business or expanding an existing one can be a daunting task for
even the most seasoned veterans. There are logistics, marketing and
financial decisions that can overwhelm an individual.
however, have a resource, SCORE, whose members provide resources to
navigate the business climate and provide insights into the process.
“It started some
time ago in an effort for the SBA (Small Business Administration) to
assist their business clients to be more successful,” said Marcia
Theusch, one of the organization’s mentors. “We are a subset of the
SBA. We are national, in all 50 states, with at least eight chapters
statistics that Theusch offered, in 2016, mentors provided more than
300,000 individualized mentoring sessions nationwide and served
almost 240,000 clients.
They also advise
clients on several aspects of the business life cycle. About 32
percent inquired about starting a business. Another 28 percent were
in the process for starting a business, and 37 percent were already
garnered a strong reputation among entrepreneurs for the services
they offer, the strength of which is the mentorship program where
advisors assist clients with their business ideas.
“Most of them
have owned a small business or they have worked in a management
level at a large business,” Theusch said of the mentors.
Curt Laetz, a
certified mentor, was a corporate executive, purchased a small
business and started a consulting firm.
mandatory training sessions for prospective mentors before advising
clients. Some are concerned with ethics while others are designed to
maintain the quality of the mentoring session. Toward the latter
part of the training, they advise clients along with a mentor who
has already undergone training and mentored clients.
“There is 90
days before you are certified,” Laetz said. “You have to co-mentor.
You have to go to a meeting. You have to various things. There is a
mentor for the new person who gets a chance how they do with someone
sessions are complimentary and can be individualized to the needs of
the client. Some require assistance with a specific task while
others will develop a relationship with their mentors throughout the
entire process of starting a business.
“One of the
things I typically get questions on is the financial part,” Laetz
said. Others will offer a business idea and receive feedback from
Aside from the
individualized mentoring, members offer time dedicated to a specific
topic or provide an opportunity for individuals to ask specific
questions regarding their venture. There is a fee to attend the
sessions. Some are focused on accounting the QuickBooks, the
accounting software that most establishments use to track the
revenues and expenses.
There are others
related to marketing, including social media strategy and digital
marketing trends. The staple of the workshops, however, is a
multipart module that has become a requirement for anyone who wants
to start a business.
there are small businesses who are looking for financing,” Laetz
said. “They are looking to grow. If someone is going to loan them
money, they want to see a business plan and they (entrepreneurs)
haven’t written one.”
importance, members of the organization offer a series for writing
different aspects of the business plan, from marketing and market
research to analyzing the competition and the financials.
There are also
sessions where the public can receive advice and feedback for their
“It is a good
program,” Laetz said. “Who wouldn’t want to do this?”