Small Businesses, SCORE and The SCORE Foundation
Listen in as Josh Smith chats with Ken Yancey, President & CEO, SCORE and Mark Dobosz, Executive Director, The SCORE Foundation on the topic of small businesses. To listen to the show, go to www.biztalkwithjosh.com/radio.html, and select "#22. Biz Talk 05_05_11.mp3" in the Jukebox on the left hand side of the page.
Kiplinger, May 2011
Kiplinger lists SCORE as one of the helpful resources for women business owners in the Fast-Growing Small Businesses Led by Women slideshow. Read more.
Published May. 13, 2011
Handbook for Small Business - Comprehensive Guide to Starting and Managing a Business on Cape Cod & the Islands - available exclusively from Cape Cod SCORE
Handbook for Small Business
The “Handbook for Small Business” is available exclusively from Cape Cod SCORE and is offered as a valuable resource to enhance your Mentoring Sessions and Workshops. Please consult your SCORE Mentor for details.
New Client-Focused Website, Brand and Mentor Training Program Will
Leverage SCORE’s Success – Grow 1 Million Successful Small Businesses By 2017
…Skip the Social Media Hype
Social media hype has hit epic proportions. The promise of its ability to make a success of even the shabbiest business model is everywhere. Business owners are no longer asking, “Should I run an ad in the newspaper or on Google?” They want to know, “Should I be on Facebook or LinkedIn?”
Discussion forums have been around a long time – so long that they may be overlooked for their power in connecting and networking. So first a little review on discussion forum terms and structure:
Picture this: a determined young woman from the Midwest comes to New York City to make it big in the world of filmmaking. Through her talent, dedication and hard work, she turns her dream into a small business that grows into a successful enterprise. The story closes with the young woman starting the cameras rolling on the set of her first feature film, with nothing but opportunity ahead.
Sound like the perfect feel-good movie plot? It’s actually the story of April Patrick, who has turned her childhood dream into an up-and-coming company called April Films.
Inspired by filmmakers Spike Lee and Oliver Stone, the Omaha native enrolled in New York University to study film production. After completing her master’s degree and gaining experience through various internships and media projects, she decided to get serious about growing her own film company. On the advice of her mother, herself a former small business owner, April contacted the New York City SCORE Chapter and began shaping her business plan with the assistance of volunteer mentor Harry Lowenstein.
April Films was just getting off the ground when the tragedies of September 11th intervened. One of the outcomes was a drastic change in business relationships that forced April to quickly close gaps in her production capabilities. Using her SCORE-based business plan, April applied for and won $20,000 from the Miller Urban Entrepreneurs Business Grant Competition. The funds allowed her to invest in state-of-the art equipment and accelerate April Films’ marketing program.
What's Great About My Mentor?
“Though I was confident in my technical skills, I was so naïve about business that I believed people would just seek me out and give me work,” April recalls. “Harry helped me make the connection between what it takes to start a business, and what’s needed to make it grow.”
April also worked with volunteer mentors Alvin Roselin and Al Korn, both of whom had vast experience in the media industry. Says April, “They mentored me in what Al calls ‘business therapy.’ Rather than telling me what to do, they provide guidance in deciding where to seek information and what questions to ask.”
How SCORE Helped
“The grant and SCORE enabled me to expand my network,” April says. “Along with pitching ideas to networks, we’ve stepped up our work producing electronic press kits and videos for the music industry. The revenue is just what we need to begin work on our first feature film next spring.”
With April Films on the verge of even bigger opportunities, April continues to visit her SCORE mentors for advice and guidance. “They are great mentors and great people,” April says. “SCORE is a big reason why April Films has made it this far, and why we’re on the verge of making some major leaps.”
Teddi Ritchie liked her job and she liked the company she worked for. She never dreamed that one day she would own it. But when the owners of Semiconductor Circuits Inc. (SCI) planned to close down the electronics manufacturing plant where she had worked for 21 years, Teddi set out to do just that. "I had two choices," she recalls. "I could either look for gainful employment elsewhere, or go through the system and try to buy the company. We had good people, good products, and our customers liked us. If there was ever a place worth saving, this was it."
Making the leap from materials manager to business owner would not be easy. Teddi's experience was in purchasing, not finance, and preparing a business plan for such a huge purchase would require extensive information and up-front analysis. However, Teddi knew her company well. Although she would have to keep her plans confidential, she was eager to give it a try. But time was of the essence. SCI's current owners couldn't wait forever, and Teddi still had her "day job" to think about.
For several weeks, Teddi worked well into the wee hours of the morning developing the business plan that would ultimately save SCI. The formidable task became increasingly frustrating because many of her resources didn't always provide the right answers. About three-quarters of the way through, Teddi realized that she needed to talk to somebody. The question was: who? That’s when Teddi reached out to SCORE.
The first bank Teddi approached was intrigued by her plan, but suggested that she explore getting assistance from the state. Teddi eventually received a bank loan and state-backed financing from a local economic development authority. The deal was closed on a Friday in December 1998. The following Monday, Teddi walked into Semiconductor Circuits as the new owner and CEO.
Teddi's first steps were to make some long-overdue policy changes. She implemented flexible work schedules and production incentive programs, and encouraged more employee involvement in setting operations and management goals. These and other moves resulted in a more engaged workforce and a healthier balance sheet. SCI was projected to make $2.5 million during Ritchie's first year of ownership. After the first nine months, the company was on track to earn $4.2 million, with the promise of even better times to come. Semiconductor Circuits also added five new employees to its payroll in the month's following Ritchie's purchase.
"We're achieving these wonderful results because we're focusing on the business," Teddi explains. "The previous owner had pretty much given up on us because we amounted to only 1 percent of a billion-dollar company. By being more flexible, our employees are motivated to do their best work, which allows us to produce a better product. Now, our old owners are one of our customers."
What's Great About My Mentor?
While scanning the Internet for help, Teddi discovered the U.S. Small Business Administration's (SBA) Web site, which in turn led her to SCORE's homepage. She contacted the local chapter and within a few days received a call from Shep Bartlett, a former owner of a furniture business. Shep met Teddi at the local library and reviewed the still-evolving business plan. "Shep was just the person I'd been looking for," Teddi says. "He understood my objectives and answered all my questions, making sure I understood each topic before we moved on to the next area. With his help, I was ready to present my business plan to the banks."
Teddi doesn't plan to rest on her laurels. She still meets regularly with Shep to discuss business opportunities and ways to keep SCI growing. "He's a great advisor and a wonderful person," she says.
How SCORE Helped
“I didn’t want to spend the rest of my life asking ‘what if.’ I believed in myself and in the ability of my fellow employees to make this dream succeed. But I couldn’t have done it without the help of Shep Bartlett and SCORE.” says Teddi Richie.