What do you do? 

WolfPoint Group is a manufacturer’s representative, or in some industries we are seen as a broker between the manufacturer and national retailers. We work with manufacturers of any product category—consumer electronics, housewares, health and beauty, and food and beverages, etc.— to launch and grow their products into mass retailers' stores and online. We are contracted to get the products sold and placed into the stores, as well as get the manufacturer integrated into the retailers' portals. The mass retailers include Best Buy, Target, Walmart, Sam’s, UNFI, and Fleet Farm.

In addition to sales and initial implementation, we also provide operations support, marketing, and account management for our clients.

What inspired you to start your business? 

All of the partners with WolfPoint Group were previously buyers and merchants for mass retailers. Over time we learned what was effective and what wasn’t effective in sales and marketing. Because we already knew one another and the timing aligned for us to partner together in order to do better than our previous employers had done, we started WolfPoint Group.

What's special about your business? 

The partners all have a blue-collar background with hands-on experience with large retailers. Collectively, we have a work ethic that is second to none.

We have a detailed vetting process for the manufacturers that we end up representing, which keeps our client count down. This allows us to focus on more resources for those clients versus competitors.

What have been the high and low points of being a business owner? 

The biggest low by far has been navigating the business through COVID. Not only has it been the worst production and logistical challenge we’ve ever experienced, but It’s also frustrating to manage a team of employees working from home who are naturally inclined to collaborate with one another face-to-face. We’ve had to pivot in multiple ways to keep the business moving in a positive direction.

The ironic thing is that the lowest point in the business has also been the highest. One of my proudest moments has been realizing that we have (so far) successfully navigated through the COVID challenges and are showing growth, which was not expected. It shows our flexibility to pivot quickly.

What have you learned from your experiences as a business owner? 

I have learned to expect the unexpected. No matter what you plan, you can’t be arrogant enough to know exactly how you are going to get to the end result. You have to be flexible to find growth.

Also, despite the current situation of working from home, many people do still prefer to work with a team and collaborate in an office.

Someone once told me that instead of saying, “Thank you for your time” to a client or colleague say, “Thank you for the meeting/opportunity/advice”. Everyone’s time is equally important. That has really stuck with me. 

What is your relationship with SCORE? 
SCORE client
What influenced you to seek help from SCORE? 

I was in the process of detangling from previous employer and I called SCORE to ask questions surrounding contracts, finances, payment, and tax issues. Julie Gasper was the person who answered my call.  She was an invaluable resource for me at that time.

When I started WolfPoint Group, I contacted Julie to find out how to organize the business, whether an LLC or S Corporation was more appropriate, as well as get some advice on partnership agreements.

What's great about my mentor? 

Julie Gasper is extremely fact-based. She advised us to what would work and not work. She was very empathetic and very understanding of what we were trying to get done. She was very clear in her advice, and extremely responsive to meeting at times that worked best for our schedules. Julie was an absolute wonder to work with as her skill set matched perfectly for what WolfPoint Group needed at the time.

What advice would you give to someone thinking of starting a small business? 

I would tell them to ask a lot of questions such as, “What else do I need to be doing?” I would advise them to have a strong support group to ask these questions of, outside of family and friends, who will give you the hard, straight answers.  

What would you tell a fellow business owner about SCORE? 

SCORE is a resource that a start-up business should reach out to in order to guide you through the early stages of starting a company. This action will help prevent corrective measures later, which can be much more painful.

Top picture: Partner, CFO, and COO, Michael Sweeney.

Bottom picture: The three partners of WolfPoint Group.