SCORE

Question: I’ve been in business for a few years and now would like to expand what I offer. I’m not sure how best to do this and wonder what SCORE can provide toward this move and how much this will cost. Or, in other words, what can SCORE do for me?

Answer: We are so glad you asked. There are actually three aspects to this answer; one is what SCORE can do for your business, the next is what SCORE can’t do for your business and the third is the cost involved.

First of all, SCORE is a nonprofit association whose organization and its volunteers are dedicated to helping small businesses get off the ground and, once established, to grow and achieve their goals through education and mentorship. SCORE has been providing these services for more than fifty years.

Secondly, what SCORE can’t do is the tangible work. The counselors for Northern Arizona SCORE are located throughout Yavapai, Coconino and Mohave counties. These professionals are both retired and still employed. They will give you guidance, make recommendations and provide support, but they cannot do it for you. If you are looking for someone to make major decisions for your business, or even be involved in the day-to-day operation, then SCORE is not right for you. And, if the business ideas you have are not feasible, then your mentor will not support you in attempting something that will ultimately result in your failure.

However, when you acquire a SCORE mentor you can be assured that he or she will listen carefully to your business ideas, evaluate their implementability and bring in other volunteers, either locally or nationally to support a sound idea.

As far as cost is concerned, because SCORE is supported by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), and thanks to a network of 11,000+ volunteers, SCORE is able to deliver services at either no charge or at a very low cost. There is never a charge for a mentor. Some of the workshops are local and are often combined with services through or supported by other organizations such as Yavapai College, the Cottonwood Business Assistance Center and the Flagstaff Chamber of Commerce to name a few.

Among the things that SCORE provides are:

• Volunteer MENTORS who share their expertise across 62 industries

• Free, confidential business MENTORING in person or via email

• Free business TOOLS, templates and tips either through the local chapter or online

• Inexpensive or free business WORKSHOPS (locally) and webinars (online 24/7)

The first step for growing your business is to sign up online for a mentor. The website to do this is http://northernarizona.score.org. Once on the site, click on the Find A Mentor Button. This is monitored Monday through Friday and your request is evaluated so you can be matched with an appropriate mentor. And it’s important to know that your mentor is not there for a one-time meeting. Mentorship can extend over many years as several of the volunteers for Northern Arizona SCORE have been active for over a decade. It should also be mentioned that the volunteers are given training to keep their skills current. Group mentoring is another aspect of these dedicated volunteers as they are well aware that no one person could have an answer for every situation.

So get started today and find the support you need for that next big step to move your business forward.