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SCORE takes a new approach for 2012

Bill Boon

Many local business leaders are familiar with SCORE, a nonprofit association dedicated to providing free education and mentoring to entrepreneurs and small business owners and leaders to start, grow, and succeed in their business. What many don’t think about is that Northern Nevada SCORE faces many of the same challenges that other businesses face: retaining excellent personnel; delivering a high quality product in a competitive and rapidly changing marketplace; and growing our client base in a difficult business environment.

Like all good businesses, we addressed these challenges with serious analysis and solid business planning. During our 2012 planning session we determined that we needed to make significant changes to the way we deliver our products and services if we were going to achieve our goal of being the recognized leader providing information, professional guidance and support to Northern Nevada’s existing, emerging and potential start-up for-profit and non-profit businesses. As with any business change it is not easy, and as a resource partner of the SBA for 40 years, our local SCORE chapter was no different.

While all of the counseling and mentoring provided to SCORE clients is free, the quality of our service must still provide significant value to each and every client. Our one-on-one counseling and mentoring, our workshops, our webinars, and our CEO Roundtables must provide direct benefit to our business clients, helping them build a stronger, more successful business. Being free is not good enough! We need to demonstrate value and provide a positive impact to their bottom line.

As we analyzed the marketplace in which we do business, and the way we serve it, it became clear that a few significant changes were needed. Driving this need for change was the realization that we serve three distinct market segments: existing for-profit businesses; existing non-profit businesses; and entrepreneurs wishing to start up a new business. As a result, Northern Nevada SCORE has reorganized into three operating units to focus on each of the three market segments.

With 45 highly experienced SCORE counselors with extensive business backgrounds, many of whom have successfully started and run their own business, we are now organized so that their specific skills can be matched to each client’s needs. In addition, each operating unit works with clients within their market segment to identify and develop tools, workshop series and programs tailored specifically to the needs of the segment.

Another significant change for Northern Nevada SCORE is in our commitment to working more closely with our partners so that our combined efforts will provide the best support of our local business community. We believe that we can build a stronger economy and reduce local unemployment by strengthen the local small businesses that are the backbone of our economy. For 2012 we are focusing on five key partners: Alliance for Nevada Nonprofits; Northern Nevada Chamber of Commerce; Nevada’s Center for Entrepreneurship and Technology; Nevada Small Business Development Center; and, UNR College of Business.

If you are an existing business in Northern Nevada, or if you want to start a business in Northern Nevada you can contact SCORE 775-784-4436, or visit our Web site at http://www.score-reno.org to schedule a personal counseling session or sign up for one of our workshops. Our experienced counselors can assist you over broad range of industries and across many disciplines such as finance, marketing, sales, manufacturing, engineering, management, and human resources with a special focused on your for-profit, non-profit, and start-up business needs.

We are ready and able to help you with any business problem! Northern Nevada SCORE provides business assistance in several ways including business counseling, onsite meetings, general business workshops and seminars on focused subjects. Our goal is to connect small business owners with the people and information they need to start, grow and maintain their businesses. In addition to our local SCORE mentors, business owners and managers, we also have access to the entire national network of 13,000 SCORE mentors representing a diverse set of industries and specialties, including non-profits thru our e-mail mentoring services. These professionals are experienced entrepreneurs, corporate managers, and executives who enjoy providing business advice.

Being a SCORE mentor is an enjoyable, challenging and rewarding experience. If you are interested in joining SCORE and have the skills and desire to help local businesses excel, consider volunteering your time as a SCORE Counselor. Volunteering at SCORE is a way for you to give back to your community, connect with fellow business owners, and pass on your knowledge and expertise to the next generation of entrepreneurs in your community. Whether you have owned your own small business, come from a Fortune 500 company, retired, college student, and have a sincere commitment for helping small businesses there is a place for you as SCORE volunteer. You can learn more about SCORE at http://www.score.org/volunteer or call 775-784-4436 to schedule a meeting with one of our Counselors today.

Bill Boon is chairman of the Northern Nevada SCORE Chapter and brings a wide range of experience from 30 years in the chemical industry, where he did everything from applied chemical research to leading a chemical business to working to build chemical businesses based on new technologies. Learn more at http://www.score-Reno.org.