A recent session with a new SCORE client got started with an introduction like this:
I had heard about the Small Business Association and the availability of loan guarantees to help me start a business. Through a link on the SBA website, I was directed to SCORE and learned that SCORE volunteers were available to assist me in getting started. I knew about education and believed in the importance of individualized tutoring, but I didnt know the first thing about starting and managing my own business.
This client came to the right place, and the process of moving down the path of starting a business was put in motion.
The Treasure Valley SCORE chapter has served Treasure Valley prospective small-business owners since 1971 and is one of 360 chapters across the U.S.
The chapters roster of volunteers includes businessmen and women who have been or are now successful entrepreneurs, small-business owners, senior corporate executives and experienced professionals. They are ready to put that experience and expertise to work, as they have for business owners and would-be owners in service operations, manufacturing, retailing, consulting, food service, communications and more.
SCORE delivers its counseling services through one-on-one, face-to-face sessions, telephone and e-counseling, workshops and seminars, facilitated roundtables and long-term mentoring.
At an initial session with a client, the SCORE counselor asks the client to describe and explain the business proposition, what the client has done to prepare for starting the business, and whatever specific questions the client would like addressed.
Once the business proposition has been described and the questions identified, the SCORE counselor will provide the client with expert advice on such topics as developing a feasibility analysis, examining the market focus, preparing preliminary financial projections, checking funding requirements and sources, initiating a business plan and determining marketing potential. The strength of the SCORE organization is that SCORE counselors have working knowledge of the business world. Typically, clients who decide to pursue a startup venture will meet with SCORE counselors several times to attempt to dot as many is and cross as many ts as possible prior to startup.
In addition to its own resources, SCORE has partnered with other Treasure Valley service groups and will refer clients to organizations such as the Small Business Development Center, TechHelp, TechConnect, the Boise Public Library, the Idaho Department of Commerce, the Better Business Bureau, META and the Womens Business Center.
Many already-in-business clients meet with SCORE volunteers, too. The No. 1 question asked by existing business owners is How can I attract more customers to my business? In previous articles, I have suggested many approaches to enhance marketing. Periodically SCORE, the SBA and the SBDC have offered workshops on the use of social networks for marketing and sales. Further, for businesses struggling to stay alive in todays economy, both SCORE and SBDC have initiated crisis-management initiatives. We do need to see you early, not the day before you shut your doors.
There is no cost to meet with a SCORE counselor. Be sure to take advantage of the expertise available. You are only a phone call away from an appointment. Call 334-1696.
C. Norman Beckert, Idaho district director for SCORE, the Service Corps of Retired Executives. firstname.lastname@example.org