small business.

“Julie and Mary Pat were very organized and obviously very knowledgeable about what they wanted to do,” says Hershfield. “What we did was help them put together the kind of detailed ‘story’ required to secure funding for a start-up business,” he adds. In addition to helping Shaheen and Dolan put together their business plan and financial projections, the mentors guided them on selecting a location for their business, including determining how much rent they could afford to spend per square foot. “From there, we helped them in marketing themselves,”

Shaheen believes SCORE is a big part of her success. “It’s really great to have someone to talk to about the inner workings of running a business. Steve and Charlie have always made themselves available to us. They keep saying, ‘we’re here to help with whatever you need,’ and they mean it. They want us to succeed and we really feel that,” she says, pointing out that the mentoring team even attended their open house in October.