Established business leaders connect with local entrepreneurs
We’re two months into the New Year – how many new businesses are ready to take off and become a success here in Naples?
Many local citizens will follow their dreams of going into business for themselves, so they can best maximize their abilities, fill unmet needs, work for themselves and control their own destiny, and in so doing, make money and an exciting life! Starting and sustaining a successful business, though, requires execution, perseverance and skills – not merely a great idea.
“The true entrepreneur is a doer, not a dreamer.”
If you are a local business owner, or thinking of joining their ranks, consider visiting the “bricks and mortar” office of SCORE, at 900 Goodlette-Frank Road or call them at phone is 239.430.0081.
Visit their expansive and highly informative website at score.naples.org. Whether online or in person, dedicated volunteers, with many different business backgrounds, freely share their wealth of worldly experience and provide guidance to local business owners.
Perhaps you’ve heard of SCORE, or seen their sign, read an article about one of the many workshop offerings, thought about helping, or enrolled in a webinar. SCORE is a nonprofit association with a mission to support and mentor small business owners so that they start off on the right track, continue to grow, and thrive in changing economic conditions. Nationwide statistics bear this out, as SCORE clients boast a 91% success/survival rate, whereas 50% of all new businesses go under within the first five years. Since no one goes into business to join the latter ranks, it’s easy to see why the resources of SCORE should be tapped by any and all future, local entrepreneurs. Indeed, the goal of SCORE Naples is to grow 1000 new small businesses locally.
SCORE has been in Naples since 1988, over a quarter of a century and now, has a second location known as SCORE Naples – Bonita Springs, at the Liles Hotel – Art Cottage #1, 27300 Old 41 Road, Bonita Springs, FL 34135. Today, there are nearly 70 counselors; of these, several are in the workforce still, or semi-retired. The SCORE website reports that the local volunteer counselors represent an astonishing “3000+ years of experience across 62 industries.” And, some counselors, retired from an earlier profession, have taken the community-oriented mission of SCORE to heart, and launched their own new businesses in town. Thus, you may not be surprised to learn that Naples SCORE is among the most active chapters in the United States, and it has been honored many times, receiving national, state and local recognition.
“A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way.”
– John C. Maxwell
If you own and operate a local business, or are thinking of a start-up, well, where do you start? The local office provides a wealth of information to up-and-coming business people, most of it at no charge. After conducting your own research and listening to your heart –
and brain – it then only takes a few moments to peruse the SCORE website and request a faceto-face mentor meeting, or, an email mentor.
Either way, SCORE mentors aspire to “deliver valuable, timely, and practical advice…to open new markets, reach new customers, and achieve new goals.”
Perhaps you’ve already achieved business successes – maybe SCORE can “help” you too. All mentors are volunteers, and, having met with several to write this article, I can attest to their camaraderie and commitment to lifelong learning. They avidly believe in the organization’s mission to help small business owners thrive. For the mentors, volunteer hours are flexible, as mentoring can be done in person, online or even by telephone, from your own home, office, or the SCORE office. Volunteers might also lend a hand to SCORE by assisting with their own nonprofit business needs, which mirror the businesses they serve: in marketing, IT, finance, fundraising, and more.
If you need guidance to launch your business or take an existing company to the next level, there are many upcoming educational workshops “Stand On Your Head Service,” is the first of several this month. You can also have a hand in the organization’s success by attending its inaugural fundraiser. SCORE Naples asks this readership to save the date, Wednesday, March 11 for “SCORE for Goodwill: Together We Will Grow a Vibrant Economy,” beginning at 6 p.m. at the Grey Oaks Country Club. Tickets, $50, include hors d’oeuvres and drinks, entertainment by the Naples Players Improv group, and a silent auction of extraordinary items. The SCORE Naples chapter will use this fundraiser to aid its growing scholarship program for local college students who demonstrate a strong interest in community leadership and entrepreneurship while maintaining good grades.
“Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you, too, can
become great.” – Mark Twain
SCORE Naples promotes greatness by improving the local economy through the lives of its clients, their families, and their businesses. Don’t you want to be a part of that?
Email Karen: NaplesKCC@gmail.com with suggestions for future coverage in this column. Karen thanks Joyce Haag and Ian Wright, active
SCORE Naples counselors, both serving on several SCORE committees, for calling her attention to the upcoming SCORE Naples/Goodwill event as well as the many services offered to the Naples community.