Melissa Palfery had been working for seven years as the executive assistance to the CEO of a major non-profit organization. Realizing that advancements in compensation and upward mobility were limited in this field, she decided to look at her professional options. Melissa had also been a territory manager of 15 counties for seven years for another agency, a commission-only insurance sales rep, and an executive assistant for three years in college. In looking at what the common thread was in her success in these roles, it was easy to see it was her organizational skills. Having been in business for herself before in insurance sales, Melissa decided she was going to strike out on her own as a professional organizer and named her business Excellence Organizing.

As part of the preparation for starting her own business, Melissa attended the SCORE Business Planning Bootcamp to enable her to create a roadmap to success. Of the several aspects included in the Bootcamp, the two most important to her were identifying and learning about competition, i.e. companies that were already in the organizing business, and considering the various channels through which to market her new enterprise.

The market for organization has historically been focused on the personal and residential segments in de-cluttering and organizing closets, garages, attics, basements, kitchens, etc. However, Melissa’s SCORE mentor, Tom Kruziki, suggested she look at opportunities in the corporate environment where there are many inefficiencies. On successfully following up with that suggestion, within 9 months of starting her business, fully 50% is now corporate.

A large part of Melissa’s success has been in her high emotional quotient (EQ),that being a considerable degree of sensitivity to the needs of her clients since being disorganized often causes embarrassment. That became a significant edge in enabling her to gain and maintain trust with her clients. Not only does that provide the basis for repeat business with the current client, but also creates references to generate future business.

So what have been the high touchpoints that have Melissa encourages her clients to follow?

1. She helps her commercial clients discover and leverage their top strengths at the organization and then restructures their tasks that are not an efficient use of their time e.g. reducing administrative tasks for the sales force.

2. She helps clients who say “I’m not an organized person” design a system that works for their unique needs instead of a cookie cutter approach

3. Being organized helps limit the chances of buying items the client already owns, therefore saving money. Also, not buying organizational tools such as storage boxes until the area has been de-cluttered.

4. Helps prevent wasting time looking for items the client already owns

5. Protecting important belongings

6. Reducing clutter helps prevent damage on structures such as attics where moisture and rot can accumulate from limited airflow

7. Decluttering prior to selling a home helps prospective buyers envision the use of space for themselves and save money on moving expenses

8. Helps avoid renting unnecessary and expensive storage space

9. Setting families up organizationally to avoid conflict

Tools that Melissa has found useful have included:

1. A thorough interview process to help clients identify and achieve their goals in becoming organized

2. Microsoft OneDrive and OneNote to organize her important documents

3. Quicken for accounting

4. Excel to document time spent with clients

5. Outlook for contact management

6. Labeling to help client clearly identify where items belong once de-cluttered

How SCORE Helped: 

As part of the preparation for starting her own business, Melissa attended the SCORE Business Planning Bootcamp to enable her to create a roadmap to success. Of the several aspects included in the Bootcamp, the two most important to her were identifying and learning about competition, i.e. companies that were already in the organizing business, and considering the various channels through which to market her new enterprise. Melissa’s SCORE mentor, Tom Kruziki, suggested she look at opportunities in the corporate environment where there are many inefficiencies. On successfully following up with that suggestion, within 9 months of starting her business, fully 50% is now corporate.

Excellence Organizing