The American dream of owning your own business has become a reality for thousands of entrepreneurs thanks to SCORE, a nationwide, non-profit, counseling organization. Whether you are just curious about a business idea, wanting to start a small business or looking for help with an existing business, there is a local group of successful business mentors waiting to share their knowledge and experience.
The group was originally formed in 1964 as a resource partner with the United States Small Business Administration, whose mission is to help aspiring and existing businesses succeed. SCORE has grown to 389 chapters across the United States with more than 11,000 working and retired executives donating time and expertise. In 2013 alone, SCORE helped create more than 38,000 new businesses and 67,000 new jobs and helped more than 40,000 existing businesses increase revenue. SCORE’s system of free mentoring, workshops and online resources has been a winning combination for those looking to make that commitment.
Grand Strand SCORE was founded in 1984 and remains one of the top 3 chapters nationwide in services provided. They have more than 25 counselors who provide free services locally to about 400 clients per year.
Ken Ashworth is the current chairman of Grand Strand SCORE and is a “Certified Mentor.” “Aspiring and existing entrepreneurs can get free, confidential, business advice from local expert advisors committed to helping them succeed,” says Ashworth. “We assist the client throughout the process while strengthening the relationship.”
There are also community workshops held across the region which address the current business climate with topics such as “How to Survive a Recession” and “How to REALLY Start Your Business.” The free mentoring and workshops are always available, as well as a series of low cost Business Series classes held at Horry-Georgetown Technical College.
“The answers, advice and counseling that my mentor provided cannot be measured in the amount of time and money saved,” said Chris Ochsenbein, former local client and owner of Gator Bait Adventure Tours.
Once a mentor has been selected to meet the specific needs of the client’s area of business, the one-on-one counseling begins. If it is a new start-up, the mentor can confidentially review the business idea and help create a detailed business plan and analysis. If the plan has merit, some of the next steps may be to look at marketing options, growth strategies, finance options or finding legal and CPA services. The only goal of the SCORE mentor is the success of the client, and they do everything in their power to make that success a reality.
SCORE’s mission is simple: “Foster vibrant small business communities through mentoring and education. Our client’s success is our success.” If you would like to find out more about the services SCORE provides, go to GrandStrand.SCORE.org, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or call (800) 634-0245.