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Small Business Tour Hits the Road, Offers Strategies

One-on-one speed coaching and problem-solving workshops will help small businesses hit the ground running when the "Small Business Speed Growth" multicity tour launches later this month.

The tour is designed to provide small business owners with educational and coaching programs to help them identify new opportunities and develop strategies for business growth.

Program partners SCORE and American Express OPEN said the program broadens the previous "Small Business Coaching Test Drive" event series. The new program couples popular one-on-one speed coaching with problem-solving workshops that focus on areas that directly affect small business growth, including effective marketing and business finances.

“The new ‘Small Business High Speed Growth’ series takes the most beneficial portion from the old program and combines it with an expanded agenda including instructive workshops and interactive sessions focused predominantly on business growth,” said Ken Yancey, SCORE chief executive officer. SCORE mentors American small businesses.

For the first time since 2006, growth has surpassed survival as the No. 1 priority for entrepreneurs, according to the American Express OPEN Small Business Monitor, a semiannual survey of business owners. Offering further evidence that the current recovery may be real, more than one-third of business owners in the most recent survey said they plan to hire , the highest level since 2008.

“Small business owners are survivors having held on through uncertain economic times and are now, more than ever, ready to grow and expand their businesses,” said Karen-Michelle Mirko, director of customer advocacy at American Express OPEN. “These growth-focused entrepreneurs require increased support from trusted partners who can lend their expertise on key business issues.”

The 2011 series kicks off in Washington, D.C., on May 9 and then travels to Minneapolis/St. Paul; Portland, Maine; Orange County, Calif.; and New York City.