Veterans, Guards, Reservists

Persistent listening is a frequently neglected skill, both in business relationships and personal ones, but it’s crucial for mutual understanding and success. From a business standpoint, persistent listening is empathetically listening to consumers in order to learn about them, understand their sentiments and values, and put that knowledge to productive use. 

By Stephen Monaco

Listening, really listening, is hard. We’re often too preoccupied by our own life situations to devote our full attention to what our spouses, family members, friends, and co-workers have to say, but failing to listen is detrimental to any relationship.

About the Author

Stephen Monaco headshot

Stephen Monaco is an integrated marketing expert, thought leader, innovator, author, and speaker. As a marketing consultant and social business strategist, Monaco advises companies on driving strategies and leveraging digital media to effectively realize business goals. He welcomes anyone to reach out to him on Twitter, LinkedIn, or Google+.  


A checklist to make sure that your customers can find your business through all the available avenues.

If your customers can't find you then your business will fail. This eGuide from Yext and SCORE will help you make sure that you are doing everything to make it easier for your customers, current and future, to find your business. Ensure you have the correct listing on all the available platforms from Yelp! to social media. Download the Location Information Check List and don't get lost.

Small business owners are a practical bunch. So when it comes to digital marketing – websites, search ads, digital banners, email, mobile ads, and others – they approach it with a decidedly practical bent. “Generating leads and sales is very important to us,” says Jack Groot, owner of JP’s Coffee & Espresso Bar in Holland, MI. "Without real traffic and ultimately profit, there is little or no value for us in digital marketing.”

By Daniel Kehrer

About the Author

Daniel KehrerDaniel Kehrer, Founder & Managing Director of BizBest Media Corp., is a nationally-known, award-winning expert on small and local business, start-ups, content marketing, entrepreneurship and social media, with an MBA from UCLA/Anderson. Read more of Daniel's tips at, follow him at and connect on LinkedIn at
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Job growth has been gaining in the private sector for 39 consecutive months. How is that growth is happening? SCORE and Zipcar have put together this infographic to explain exactly how employment and hiring have grown after the recession. Learn how and why businesses are filling new jobs. Find out where companies are looking for quality candidates. Learn the role social media is playing during the hiring process.
Download the 2013 Small Business Employment and Hiring infographic now!


About the Author

Zipcar for BusinessZipcar is the world's leading car sharing network with operations in urban areas and college campuses throughout the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Spain and Austria. Zipcar offers more than 30 makes and models of self-service vehicles by the hour or day to residents and businesses looking for smart, simple and convenient solutions to their urban and campus transportation needs. Zipcar is a subsidiary of Avis Budget Group, Inc. Learn more at

Culinary Kids: Helping Kids Cook with Help from SCORE

Juggling a full-time career as an emergency helicopter pilot and raising 5 boys between the ages of 1 and 8 is a tall order for any family.  Add buying and growing a new business venture to the mix and only the strong will survive.  Sherri and Larry Hansen have done just that, growing Culinary Kids into a thriving business that truly has a positive impact on its community.  From a simple childhood memory of working together in the kitchen alongside her mother and Grandma, Sherri envisioned a place where family and friends could connect over meals—a place where people of all ages and walks of life could participate in the cooking process and experience the traditional values of family and friendships amidst the face pace world we live in.

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Sherri and Larry Hansen
My Location
Mandeville LA
United States
Year Company Formed
My Successes

If anyone knows how to effectively engage and influence children and families, it must be a mother of 5. But, Sherri also brings professional experience as an educator and a former manager of a Boys & Girls Club to the business. 

The mission of Culinary Kids is to connect children and families in the community by creating bonding and learning opportunities exploring the art and science of cooking. The programs teach life, social and academic skills while encouraging creative expression and critical thinking.  The culinary school has become a local favorite for school trips, and the events it  provides for children

Culinary Kids reaches out to and collaborates with many other small businesses in the area, creating partnerships and complementary programs including adult cooking classes with local chefs, fitness programs with gyms and trainers, senior programs with area hospitals and many more joint ventures with businesses that support healthy, positive lifestyles. They also dedicate their time and resources to support local non-profit organizations such as Habitat for Humanity, ACCESS, SOAR and UP21 (all dedicated to assorted special needs populations in the community) as well as local schools and many other fundraising events in the area.

Culinary Kids was chosen in December 2012 as the recipient of the Sam’s Club Holiday Cheer small business grant and training.  Sherri has been recognized by Sophisticated Woman, a popular magazine in the area, as their Enterprising Woman of the Month for July.

What's Great About My Mentor?

Of mentor Mack Deloney, Sherri says, “Our mentor has taken our passion and anxious energies and given us professional focus, helping us achieve our goals. Our business is fueled by our heart, but our mentor helps us see the clear picture of success based on logical principles that allow us to be financially sustainable, thus allowing our passionate programs to grow with direction and purpose. Neither of us as owners possesses the academic or experiential knowledge needed to run a business, so our mentor has helped define our needs and has provided a wealth of support, and advice. Other specialized mentors have filled in those gaps even further, allowing us to succeed. We have increased our efficiency, defined a more clear business plan, and improved our human resources and hiring strategies. We feel supported, knowing that in those moments of excessive stress, there is someone to call who "gets it" and who will be there to coach us through the rough patches. This business would not exist in its expanding form were it not for our mentor's influence and we can't wait to one day serve others in the same capacity!

