Growing a Business

If you are thinking about purchasing a franchise, keep the following 5 tips in mind.

Betty Otte, SCORE Counselor

If you are thinking about purchasing a franchise, keep the following 5 tips in mind.

SCORE to Launch New e-Business Learning Website for Small Business

Tue, 2011-03-22 23:02

Consortium of Public and Private Organizations

In Helping Entrepreneurs Leverage Technology to Fuel Their Growth and Success


National Small Business Week 2011

Mon, 2011-02-14 19:42

National Business Week, May 16-20, recognizes the contributions of small businesses to the economic well-being of America. In 2010, National Business Week will honor the estimated 27.2 million small businesses in America.  Learn more about National Small Business Week 2011.

2011 SCORE Awards Call for Nominations

Mon, 2011-02-14 19:41

Nominations for the 2011 SCORE Awards are now being accepted.  All award winners will be recognized in Washington, DC on September 15, 2011. The deadline to submit nominations is March 15, 2011.

Download the form to apply and get more information on award categories and criteria.

SCORE Mentor Advices Jones Natural Chews Co.

Jones Natural Chews Co. is a manufacturer of natural dog treats with national distribution and international accounts.

My Location
3450 Pyramid Drve
Rockford IL 61109
United States
My Successes

Jones Natural Chews Co. is a manufacturer of natural dog treats with national distribution and international accounts. The management team at Jones Natural Chews Co has been utilizing the business consulting services of SCORE in Rockford, IL since the business relocated to Rockford in the year 2005. We have found the services of SCORE to be an invaluable resource for the business.

What's Great About My Mentor?

Bob Christianson with SCORE has helped us to understand the importance of a written contract-emphasizing the fact that if it is not in the writing, it does not exist. Bob has also helped us to evaluate cash flow and understanding the importance of maximizing assets before an expansion or any other changes.

For Jones Natural Chews Co. it has been extremely helpful to know that we can consult with a professional businessman that has qualified experience and knowledge that we can trust for genuine input. It is also a benefit that his input is an outside perspective, not being biased by internal company factors. We appreciate everything SCORE has done for us and will continue to use their services.

Raising Cane's: 100 Restaurants and Growing

“Talking with SCORE mentors helped build my confidence. They were supportive and believed in my idea." -Todd Graves, Owner of Raising Cane's.

See video
Todd Graves
My Location
Baton Rouge LA
United States
Year Company Formed
My Successes

Todd Graves celebrated the 100th location of his Raising Cane's restaurant chain. When he started his business in 1996, he contacted SCORE for financial and marketing advice. Now one of the food and beverage industry's fastest growing companies, Raising Cane's has become a fast food sensation, due in large part to a menu built around Todd's famous fresh chicken fingers.

Raising Cane's, which now operates 100 restaurants in 14 states, was honored with a 2010 SCORE Award for Outstanding Socially Progressive Small Business for its business success and community support.

Helping the community is an important element to the Raising Cane's philosophy. In 2009, the company gave more than $1 million to the communities that house its restaurants.

Raising Cane's is the recipient of the 2010 SCORE Award for Outstanding Socially-progressive Small Business.

What's Great About My Mentor?

Todd says his mentors’ insights are still valuable, particularly the importance of thorough planning and constantly staying atop all aspects of the business. “It may take you longer to plan ahead, but you’ll be more efficient in the end when you’re likely to be extremely busy,” he says, adding that any aspiring entrepreneur can benefit from working with an experienced SCORE mentor.

“They’re committed to help you be successful, because they understand the value a small business brings to a community,” Todd says. “But they also help you understand what it takes to be a successful business owner. If you’re willing to commit yourself to starting a business, they’ll provide all the encouragement and assistance you need.”

"And unlike all the banks that said no," he adds, "SCORE mentors ere supportive and believed in my idea as much as I did." Realizing that he'd have to raise his own capital, Graves spent a year on a job odyssey that included oil refinery boilermaker and commercial salmon fisherman. Returning to Baton Rouge, he resumed his networking and was soon able to pool his savings with those of investors who were impressed with both his vision and his commitment.

How SCORE Helped
"I saw SCORE as a good way to get real-world experience that would complement what my partner was learning in the classroom," Todd says. "We wanted to create an efficient business plan that would provide a sound base for growth." says Todd.
"I met with several SCORE counselors in 1995 as we were working on our business plan," he adds. "I attended the SCORE one-day seminar on Starting and Managing a Successful Business." Todd worked with several mentors at Baton Rouge SCORE on issues such as financial projections, management issues and marketing. They also encouraged Todd to think through every aspect of his business idea, including some he hadn’t considered.
"Talking with successful businesspeople like the SCORE counselors helped build my confidence, but it also helped me look at challenges realistically,"Todd says. "Running a business is very hard. SCORE challenged me to be ready and know what to expect."
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