SCORE used to stand for the Service Corps of Retired Executives. These days, SCORE has a new name – SCORE: Counselors to America’s Small Business – and it is focused on helping small-business owners keep up with ever-changing technology.
Ken Yancey, the chief executive of SCORE , tells BusinessNewsDaily about his nonprofit group's recent launch of the e-Business Now website, how SCORE is changing and how its mentors are willing, at no charge, to help your business change, too.
BusinessNewsDaily: What is e-Business Now?
Ken Yancey: The e-Business Now program is another powerful tool in SCORE’s toolbox to help small businesses. The e-Business Now workshops, website and regional events are all designed to assist small-business owners leverage the power of technology to help their businesses grow. SCORE will make technology mentors available to small-business owners at their local chapters. So, in that way, e-Business Now will be run through SCORE just like any other SCORE program. However, what makes this program so unique is the tremendous technology resources that went into its creation and the continued access for small-business owners to the e-Business Now founding partners in a purely educational relationship.
BND: Do you feel enough business owners know about SCORE?
Yancey: Our goal is to help grow 1,000,000 small businesses by 2017. We need to continue to expand our reach to let all entrepreneurs and small-business owners know about SCORE so that we can provide them with free one-on-one advice to help them succeed. SCORE offers small-business owners such incredible resources through our volunteers and our educational programs. We won’t be satisfied until every U.S. small-business owner and entrepreneur hears about us and the assistance that we can provide.
BND: What kinds of experts do you offer them?
Yancey: All of our mentors are chosen according to strict guidelines and personally interviewed before being accepted. Each of our SCORE mentors has taken the SCORE five-step business counseling course, and they each have business experience and expertise, along with a desire to share their knowledge with small-business owners. Our SCORE mentors have over 600 skills areas to help small businesses develop and grow.
BND: How involved do your advisors get with business owners? Is it usually one session, or do they form ongoing relationships?
Yancey: Our SCORE mentors get as involved as the small-business owner wishes. It’s the small-business owner who sets the pace and requests assistance with certain issues. Research has shown that longer-term mentoring results in greater success by the client, so we encourage all of our clients to stay in touch with any questions, ideas, etc., that they may have. We make sure our clients get the best advice they can, sometimes referring them to additional SCORE mentors with specific business expertise to assist with their area-specific issue. SCORE’s goal is to provide small businesses with the support and guidance needed to help them succeed, in whichever form this may take.
BND: What’s next for SCORE?
Yancey: SCORE is extremely proud of the many upcoming developments that will further our mission. At SCORE, we understand that each small business is unique and each of their needs may vary. However, we also know that certain business commonalities exist and that providing easy-to-understand, practical and valuable how-to information for small-business owners is an extremely valuable service. For this reason, one focus for the future is to develop more educational programs to benefit the small-business community. Another area that we are actively pursuing is the creation of private/public partnerships with industry experts.
The e-Business Now program is a great example of the incredible benefits that these partnerships offer small-business owners. The marriage of private industry’s tremendous resources with SCORE’s small-business expertise offers small-business owners incredible access to programs and resources that they might not normally be able to afford. SCORE’s American Express Speed Coaching Events is another great example of the powerful impact these partnerships have on small-business growth. We have plans for several more of these types of partnerships and programs.