Q: In a recent column you suggested that SCORE can help with a makeover of a small business. How do they go about doing that?
A: That column suggested that small business owners may be “too close” to their issues, so, it is often necessary to get an independent, objective review of your business by experts who’ve seen or done it before.
SCORE has a service called the SMART Squad which can provide an objective review of your small business or help with critical problems you may be struggling with. SCORE, “Counselors to America’s Small Business,” is a volunteer association with counselors who are experienced in virtually every aspect of business management.
“S.M.A.R.T.” is an acronym which stands for SCORE Mentoring And Resource Team. It is a free and confidential service for owners and/or CEOs of existing businesses. Businesses may opt to work with the SMART Squad in the form of a “Business Wellness Checkup” or may need more immediate, critical assistance with important issues like employee turnover, competing in your market place or preparing an exit strategy. The ultimate aim is to help small businesses succeed.
Initially a lead counselor will meet with the owner or manager responsible for the full operation of the business. Then one or more SCORE counselors with the experience necessary to address your specific opportunities or issues will work with you and your people at your location. SCORE has worked on a variety of projects of varying lengths and complexities.
The SMART Squad can help you become more focused and effective, increase bottom line profits by increasing revenues and reducing costs, or secure funding to grow, restructure or survive.
They go about it by first assessing your needs. An in-depth study of your financial, operational, and sales functions is performed leading to improvement recommendations. Finally an action plan is developed jointly with you. Then you have a free management consultant who is knowledgeable in your business and can act as a sounding board or a troubleshooter.
The SMART Squad will work with the owner or person in charge of the full operation of the business. The typical client will have been in business for more than one year, have an established office rather than a home office, and have revenues that exceed $100,000 per year.
Learn more about SCORE and the SMART Squad by visiting www.scorehouston.org where you also can request assistance.