For Immediate Release
ActiveForever finds solutions for success with help from Score
The entrepreneurial spirit is alive and well at ActiveForever, a Scottsdale-based firm offering product solutions for physical conditions and daily living aids. The outgrowth of a buyout in 2003, the company's owners, Erika Feinberg and her husband Larry Fugleberg, have taken their enterprise to new heights, first changing the name and then expanding its product line, distribution facilities, and marketing outreach.
Armed with a background in business administration and strategic planning, Erika serves as the company's president, primarily leading the management and marketing effort, while Larry utilizes his extensive engineering/computer experience to provide needed technical support. "Our key focus is to build the company on the basis of service and understanding," Erika emphasizes. You can really get the idea in the way our team members answer the phones: "Thank you for calling ActiveForever; how can we make your life easier today?"
To find solutions for their own success, Erika and Larry solicited the advice of the Service Corps of Retired Executives (SCORE), the resource arm of the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). The couple's relationship with SCORE began in August 2003, when SCORE counselors Marty Robbins and Richard Stover met with Erika and Larry to provide ideas on merchandising and organization and layout of their showroom.
"This dynamic couple," Richard Stover relates, "was eager to meet with SCORE to learn how to best build the company that they had just acquired into a more dynamic marketing-oriented company. SCORE's Marty Robbins was able to provide very specific merchandising and inventory recommendations for the company to move forward."
ActiveForever provides the convenience of one-stop shopping for both retail and wholesale clients, offering more than 10,000 life-enhancing products that address almost all physical and clinical needs for independent living. The company, which has more than 170 suppliers, continuously researches and develops products to offer to individuals with physical challenges, disabilities, illnesses and injuries, as well as to those who just need a "helping hand."
"In all cases," Erika explains, "we strive to be highly competitive, providing the highest quality and best pricing on items designed to enhance the quality of life of our customers. We offer attractive pricing guarantees and same-day shipping as standard services. Our products range from aids for daily living, such as durable medical equipment, wheelchairs and scooters, bath safety items, low-vision aids and pain- relieving devices, to ergonomic workplace solutions, water- and land-based rehabilitation exercise equipment and home modification and safety items."
Internet sales at www.ActiveForever.com, phone orders at 1-800-377-8033 and consumer catalog sales have been major contributors to the company's very substantial growth rate since inception. Providing additional sales support has been the company's Discovery Center-Interactive Retail Store located in Scottsdale, Arizona, which also serves as the distribution center for mail orders and the place where the functioning of products is demonstrated.
"Because we are a solutions-oriented company, 40 percent of our sales are to repeat customers," Erika states enthusiastically. "In addition to individuals, our market has broadened to include doctors, pharmacies, assisted- and skilled-nursing facilities, churches and temples, and corporations, among others. We not only enjoy the purchases these groups make, but we enjoy their many referrals, as well! Since we have chosen to stay away from insurance billing, we are not a regulated business. This gives us a special niche in the marketplace."
"Our first meeting with SCORE was during our infancy stage," Erika comments. "We have since heeded some of the memorable and frank advice provided by Marty Robbins and Richard Stover, our SCORE counselors. Because of our rapid growth, our needs are much different in nature now that we are further along, so we will be looking to them for further assistance."
SCORE is a national association of volunteer business counselors. It provides hard-hitting business workshops and free, one-on-one counseling to business owners and start-ups. Sponsored by the U.S. Small Business Administration, SCORE has six chapters in Arizona.
With regard to alliances, ActiveForever already has a close alliance with Abbott Laboratories, which is designed to help solidify a very positive relationship between this pharmaceutical company and the consumer. To help meet this goal, the two companies have produced Grasp!, a consumer catalog of products for easier living for those with rheumatoid arthritis. ActiveForever also works through other channels, such as ScriptSave, MedNet Benefits and Humana.
In addition, ActiveForever has developed alliance business partnerships with several local organizations, such as Arizona Assisted Living Federation of America and Arizona Health Care Association. "Our company is very community focused," Erika stresses. "We are supporting organizations like the Arthritis Foundation and Muhammad Ali Parkinson Research Center at the Barrow Neurological Institute. In doing so, we get to know the community, hear its frustrations and customize our product offerings accordingly."
Interviewed recently by The Wall Street Transcript, Erika was asked, "As you look at your business today, where do you see the biggest opportunities for the company over the next two to three years?" Erika responded, in part, as follows: "The biggest opportunities for ActiveForever over the next two to three years would very, very clearly be continuing to partner with very large condition-specific, health-related organizations, such as pharmaceutical companies."
To help find ways to build their alliances, as well as to find solutions for greater market penetration, product diversity and organization, Erika and Larry plan to regularly seek SCORE's advice.
"We never want our relationship with SCORE to end." stresses Erika. "As retired or semi-retired, upper-management executives from major corporations worldwide or as very successful private business entrepreneurs, we believe SCORE can be of great assistance to us. The fact that SCORE counselors have many years of high-quality business experience assures us of obtaining information and help based upon real-world understanding of market demands and how to bring our business to the next level."
The Phoenix chapter of SCORE, which has assisted ActiveForever, has over sixty counselors, all widely experienced in a great variety of industries. For more information, call SCORE at 602.745.7250, or visit them on the Internet at www.scorearizona.org/phoenix.
Prepared by Dan Klingenberg, Phoenix, SCORE Chapter 105, February 20, 2005.