Written by CMG News Contributor, Doug Carleton
One of the many difficulties in owning a small business is that the owner often has no one to really talk to about problems or ideas or strategies or other – except their mirror which generally just stares back offering absolutely no help. But there is at least one source of help that not enough small business owners know about, and that is SCORE.
SCORE was created by the SBA in 1964 as the Service Corps of Retired Executives. At some point in the past someone at SCORE must have gone to a branding seminar and decided that the name was too long to squeeze onto a business card so it became SCORE. But the mission has always been to help small businesses start and grow. There are approximately 10,000 SCORE mentors around the country in over 300 chapters. I have been a SCORE mentor since 2011. We will work with clients for as long as they need us and there is never any charge. It’s a remarkable organization.
SCORE is a nonprofit and all mentors are volunteers with significant senior executive and business ownership experience in a broad variety of disciplines including marketing, finance, management, logistics and many more. Mentors often work in teams if there is a need. There have been two occasions where four of us have worked with one client at the same time in several meetings. There was never any charge. Mentors are trained in counseling techniques and adhere to a strict code of ethics against any potential conflicts of interest and all mentoring is completely confidential.
Education is also one of SCORE’s primary missions. Each month there are educational programs given including an all-day workshop on how to start a small business and evening workshops targeted to existing businesses and covering a wide range of important and timely topics. There is a small charge for workshops.For more information, visit Richmond SCORE’s website at www.richmondscore.org.
You don’t have to talk to just your mirror.
This blog entry is a slightly edited excerpt from Doug Carleton's 'The Daily Life Of A Small Business Owner' series. Doug is a mentor with SCORE, Startup Virginia, and Lighthouse Labs, and has 25+ years of experience in small business finance including 12 years in SBA lending. To contact Doug directly, please email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.