SCORE Counselors Help Small Businesses Get Off the Ground

Can a geology major open an insurance company?  Barbara Winston did it, but says her success is thanks to the expert help she got from SCORE.  “I don’t know how I would have continued through the roadblocks,” said Winston, CEO of Executive Insurance Group in Jackson Township, now in its 33rd year.

Winston has come full circle, from mentee to mentor for SCORE.  “I believe in giving back, paying it forward. I’m so passionate about entrepreneurs, I spend 3 to 4 hours a week counseling,” she said. Winston said the specialized backgrounds of the SCORE counselors, from engineering to law to accounting, ensures that no matter what problem is presented, there is someone on call who can solve that problem.

In addition to helping entrepreneurs hoping to launch a business, SCORE works with newer small businesses who have hit a snag. Cassel Bear, a branding, graphic design and marketing firm in Canton, had been operational for several years when “efficiency problems” prompted owner Karl Bear to contact SCORE.

“We hit that stage where we needed some outside expertise,” Bear said. “We went for financial advice, as well as operations advice. They are a good sounding board. Each person we met with had a different background. We met someone who ran their own business, and a comptroller for another company. They shed a lot of light on our problems.”

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