SCORE

Today marks the end of another National Small Business Week, another chance to honor the innovative and enthusiastic small business owners in our country. We hope Americans learned that small businesses bring big rewards to the economy and community.

Do small businesses really matter? 

Yes! In a world of online shopping, apps and instant gratification, small businesses have several advantages. They are poised to provide the best customer service experience, pairing expertise with a personal touch. They can move quickly to react and respond on social media — or be proactive to anticipate clientele needs. And small businesses represent our communities, from small towns to bustling cities. Small business owners seem to spend as much time working in their communities as they do on their business projects.

Inspiration from SCORE success stories

You can find successful businesses all around you. Our own clients serve as shining examples and reminders of why we celebrate Small Business Week. An act of generosity by Julie Weymouth blossomed into a thriving nonprofit that brings joy to military families. Circus performer Gregory May discovered that teens and adults found the same self-esteem and fitness benefits from circus skills classes as the children he expected to cater to. Former pro athlete Luis Elu opened a restaurant as his third career.

These are just a sample of the businesses we see starting and growing all around us at SCORE. What helps these unique ideas succeed? Support from friends and family top the list, of course. A willingness to learn is certainly helpful. And a little resilience goes a long way. Last year, during a particularly difficult business-lending period, we found that 36 percent of small business owners had used personal assets to fund their business. That dedication takes faith and passion.

Another ingredient to the recipe of success

What else helps a lot of small businesses succeed? Mentors! In 2014 alone, SCORE mentors worked with more than 148,800 business owners and entrepreneurs. From your business plan, to financing options, to human resources questions — SCORE mentors have seen it all in their own business experience, and they’re happy to share their knowledge. No question is silly, and no goal is too small. Perhaps best of all, SCORE mentors make excellent business cheerleaders. They’re always excited to celebrate your small business triumphs.

We appreciate all of our hard-working mentors, and we honor one group in particular this Small Business Week: our Canton, Ohio chapter. Being in the top five of SCORE’s chapters last year seemed to encourage the nearly 40 members of the Canton chapter to work even harder. Last year, the Canton chapter helped start 169 new businesses, and in turn, create 324 new jobs. The chapter also doubled the number of client services offered by 2.5 times over the past three years.

You may be far from Ohio, but you can still work with an inspiring, encouraging and knowledgeable SCORE mentor. Become a small business success!