Many people have the dream of running their own successful company. With popular TV shows like “Shark Tank,” more and more individuals are exploring the idea of how create their own business. One of the main obstacles for entrepreneurs is how to get started. The lack of knowledge is enough to steer many people away from their dream. Luckily, there’s a great resource available right in Ann Arbor to ease your fears, boost your knowledge, and get you started on the right path to success. That resource is made up of hard working volunteers who have years of great business experience under their belts, and make up the organization that is simply known as SCORE.
Current talked with the Terry Grover (SCORE Assistant District Director for the state of Michigan Region) at The NEW Center Building in Ann Arbor, on how SCORE can help you start a small business.
SCORE stands for “Service Core of Retired Executives” or “Service Core of Real Experience,” as Grover likes to say. Established in 1964 as a subset of the Small Business Administration, SCORE has 400 chapters and 14,000 volunteers throughout the country that mentor about 300,000 small businesses each year. The mission of SCORE is to mentor and counsel small business and entrepreneurs. “We help with anything to do with starting and running a small business,” said Grover.
SCORE Ann Arbor
The Ann Arbor chapter of SCORE has 22 mentors available to help entrepreneurs and small businesses. “We have a full toolbox of mentoring capabilities to serve anyone seeking guidance. Attorneys, CPA’s, Bankers, CEO’s, and Large Scale Managers are some of our mentors,” said Grover. “All of our sessions are confidential one-on-one, and there is never a charge or a limitation on visits.”
In addition to offering one-on-one sessions with a client, Grover states that SCORE, “offers workshops related to all aspects of business.” Some of the topics covered in SCORE workshops include Website and Social Media, Accounting, Financials, Marketing, and Business Planning. Many of the workshops are free, although some have a small charge.
One success story
Grover talked about a client he has been working with who provides polygraph services. “She first came to see me when she was in the startup phase of her business. We helped her create a great website. After months of business mentoring to develop a strong business plan, she has a thriving business. She recently was awarded a five year contract with the state of Michigan. The client is very thankful to SCORE for helping her achieve her goals.”
Reaching out to the community
Score is expanding its reach into the community with the goal of increasing brand recognition, so more people are aware of all the resources that are available to them. “We’re reaching out to college classrooms, the mayor office, and business leaders,” said Grover. “We want to include things like agriculture, cottage industries, and have a broader range of potential clients.”
Grover highlighted a recent partnership as an example of his organization’s expanded outreach; “We are going to offer a workshop series at Washtenaw Community College for their Culinary Arts Program. The plan is to advise new chefs on how to start their own business, whether that’s opening their own restaurant, food truck, or food cart.”
Words of Wisdom
I asked Grover what his advice would be to anyone who plans on being an entrepreneur and starting a business.
“Come see us first before you make any bad business decisions,” he said. “We’ll get you on the right track, and there is no cost to you. We are here, and we’re available to help you!”
Go to annarborscore.com and book an appointment.
SCORE does request that you book the appointment through the website.
Mentoring sessions are available Monday through Friday from 9am-5pm.
Ann Arbor SCORE is located inside the NEW Center Building, 1100 N. Main St., Suite 109.