Question: I have been encouraged by another local entrepreneur to seek out a mentor to help develop a viable business strategy. Please tell me what the SCORE organization has to offer my small business?

Answer: According to a recent Forbes article 20% of small businesses fail in their first year, 30% of small businesses fail in their second year, and 50% fail after five years. Also 92% agree that mentors have a direct impact on the growth and survival of their business and 89% who didn’t have a mentor wish that they did.

This was not surprising to those of us at SCORE Naples. Our Naples chapter is comprised of 70 members who are current or retired small business owners, business consultants or former corporate executives. All are dedicated to helping small businesses in Collier County by offering confidential mentoring at no charge. 

During the past year our mentors have worked with over 500 new small businesses and have had over 1200 follow-up sessions with existing clients. What are our results? A few examples:

Design Match is a unique design service that connects homeowners with design professionals that suit them best. Creating a team of professionals and customers that work well together, results in a successful design project. SCORE was able to evaluate the benefit and need of this service, unique to SWFL, and helped them get started. The owner, Lynn Pitochelli, believes that if it wasn’t for SCORE, she wouldn’t have been able to launch Design Match. As a result, she has been building a client base for two years, and has also added a marketing and public relations service to her design team.

Thrive Physical Therapy and Wellness Solutions offers oncology and orthopedic physical therapy services for complex/chronic conditions and wellness consulting. The issues the client faced when she came to SCORE included developing a business plan, budgets, time management, and a growth plan. In the short term, SCORE helped the client to manage her business, measure business performance, and plan for future growth. Over the past five years her business has tripled in size and profitability has increased significantly. She has also become a clinical instructor, educating students who are preparing for graduation from the Doctor of Physical Therapy program at FGCU and the PTA program at Hodges University

L Design Studio is a turnkey interior design business with a focus on kitchen and bathroom remodeling, furniture, window treatment, art accessories, and design build services. SCORE helped to identify the main issues facing the business and assisted with formulating a step-by-step plan to implement solutions. Our assistance allowed the client to hire additional staff and enabled it to grow from one employee/owner to a team of four. It will soon be occupying its first office space. The ability to read and interpret financial statements was critical in this step. As a result, L Design has been able to rapidly expand its volume of work.

 We at SCORE Naples are proud of our record of serving the local Naples business community.
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About the Author: Seymour Burchman is a Managing Director at Semler Brossy Consulting Group and can be reached at sburchman@semlerbrossy.com. Mr. Burchman is also a volunteer with the Naples Chapter of SCORE that offers free and confidential counseling to small businesses. To register, call 239-430-0081 or visit http://naples.score.org/mentors. A counselor will contact you within 48 hours. Please include your name, email address, and contact phone number.