As a service-based business, providing customized programs for our community, we needed to learn which of our program ideas would succeed and which would not. Naturally, we believed all of our ideas to be fantastic; however, our mentor helped us streamline those programs by evaluating their feasibility and profitability in a very clear fashion. Doing this allowed us to increase our efficiency, save time in program development and decrease the stress placed on staff in these developmental months. We also experienced human resources and staffing issues as our target employees must meet very specific qualifications. Our mentor suggested a human resources expert (also a SCORE volunteer) to assist us in defining our staffing challenges (retention and payroll predictability) and brainstorm ideas on how to re-structure our program offerings to suit both the community AND the staff we wanted to retain. We changed the offerings, created new job descriptions and the energy of our team shifted immediately and became more stable with a clear direction.”

How SCORE Helped

Of SCORE Sherri says, “We sought SCORE support just as we opened our business, knowing that we needed assistance to make it work, but would not be able to afford a hired coach. SCORE was the answer to our challenges and we truly would not be here without this support. We are dedicated to spreading the word about what SCORE has done for us and we continue to recommend these services to other business owners in our community.”

Steve Strauss, founder of, tells why the "reply all" option on your email may be dangerous and how to use it carefully.

Steve Strauss headshot After going back and forth trying to get an answer about a potential big gig from a very busy guy named James, a good friend of mine decided he needed some help. So he tried to shoot me an email, wanting my feedback as to what he should do next.

But instead of forwarding his correspondence with James to me, my friend mistakenly hit the dreaded “reply all” button:

About the Author

Steven D. Strauss is a lawyer and writer and is one of the country's leading experts on small business as well as an international business speaker. The best-selling author of 17 books, his latest is the all-new 3rd ed. of The Small Business Bible. You can listen to his weekly podcast, Small Business Success Powered by Greatland, visit his new website for the self-employed, TheSelfEmployed, follow him on Twitter, and "like" TheSelfEmployed on Facebook. You can e-mail Steve at: © Steven D. Strauss

Oh, how we all wish we knew the secrets to getting your business’s website to the top of search engine results. Yes, you can pay for the right to be on top, and I’m not saying that isn’t worth trying if your budget allows, but that’s getting ahead of myself. Every entrepreneur has his or her own SEO battle story, and the methods that work for one company don’t always work for another. That said, here are some guidelines to get you started:


By Rieva Lesonsky

Oh, how we all wish we knew the secrets to getting your business’s website to the top of search engine results. Yes, you can pay for the right to be on top, and I’m not saying that isn’t worth trying if your budget allows, but that’s getting ahead of myself. Every entrepreneur has his or her own SEO battle story, and the methods that work for one company don’t always work for another. That said, here are some guidelines to get you started:

About the Author

Rieva Lesonsky headshotRieva Lesonsky is CEO of GrowBiz Media, a media company that helps entrepreneurs start and grow their businesses. Follow Rieva at and visit her blog at

Visit her website SmallBizTrendCast to get the scoop on business trends and sign up for Rieva’s free TrendCast reports.

Whether you are a newly minted entrepreneur or you’re a business that has been around for a dozen years, a critical element for small business success means knowing your numbers. Sponsored by Visa, This e-guide is designed to help you better understand what figures and accounting principles are important for your business. It also looks at different accounting software programs for your company and when is the right time to hire someone to keep your business growing.

Five Important Benefits

With improved knowledge of your company’s financial situation come numerous benefits for you as the owner. Here are five important benefits that come from being financially savvy about your business.

       I have a business that sells equestrian supplies both retail and online. I’d like to begin using social media as a marketing tool, but I’m clueless as to how to begin. How do I go about developing a social media strategy?



About the Author

       This column is brought to you by the Merrimack Valley Chapter of SCORE, with nearly 70 current and former business executives available to provide free, confidential, one-on-one business mentoring and training workshops for area businesses. Call 603-666-7561 or visit for information on mentoring, upcoming workshops and volunteer opportunities. SCORE is a national, non-profit organization and a resource partner of the U. S. Small Business Administration.
       Have a question you’d like answered in this column? E-mail it to, with “Ask SCORE” in the subject line.

In the era of information overload, consumers are bombarded with thousands of marketing messages every day. A logo on a T-shirt, a radio ad, or a TV commercial may not stay in a consumer’s mind very long because the next wave of advertising messages is a few seconds away.

Consumers have adapted to ignore newspaper ads, and they instinctively change the radio station when their music is interrupted by local promotions. The change in the way consumers react to marketing messages has forced brands to reconsider using traditional media.

By Chuck Cohn

About the Author

Chuck Cohn is the Founder and CEO of Varsity Tutors, a tutoring company with 1,900 tutors that provides services including ACT tutoring in 19 metro areas. In 2007, while he was a student at Washington University in St. Louis, Cohn recognized that two of his best friends would make perfect tutors: they were brilliant, friendly, and could explain difficult concepts better than any tutor he had ever had. Cohn founded Varsity Tutors and hired his two brilliant friends as the first two tutors. The feedback he received from parents was outstanding and so he began hiring other extremely talented individuals who had the communication and technical skills necessary to be amazing tutors.

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