SCORE counseling helps small businesses

By Felicia Whatley - Staff Writer
South Windsor - posted Fri., May. 25, 2012
Cheryl Newton receives SCORE counseling from Mark Cutler. Courtesy photo. - Contributed Photo

SCORE mentors deliver free, confidential advice for many businesses’ needs. Whether you are a start-up or an existing business that needs a boost, their experienced mentors can help small businesses reach customers and achieve their goals.

South Windsor SCORE Chamber of Commerce member Mark Cutler manages 50 volunteer business counselors around the state who help start-up companies or business people looking for guidance for growth.

Cheryl Newton said, “It seems like yesterday when I first visited my local Chamber of Commerce to ask some basic questions about filing my LLC paperwork. They suggested I meet the two mentors from SCORE who provide free business mentoring in the community. I set up a meeting the next day, and I met Jim Cirilli and Mark Cutler.”

Newton, who has her own architectural design firm, said, “As a mother of two boys and an active volunteer in the community, people always ask, ‘How are you managing to start and operate a successful business at this time of your life?’” She said, “I tell them about SCORE, and I tell them that on my team is an army of experienced people who volunteer their time and who have been there and done that and help me discover the right ways to grow my business and grow it profitably.”

Newton added, “My business is successfully growing rapidly, and I truly thank Mark and Jim for giving me all the encouragement, support and honest feedback that every solo‚Äźpreneur needs to hear. They give me energy to take the next steps and confidence that I'm moving in the right direction.”

“Anyone can come to the Chamber of Commerce and see what we have to offer. It is confidential and non-compete,” said Cutler.

Because their work is supported by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), and they have a network of more than 13,000 volunteers, they can deliver their services at no charge. “My business is still growing and I am still relying upon Mark and the Greater Hartford SCORE team, my army of specialists I can call upon during my time of need, as I myself continue to grow, too,” said Newton.

“I am still out there telling the world about SCORE. In any business, the greatest compliments come from those clients who have referred their friends and family.” Newton said, “Over the last year, I have referred six of my friends and associates to SCORE. It’s the best compliment I can give.

Cutler said, “We are giving back to the community through helping companies by getting out there and educating them for free.”

There are 364 SCORE chapters that hold events and workshops locally across the U.S. and its territories, and match up entrepreneurs with local, volunteer mentors.

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