Note: Some of the formatting became awkward, so try to read as best you can.
I wrote an article about my recent experiences with SCORE, and would like to share it, as well as leave it open for comments and suggestions.
The Service Corps of Retired Executives
SCORE Website: http://score.org
By: Dan Luria (commencenow.com)
Date: August 1st, 2004
Table Of Contents
Chapter 1: Introduction
Section A) What is SCORE?
Section B) What do YOU need?
Chapter 2: SCORE Personal Sessions
Chapter 3: SCORE Seminars
Chapter 4: References and More Information
This article is geared toward people in the United States looking for help in starting their own small business, or with certain aspects of an already established one.
: What is SCORE?
SCORE is an acronym for 'The Service Corps of Retired Executives.' In short, it consists of former business owners and entrepreneurs (such as yourself!) who are here to help YOU. They specialize in everything from general business knowledge, to taxes, to marketing, and any other field you could think of. Best of all, they're volunteers--that means they help you, free! Along with this, there are personal sessions, seminars, and a plethora of reference material available at each chapter. To note, SCORE has chapters in every state!
: What do YOU need?
Before reading on, you should assess what you need, and whether or not SCORE can help you. Most people go to SCORE because they want to start a business, and need either general help or tips on receiving financing. This is not all they can help with, though! While they provide a robust amount of knowledge for people coming into the business, they can also help with current ones--focusing your thoughts, networking, marketing--anything which could possibly cause you trouble. If you feel motivated toward reading on, SCORE can definitely help you, and more importantly--your business.
SCORE offers personal sessions between you and a counselor. You call their office, tell them what you need help with, and they tell you available counselors and times. You sign up for an hour-session, and go on that date. The best part is, you can return as many times as you want!
When I went to my first one, I drove twenty minutes out to their office, went to the second floor, and proceeded to their receptionist. She had me fill out a form about myself and business, which would be used during the session and be kept on file. It took about five minutes to complete, and I returned it to her. After a few minutes, I was led into an office. Behind the desk were two friendly SCORE counselors, who introduces themselves and continued on, asking a little about myself and business. When they asked what exactly I needed help with, I told them marketing--however, I was open to any type of suggestions. They said it would be best to go over general information to make sure everything about the business already was set, then I could come back if need be. We went over many different topics, all of which proved helpful. I would highly recommend these sessions.
While in my personal session, one of the counselors recommended I attend a seminar. The seminar would run from around nine AM to four PM, the schedule as follows:
| 08:45 - Registration |
| 09:00 - First Speaker |
| 10:00 - Coffee Break |
| 10:20 - Second Speaker |
| 11:20 - Third Speaker |
| 12:20 - Lunch |
| 01:00 - Fourth Speaker |
| 02:00 - Break |
| 02:20 - Fifth Speaker |
| 03:00 - Sixth Speaker |
The traffic was heavy and I arrived around five of nine. There was a form to fill out which took roughly ten minutes, and I completed it just as the first speaker began. We were required to pay $30, however, were given informational CD-ROMs, and a 300+ page book with an abundance of related information. It alone was worth more than $30. The first speaker talked about general business information. We then broke for coffee, where I talked with the people around me. I cannot stress enough that this is a great way to network--I made three clients during the course of the seminar from just talking with them. As the break ended, two more speakers came in, each talking about their relative fields. Normally, lunch is served in the same building, but the cafeteria was closed, so we all broke to fast-food places. Wendy's for me.
When we returned, the first speaker spent an hour discussing legal entities, getting sued, and a lot of very important issues regarding it. The next speaker, whom I had talked to during my personal session, went over taxes (even he said that it would be a 'slow' hour). The final speaker detailed booking. He explained a lot of his experiences as an accountant, with some personal examples of how he did booking for a man who worked from a mediocre Cape Cod home. He also mentioned that his client was worth $146 million, and went into detail about how you don't need to live nice to be successful.
The seminar concluded, and, looking back, was extremely helpful to me as a whole.
References and More Information
Each SCORE chapter has their own site. For example, the one for the chapter I went to was Score56.org. You can find a lot of helpful information on their local and main sites.
SCORE is a partner of the U.S. Small Business Administration, so you can expect to see them in the same buildings as the SBA, as well as the phone receptionist mentioning them.
I hope this has helped give you a brief taste of what SCORE has to offer, and encouraged you to go look at it for yourself!