Glenn Boston -The Bedford Journal December 2012

 

The Bedford Journal December 2012
Written: By Loretta Jackson, Staff Writer
 

SCORE member offers free advice to startups

Running your own business is never easy, but some of the bumps in the road can be smoothed out by following the advice of a more seasoned professional. If you’re just starting out in the business world, however, you may not have these kinds of connections.
 
This is where SCORE comes in. A resource partner with the U.S. Small Business Administration made up of retired and working professionals, SCORE offers free mentoring to small businesses throughout the nation.
 
Glenn Boston, a Bedford resident and member of the Merrimack Valley chapter of SCORE, took some time to share what services the organization offers, as well as his personal business background and his advice for struggling entrepreneurs.
 
Here’s part of the conversation:
 
Q: How long have you been involved with SCORE? Have you held any positions within the organization?
 
A: I joined the Merrimack Valley SCORE chapter in 1998 after retiring from 25 years at Digital Equipment Corp. Currently, I chair the Recruiting Committee which, as you can guess, is responsible for finding and training new members. SCORE is a national organization of volunteers who provide free and confidential counseling to small and start-up businesses. Interested in joining? Call me at 471-2838.
 
Q: What prompted you to become involved with SCORE?
 
A: I thoroughly enjoy working with smaller businesses, as they bring excitement and enthusiasm to the community. There are business ideas and concepts I would never have thought are viable, but many are. It, like many volunteer opportunities, gives you chance to give back.
 
Q: Could you share a little about your own business background and experience?
 
A: I spent 25 years at DEC, plus another 10 at technology companies in roles from sales and product management to international subsidiary management. Business aspects of these assignments prepared me for SCORE, but many of our clients need help with the very basics of business operations: “Should I be an LLC?” “Where do I find money?” “Am I eligible for government grants?” “Can I use 1099 contractors?”
 
Q: What are the requirements for a business to be eligible for assistance from SCORE?
 
A: Literally all small and start-up business are eligible for SCORE small business mentoring. We welcome all. Our clients range from preschools, gift shops, auto repair, physical therapists, 
machine shops. Sign up at our website, www.merrimackvalley.score.org.
 
Q: What services does SCORE offer?
 
A: SCORE provides free business mentoring. We counsel, act as a sounding board, review business plans, sometimes offer “tough love” when it’s appropriate.
 
Q: About how many businesses does SCORE assist each year?
 
A: In  2012, our chapter advised 750 new clients, plus hundreds of existing clients, in a mix of face-to-face and online mentoring.
 
Q: Have you seen an increase in businesses seeking SCORE assistance due to the economy?
 
A: We have not seen a major increase in our case load over the last two years, which seems counterintuitive, as the poor economy has placed many folks in situations where self-
employment may seem to be an attractive option.
 
Q: Do you have any advice you can share with businesses that are struggling?
 
A: There is no question that the first few years of a new business are the toughest. The failure rate is high especially in segments like hospitality (restaurants). If a business is struggling, please come to see us. We’ll try to steer you in the right direction, but note that direction may not be “pain-free.”
 
Q: What are the most popular workshops that SCORE offers?
 
A: We offer nine workshops, conducted in a range of locations in southern New Hampshire. They are sponsored by local banks and include “Start Your Own Business,” “Sales and Marketing,” “Quick Books,” “Wow Them With Your Website” and “Tax Workshop for Small Business.” For up-to-date times and registration, readers should go to our website,www.merrimackvalley.score.org. I would encourage all budding entrepreneurs to attend the “Start Your Own Business” workshop.
 
Q: How many volunteers does the chapter have?
 
A: The Merrimack Valley SCORE Chapter has 65 volunteers with a range of industry backgrounds and skills. We can help you get started or help keep your current business successful.