Washington (PRESS RELEASE – December 9, 2010) – A new Gallup survey shows that SCORE “Counselors to America’s Small Business” is proving to be an effective business counseling resource for thousands of clients, providing them with valuable materials to help launch new businesses and maintain existing ventures. Through its free program with volunteer business experts, SCORE mentored nearly 180,000 aspiring and current small business owners in 2009.
The survey illustrates that 61.8% of clients surveyed said that they changed their current business strategies after meeting with SCORE counselors. Clients found their counselors exhibited a high level of professionalism, listened and communicated well, and were knowledgeable about current management practices and issues.
Prior to working with SCORE, 30.8% of clients surveyed were considering starting a new business, 35.5% were in the process of starting a new business and 33.7% were already running a business. After completing SCORE’s mentoring program, nearly 70% were in business.
“Given that small businesses are the backbone of our economy, their success is more important than ever right now,” says Ken Yancey, CEO of SCORE. “By offering a range of critical expertise, from business plans and marketing strategies to financial projections and leveraging social media tools, we are able to fill a huge need and help entrepreneurs successfully navigate a host of issues that can overwhelm even the most resilient among us.”
Notable success stories include:
Patriot Taxiway (Lomira, WI): Kevin McDermott and Steven Smits originally intended to operate a small company producing aviation lighting systems. Attending meetings at their local SCORE chapter, Kevin and Steven met with Milwaukee counselor Joan Burke, and they were given checklists to understand what it takes to start a small business and to understand what they’d be up against. SCORE also paired the Patriot Taxiway team with counselors who understood the federal contracting process. Only 20 months into operations, the company was awarded a $7.7 million contract from the Air Force to supply lighting at 28 bases. According to McDermott, “It was the knowledge gained during SCORE’s ‘Starting a Business Program’ that was the pivotal point in the company’s path.”
Raising Cane’s (Baton Rouge, LA): This year, Todd Graves celebrated the opening of the 100th location of his Raising Cane’s restaurant chain. When he started his business in 1996, he contacted SCORE for financial and marketing advice. Now one of the food and beverage industry’s fastest growing companies, Raising Cane’s has become a fast food sensation. “Talking with successful businesspeople like the SCORE counselors helped build my confidence, but it also helped me look at challenges realistically,” Todd says. “Running a business is very hard. SCORE challenged me to be ready and know what to expect. And unlike all the banks that said no, SCORE counselors were supportive and believed in my idea as much as I did.”
Kingston’s Candy Co (Ventura County, CA): Everyone told this aspiring business owner she was crazy to try to open a candy store in this economy but SCORE got her started and now the family business is growing. A second store is set to open in Santa Barbara. “Before I went to SCORE,” says owner Holly Thrasher, “I didn’t have the slightest clue what the financial end of business looked like and frankly it scared me to death. But SCORE helped me get my business off the ground.”
O.K. Golf (Charleston, SC): John Walton saw an opportunity to bring his experience mentoring and teaching golf to young people to the community. With the help of a SCORE mentor, John and his business partner, Steve Conrad, are now engaging elementary school children in an after-school enrichment program centered on the lessons of golf. “We went to SCORE seminars on start-ups, marketing and business plans. My SCORE mentors gave me a realistic look at what’s needed. They were very helpful and continue to be.”
SCORE and its partner Constant Contact engaged Gallup to conduct a census survey of all SCORE mentoring clients. 10,831 responded via telephone and web from April 28-June 28, 2010. Total client revenue, business creation, and job creation numbers were calculated via straight-line extrapolation from the survey respondents to the total number of 2009 SCORE clients. Since 2008, SCORE and Constant Contact have partnered to provide small business owners with the expert knowledge, training and resources needed to succeed and help “drive the engine” of America’s economy.
Since 1964, SCORE has helped more than 9 million aspiring entrepreneurs. Each year, SCORE provides small business mentoring and workshops to more than 375,000 new and growing small businesses. More than 13,000 business experts volunteer as mentors in 354 chapters serving local communities with entrepreneur education to help grow 1 million small businesses. For more information about starting or operating a small business, call 1-800/634-0245 for the SCORE chapter nearest you.
About Constant Contact, Inc.
Constant Contact’s email marketing, social media marketing, event marketing, and online survey tools help small organizations grow their businesses by building stronger customer relationships. More than 400,000 small businesses, nonprofit organizations, and member associations worldwide rely on Constant Contact’s easy-to-use; affordable online tools to create and deliver personalized, professional communications that engage casual customers, members, prospects, and passionate customers wherever they congregate online — from their email inboxes to their social networks. All Constant Contact products come with unmatched education, training and personal coaching services, and award-winning technical support. Founded in 1995, Constant Contact is a publicly traded company (Nasdaq: CTCT) with offices in Waltham, Massachusetts; Loveland, Colorado; Delray, Florida; and San Francisco, California.