Even if you aren’t a small business owner, you probably know the impact of small businesses in your community. More than half of Americans either own or work for a small business!
May is an exciting month for SCORE since we celebrate Small Business Month and National Small Business Week April 30 through May 6.
As we appreciate the contributions of small businesses to our economy this month, we are proud of the impact SCORE mentors have on our small business clients.
SCORE volunteer mentors helped clients create 54,000 new businesses in fiscal year 2016, adding 79,000 new jobs to the labor force.
We’re also proud of established businesses. Ninety-six percent of SCORE’s clients who were operational for more than a year when they came to SCORE in fiscal 2016 are still in business.
Those clients represent the diversity of America’s small business owners. Fifty-eight percent of SCORE’s fiscal year 2016 clients were women; 35 percent were minorities, and 11 percent were veterans.
SCORE clients are as unique as their business ideas
Each SCORE client tells their own small-business success story.
Shari O’Rourke’s hobby of creating photo books for friends and family grew into a business last year. While she started by focusing on creating keepsake photo books, she’s responded to customer requests by adding services to include saving digital versions of beloved photos. Her photo-scanning service has even grown to become the largest part of her business, That Photo Book Girl.
Her new endeavor has allowed her to offer professional services while still being able to check out at a reasonable hour to pick up her kids from school in her home of Cedar Rapids, Iowa. She also makes time to attend SCORE online webinars to pick up new skills she can apply to her business model.
Meanwhile, in Portland, Maine, Jodi Breau retired early from her career as a school librarian so she could work on her idea: developing a more sustainable dental floss product. She started working with volunteer SCORE mentor Alan Shaver in 2014 to discuss her idea and her research. Just last month, her product, Dental Lace, started to appear on shelves of Portland-area stores.
In North Carolina, Francois Kerckhof shares his favorite food from his European origins, Belgian-style waffles, with his new neighbors. Not only did Kerckhof have to navigate the legal issues of opening his business, Belgian Waffle Crafters, mentor Chris Exton also provided guidance during the immigration process.
The key to small business success: mentorship
We couldn’t do it without our dedicated volunteers, who donated 2.2 million hours to their chapters last year.
Blake Baysinger had only been volunteering with Wichita SCORE for a few months before seeing his clients benefit from mentoring. “The biggest value SCORE offers is the brain trust,” he says. “It’s just a matter of asking for the help, and sometimes that’s the hardest thing to do.”
Are you ready to be a successful small business owner? Whether you’re just getting started, or you feel stuck in your established business, it’s never too late to seek guidance from a SCORE mentor. It’s free!