Amber Grant Application Critique: HEART Mobile CPR
September 2nd 2020
Shawna Bobst, RN’s Amber Grant application for HEART Mobile CPR is a great example of a business that evolved from side hustle to full-fledged business. There is no question that there is demand at some level for CPR training in her area, however, there were some missing pieces of information that kept Shawna out of the running for an Amber Grant.
To help Shawn improve her odds of winning a grant – Amber Grant or otherwise – the WomensNet advisory board went back through her application to point out the strengths and weaknesses of the information she provided.
Here is the application as submitted:
Tell us about your business or business idea…
I started HEART mobile CPR in 2018 to give everyone the opportunity to learn how to save a life. It started as a small business I was doing on the side a long with my nursing position. I never really thought about it becoming a real business, just something to do. As time went on I started getting calls to come do classes for corporations like Owens Corning, Lennox HVAC, and other corporations and I started to think wow, I may have a good business idea here. With the amazing growth I quickly became an authorized training site through AHA in 2019. I was able to then start training individuals to be trainers. At this time I have 38 amazing women on my team. We are making connections throughout the state of Ohio and making an impact on others lives. I feel like we are family, we have spa days, dinners, and what we call instructor POW WOWs.
At this time I would like to see the business grow in other ways now as well.
For several years I have had connections with human trafficking organizations. I have held fundraisers and collected purses/backpacks filled with much needed items for the woman and children. Seeing these woman overcome as survivors is amazing and I would like to do more. I have been putting things into place to be in a position to offer these woman employment and mentoring on becoming trainers and growing their own business. My goal is to be more than just a company that teaches others how to save lives through CPR but also changing lives for woman.
Tell us what you would do with the money if awarded a grant…
If HEART Mobile CPR was to be awarded the money I would be utilizing it to purchase more equipment such as manakins, BVMs, AEDs, face shields, office equipment. This would help to ensure every trainer has the necessary equipment to conduct a successful class. Many things need to be in place to have this to run smoothly not only the equipment but the marketing and websites as well to make the connections needed to get clients. This money would be utilized to change the lives of others in many ways.
Thank you for your time and attention and consideration to award HEART Mobile CPR the Amber Grant.
As a nurse, Shawna has a great background for a healthcare-related business. She has the training and connections within the medical community that should help attract clients and she is obviously qualified to provide CPR training services (becoming an authorized trainer in 2019 was also a big win).
She does well explaining her business, her services, and how the business came to be — originating organically due to community need. A customer-driven company is always better than trying to introduce a new product or service that people aren’t sure they want. In this case, there is demand for CPR training, which is a big positive for this application.
What comes through loud and clear in her application is her passion for saving lives. She wants to improve her community and prevent unnecessary deaths by training more people in the use of CPR. It’s a noble cause and she’s obviously committed, all of which is good. We know she’s all in.
She’s also doing a great job of networking and leveraging past successes to attract more potential clients. Her existing client relationships with major corporations gives her immediate credibility that should make attracting new clients easier.
Opportunities for improvement
Although it’s clear what HEART Mobile CPR provides in the way of services, there is no information about how the company makes money. What do customers pay for training services? What kind of expenses does the company have? How are team members paid? What are the profit margins? What is the geographic radius that the company serves? These questions are essential for any grant committee to have answered in order to gauge the viability of the business. That is, is it profitable and is it making enough money to survive and grow? That’s unclear here.
Another area where Shawna could elaborate is on the company’s marketing strategy. How will she connect with organizations that may want to bring in CPR training? There is a website, which is good for businesses searching for CPR training in her area, but what kind of outreach is being done? Is she active on social media, is she using direct mail to area companies, is she pursuing publicity – we don’t know.
The planned support for human trafficking survivors is noble and a terrific idea, but it’s not directly related to providing CPR training, so it wouldn’t be a factor in judging the application. It would be better to use that space to talk about how the business will be operated. Such as whether there are expansion plans for the company and what needs to happen for those to be implemented? For example, will there need to be a certain number of training requests per month or quarter before HEART Mobile decides to set up a site there?
Shawna has the skills and experience to run a thriving business – and she may be already. However, without any financial information at all, it was hard to know whether the company was profitable or struggling. Adding statistics like sales growth from the last couple of years, or projected revenue for 2020, would be a big help to grant evaluators.
Shawn’s got a great start and we hope she reapplies with some more detail.