By Peg Corwin
Meet Mike Lepley, owner of The Adoption Lantern and Featured Business Owner at SCORE Chicago this week. Learn more about his business and what tips he has for your success.
What is your company’s elevator pitch?
The Adoption Lantern guides people through domestic infant adoption, typically enabling them to adopt an infant in under twelve months. We work with adoptive families across the United States and are their consultant throughout the domestic adoption process.
Who are your clients, and give an example of how you served that person or business?
Our clients are prospective adoptive families across the United States who are looking to adopt. Many of them have been suffering from infertility for years and are hoping to adopt an infant.
My wife and I adopted our two children. We went into domestic adoption pretty naively – searching the Internet and attending local seminars. We discovered that the adoption process was ripe for streamlining and reducing risks and costs. There are very few players in the adoption industry that are dedicated advocates for the adoptive family! The Adoption Lantern serves their needs and brings forward a unique streamlined and safer process for adoption.
As an example of serving a client, The Adoption Lantern is currently working with a couple who was pursuing adoption on their own. Before using us, they were linked up with a birthmother. It turned out that she was linked with multiple prospective families at the same time and ended up scamming the families out of a lot of money. Now, as our clients, we provide this adoptive couple a detailed risk assessment for every adoption situation to identify red flags. We’ve also put together an individualized adoption plan that is aligned with their adoption goals.
What is your most successful sales strategy? What works to bring you business?
As consultants, credibility is paramount. In addition to exceeding expectations with our clients, we leverage things like referrals, YouTube video, badges on our website, our blog and social media content, and our advocacy of adoption-related causes. These strategies help send positive credibility clues to our prospective clients.
Who is your mentor and how has he or she helped you in your business?
My mentor is Mark Lieberman He has a knack for re-focusing us on the “big picture” items that are important. For example, we were getting wrapped around some minutia related to the statutory aspects of our industry. He then asked us: how many pages of statutes have you read? My answer was 800 pages for Illinois alone. He gently suggested that we didn’t need to read more statutes, re-cuing us to the fact that the marketing side of our business was likely where the bigger challenges were. We absolutely wouldn’t be where we are today without Mark’s help.
What advice would you give other entrepreneurs?
My advice would be: embrace your inner “taskmaster.” Setup your channels for consuming important information (Google Alerts, blog subscriptions, etc.). Then, when you get relevant tidbits that you don’t have time to process now, make a prioritized task out of it in your business’s master task list. I’m constantly amazed at how much stuff is only mildly interesting now that becomes important later when the time is right.
What is your website for further info?
Web address: www.TheAdoptionLantern.com
Facebook page: www.Facebook.com/TheAdoptionLantern
Twitter page: www.Twitter.com/AdoptionLantern
Our business mentors can help you, too!
Disclaimer: SCORE Chicago helps small business owners manage and grow their businesses. We help startups write business plans and launch. Nevertheless, our involvement should not be considered as an endorsement.