Do you have one of the many businesses in Northern Arizona that are classified as a “small business”?
According to an article on the Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council website, a small business is any business that has fewer than 500 employees. And, in fact, American business is overwhelmingly small business.
In 2012, according to U.S. Census Bureau data, there were 5.73 million employer firms in the U.S. Firms with fewer than 500 workers accounted for 99.7 percent of those businesses, and businesses with less than 20 workers made up 89.6 percent. Add in the number of non-employer businesses – there were 23.0 million in 2013 – then the share of U.S. businesses with less than 20 workers increases to 97.9 percent.
If you are among these numbers, or are planning on becoming one of America’s small businesses, where do you go and who do you talk to when you need sound advice? This is where SCORE’s volunteers come in. These are people who have successfully worked through the steps of launching, establishing and growing a business. They are people who will meet with you, help you find solutions and talk through whatever issues you are grappling with.
And who are these people? They are your neighbors, your friends, your customers and most importantly, they are citizens of your community. The Northern Arizona SCORE chapter has some amazingly talented and accomplished folks, some retired and some, Like Anne Wenzel, CPA, and current chapter President, who are still operating their businesses.
The breadth of careers of the members is both impressive and comprehensive. Although certainly, no chapter can cover everything, but the good news is that the counselors can tap into the nationwide resources of SCORE – and all that is free to SCORE clients. Some of the areas of expertise covered by the volunteers in this chapter include Accounting, Aerospace, Assistant Professor, Author, Banking, Business Administration, Business Consulting, Business Expansion, Corporate Ombudsman, Customer Service, Distribution, Hospitality, Human Resources, Lodging, Marketing, Military Careers, Nuclear Power Industry, Patents, Personnel Security, Photographer, Pilot, Product Development, Retail, Risk Management, Sales, SBA Loans, Social Media, Technology, Telecommunications, Tourism, Travel, and Women’s sportswear.
Although the chapter is headquartered in Prescott, volunteers live and work in and around Flagstaff, Sedona, Cottonwood and Kingman, as well as in Prescott and Prescott Valley. The counselors devote their time and energy to helping clients succeed and in turn the counselors are able to keep abreast of changes in their areas of expertise and return the favors of helping other as they were assisted in achieving their own successes. SCORE provides training for the counselors and offers resources that assists the counselors to assist their clients.
Among the many accomplishments this chapter has attained are helping a local art company acquire international customers; working through the complicated requirements so a disabled veteran could have that designation for his business; and making a success out of opening and operating a second-hand store. These are only three of the many businesses that have benefitted over the years by working with the SCORE counselors.
How this works is that when a person contacts SCORE they are matched as closely as possible with a counselor whose expertise meshes with the needs of the business. Whatever niche a business is venturing into, there will be someone to provide guidance. And – this frequently means that two or more of the counselors will work with a client to cover the necessary categories. The major requirement of anyone seeking this assistance is that they are self-starters and willing to do the work required to either open or expand their business. Having these mentors means that a window is opened to shine a light on potential issues that can be circumvented if necessary or enhanced to bring about greater success.
The Northern Arizona business community is encouraged to contact this chapter to either volunteer their services or to take advantage of the opportunities of working with a SCORE counselor.