04 Apr SCORE Builds Small Businesses
Starting your own business and making it big, it’s the American Dream. Trying it on your own and thinking you’ll be an instant success, that is a pipe dream. The statistics are daunting; 80% of businesses fail within the first couple of years, yet most just dive in and blindly give it a shot. Many businesses are started by technicians – someone who is good at something and figures that they can turn their skill into a profitable business. Great cooks open restaurants, hairstylists open beauty shops, etc. But what they seldom realize is that being good at their specialty is only half of the story, the other half is being a good business person.
Creating a business plan, budget and developing a marketing plan may not be as sexy as decorating the restaurant and planning a menu, but starting with the business strategy and tactical plan will greatly improve the chances of success. Finding a mentor, someone who has been there, can make the difference between success and insanity. Friends will encourage you and tell you what you want to hear. Professional mentors will tell you what you need to hear and will share their expertise. That’s where SCORE comes in.
SCORE is a national organization of 10,000 volunteers with 300 chapters across the US to help small businesses grow and succeed. They offer basic and supplemental services including 1:1 mentoring and workshops.
Larry Tucker of Orange County, CA, Board Director at SCORE, explained that the Orange County SCORE has 115 volunteers, including experienced business owners, who offer personal mentoring as requested at various stages of their business’s development and growth. SCORE goes well beyond just supporting new business owners. To help elevate seasoned businesses to the next level, SCORE offers a special program for CEOs of businesses of 1+ million dollars in annual revenue. The Orange County chapter alone offers 8 forums of 10-12 business owners as facilitated business support groups. The forums comprise of a giant melting pot of industries with the greatest difference being primarily whether the companies are B2C or B2B.
The members of the CEO Forums are passionate about improving the performance of their businesses through shared experiences and knowledge. Each CEO Forum group is comprised of 10 – 12 executives from non-competing businesses who meet monthly as an ongoing team. The CEO Forum program includes the monthly, half-day problem-solving and skills development meeting which is facilitated by two SCORE meeting leaders. Each forum is an opportunity for the group to work through their specific business issues using a proven process. Additionally, once a quarter the monthly session will include a two-hour workshop which is led by an expert outside resource speaker based on the group’s collective interests. The CEO Forum meetings are facilitated by SCORE meeting leaders who become integral members of each group. The backgrounds of these leaders include retired senior executives from Fortune 500 firms such as Toyota, Hewlett Packard and Chase Manhattan as well as entrepreneurs who have launched, bought and sold businesses. The CEO Forum program enables business owners to become better leaders, make better decisions and achieve better results through the collaboration and skills training.
SCORE is a nonprofit association dedicated to helping small businesses get off the ground, grow and achieve their goals through education and mentorship. Email mentoring through the national SCORE website ( www.SCORE.org) Orange County SCORE can be reached at (714) 550-7369.