As a business owner you come to realize that just getting started was maybe not the hardest part of running a business, but only the beginning of what you need to learn. At our house, we refer to Cybervise as our baby. Our baby is now a 5-year-old and issues continue to change and grow as our child does.
But I have a graduate degree in Computer Science, not business. So how am supposed to know everything that the 5-year-old needs, when really I am a new business parent myself?
There is help available, an untapped resource right in your community. And the best part, it’s FREE.
Yes, I said FREE, and even better, its always free.
Cybervise has had the pleasure of working with the local SCORE chapter for the past four years. Not only are we a SCORE client, tapping into their business advice on a regular basis, but we also help facilitate their website workshops for business owners.
SCORE stands for the “Service Core of Retired Executives” and there are chapters around the country. Here in Cincinnati, we are fortunate to have a very active chapter, usually ranked in the top three in the country. You can find the nearest SCORE chapter to you by going to the national site at www.score.org.
Traditionally SCORE counselors worked with start-up businesses to help them work through the steps to get up and running. But lately, we have seen a lot of existing businesses show up at the workshops and I think existing business owners can gain a lot from their help.
Here is how it works:
- Go to the website of your local score chapter and sign-up for counseling.
- When filling out the form, my recommendation is to be specific. Mention some specific problems you are having, this will help your chapter match you with the right person.
- You will be contacted by a counselor to schedule a meeting. You will be assigned a main counselor, but typically many counselors will attend your session, based on the expertise needed to solve your problem.
- The sessions are “free and forever”. There is no charge and you can go for as long and often as you need.
- Expect homework. They will give you a to-do list and then schedule a time to follow-up on your list. I find this very helpful. The tasks I am given are usually related to business-owner/strategy activities, which sometimes get lost in the everyday schedule of serving clients. Having this accountability helps me move the business forward even when I am busy.
- They want you to benefit from this. If you don’t gel with your counselor or stopped going because of a bad experience, give it another try. It’s OK to request a new counselor, they want you to get the help you need.
Can you really argue with free business advice from people who have already been through where you are? Put this on your to-do list today and feel free to share any stories you have about working with SCORE counselors.