Welcome to SCORE's Orange County Patch blog. We look forward to connecting with budding entrepreneurs, small business owners, and retired executives who are as passionate as we are about helping grow small businesses, which are so vital to our economy.
For those of you unfamiliar with SCORE, let me start with a little background. SCORE is a national organization created in 1964 as a resource partner to the U.S. Small Business Association. SCORE originally stood for “Service Corps of Retired Executives,” but today we like to informally add “Service Corps of Retired Executives and Entrepreneurs” because so many of our members are former entrepreneurs.
Our Orange County Chapter currently has more than 100 unpaid volunteer members from every industry and walk of life imaginable, but they all have one thing in common: a passion for helping entrepreneurs and small business people succeed. In fact, corny as it may sound, helping facilitate that success is literally the only reward they’re interested in. You’ll find this particularly hard to believe once you read about the services we provide—most of which are free!
These services include:
- Mentoring: For entrepreneurs launching a start-up or growing an existing business we offer face-to-face, one hour mentoring sessions—at no cost—at 16 different locations throughout Orange County. SCORE mentors, who are retired experts in areas such as manufacturing, marketing, sales, accounting, human resources and facility leasing, will meet with you as frequently as necessary to define your challenges and opportunities, and help you determine the best solutions for each. Last year we had nearly 5,000 one-to-one client sessions—that's the equivalent of almost 15 per day, seven days a week!
- Advisory Boards: For more established businesses we’ll mobilize a team of SCORE experts to serve as your mentors in all of the areas identified as challenges and opportunities after a “full needs assessment visit” done by yours truly. You see, I’ll come to your facility and meet with you personally to determine how we can help you. You might tell me that your biggest challenge is sales, but after meeting we might decide that you also need support in the area of human resources or facility leasing as well. This, too, is free—all we ask in return is: a.) that you be responsive to phone calls and e-mails from your assigned mentors, and b.) that you do your best to make yourself available for the subsequent meetings that will take place there at your office or facility, and c.) that you’re willing to act on the suggestions they offer, provided of course—in your sole judgment—they’re right for your business.
- CEO Forums: These are peer-to-peer membership groups for business owners and CEOs of existing small to mid-size businesses. Participating CEOs meet monthly with an invaluable brain trust of fellow CEOs/business owners and two SCORE facilitators to swap ideas and successes, advice and solutions, all in a confidential setting. The discussions range from the practical (how to survive a cash-flow crisis) to the urgent (how to fire a key leader who isn’t performing). The $120 monthly fee covers the cost of breakfasts, lunches and room rentals associated with the program.
- Workshops: Need basic legal advice for your small business? Want to know how to start a social media campaign? Maybe you just need a brush-up
on Quick Books? Look no further than SCORE, where we hold about 250 workshops a year on just about every small business topic you can imagine. I’m proud to say that our speakers are among the finest in the area, our workshops are held at 14 different locations throughout the county, and most are free! Last year we had 9,800 attendees at our workshops, some of which were standing room only. For a complete, up-to-date list, please visit our website.
- Women in Business Breakfast Series: Every other month women who own small to medium sized businesses come together for a SCORE-hosted breakfast where they can network, share ideas and learn from other successful business women. The breakfast features a keynote speaker and
an exhibit area where business women can buy space to exhibit their company’s products and services. It’s a great networking opportunity.
- Business Library: Why search unfamiliar websites to locate a good business-plan template when we have a professional plan sitting on our website? The SCORE library has pages and pages of business templates and educational reading materials available for free.
In future blog posts you’ll hear from a number of SCORE volunteers who will discuss a variety of topics related to our services and events. And I’ll be writing more posts myself. In the meantime I’d like to end this first entry by making a few points:
To make an appointment with a SCORE mentor, or inquire about various services, please call (714) 550-7369. Or you can visit our website at score114.org.
Secondly, if you’re retired but still interested in staying involved in the business world and perhaps mentoring the next Donald Trump or Rachael Ray, then we need you at SCORE. You can apply through our website.
Lastly, we plan to end our blogs with a business tip, so please consider this: If you’re starting a business, step one is research. Determine that you have a product or service people will buy!
SCORE—Orange County, CA