St. Louis Bi-State Region
FINDING SCORE ST. LOUIS AND ADVANCING CAUSES CLOSETO MY HEART
A s a part of SCORE St. Louis’ of seeing many of the amazing things SCORE is doing. It’s been a wonderful journey of meeting amazing people and seeing the organization’s impact in many different ways. Before coming to SCORE St. Louis, I was a business owner for 14 years. It wasn’t until my business was under contract to be sold, though, that I saw an article about SCORE in a local business journal.While reading about this incredible organization and the mentoring they provide to business owners, all I could think was, “How did I not know about this sooner?” It wasn’t until several months later that the timing became clear. After selling my company, I took a few months to enjoy my newfound free time. Quickly, though, I craved stimulation. I started volunteering for some very worthwhile local organizations that needed help with tasks like stuffing envelopes. While I believed in the causes, it wasn’t quite the stimulating work I’d hoped for. It was then that I remembered SCORE. I applied as a volunteer and was put in charge of membership, and I’ve been volunteering here ever since. Serving with SCORE St. Louis has been a great way for me to share my expertise and help other people and businesses become successful too.The outstanding business coaching we provide at no cost is something we pride ourselves on.We work with startups and businesses at various stages, whether they’re executive committee for the last four years and the membership chair for the last year, I’ve had the privilege
just getting started, looking for sustainable growth, or just want to get some insight about marketing.To facilitate these programs, we’re always looking for volunteers who’ve run their own business or who’ve been at an executive management level for someone else’s business. What I’ve come to value about SCORE are the many ways someone can become involved. It’s not just for folks who are retired.While our business mentoring is our primary service, we also have several local partnerships that provide opportunities for people looking to volunteer at the end of their workday or on weekends.
exactly where our business expertise becomes a strength.You don’t need to know the technical aspects of the subject to coach someone on business.At the end of the day, a business plan is a business plan, and it’s a skill we can share with these talented students. We’re also providing mentorship to individuals through Inner City Capital Connections (ICCC), a national organization run through Regions Bank that provides training and mentorship to disadvantaged business owners who are looking to achieve sustainable growth.WEPOWER is another nonprofit organization we’re proud to partner with.WEPOWER focuses on mentorship and training for black and Latinx business owners, and we provide mentors to their program. It’s an honor to support and further the great initiatives Sling, ICCC, andWEPOWER are championing.All three have strong structures in place but need volunteers to come in and mentor their participants.A lot of these programs run outside of traditional business hours and provide the perfect volunteer opportunity for those who want to give back while they’re still working. If you are interested in learning more and sharing your business expertise through SCORE St. Louis, please reach out! I’d love to hear from you.
SCORE St. Louis has been a great way for me to share my expertise and help other people and businesses become successful too.
Three of our local partnerships speak to the reach and impact of SCORE St. Louis in our community. One of these is a student- led biotechnology incubator facilitated by Washington University called Sling Health STL.We’re providing mentorship to teams of students at Sling who are developing innovative solutions to clinical problems. Initially, some of our SCORE mentors were intimidated by the medical and engineering students they would be working with. But that’s
– Tina O’Toole
The Most Difficult Aspect of Owning Any Business
When a problem does arise, you may not bear sole responsibility, but you (or a leader in your organization or both) absolutely bear some responsibility for issues that arise at work. Just like with mistakes in life, you always could have made a better or different choice. No one is immune to leadership fails. No employee, manager, or even CEO is immune from screwing up.We all make mistakes. It’s how you handle those mistakes and how you learn from them that makes all the difference in the long run. Your people, your systems, and your processes have a greater impact on the success of your business then any marketing campaign.You have to invest in and grow yourself if you truly want your business to grow.
skills. Unfortunately, few business owners and leaders actually work on this skill, which is really the cause of many problems they experience.
There is a saying that goes,“Business would be easy if I didn’t have any customers or employees.”While that might make things easier for a time, I bet you’d also be either bored from lack of work or way too busy trying to figure out how to get new customers and employees on your own. We’re not 100% sure which one it would be. Either way, you would be broke, too. Obviously, whoever came up with this saying was really talking about how difficult it is to work with people, regardless of what side of the table they sit on. Since people are the most difficult aspect of any business, it is important that you find great people — the right customers for your business, as well as the right team to support your company.You must also focus on continual improvement of your customer service and people management In conversations about sales, one doesn’t usually think of George Harrison. But the truth is that the Beatles’ lead guitarist actually has some solid words of wisdom when it comes to converting warm leads. His last No. 1 hit single,“Got My Mind Set onYou,” may sound like dated courtship advice, but it’s actually the perfect road map for turning interested parties into loyal customers. straightforward:A lovestruck singer has his mind set on dating someone.While your mileage may vary on single-minded romantic pursuits, this level of unwavering dedication is a must for warm leads. Unlike the mystery woman of Harrison’s song, these are people who have shown interest in your business.To build toward a sale, you have to return the favor. Send personalized emails or newsletters, or pick up the phone and call them. ‘I GOT MY MIND SET ONYOU’ The theme of the song is painfully
One of the things we’ve learned over the years is that every problem is a leadership problem.
Now, we can hear the cries of “foul!” from entrepreneurs:“I’m not responsible for their poor job performance or customer service, etc.” So, please understand; we’re not suggesting you’re solely responsible, but it is your job to put the proper systems in place to help people succeed. It is your job to have performance talks, to make sure you hire the right people, and to manage the situation before it becomes a critical situation. If you’ve ever said,“No one can do this as good as I can,” that is a leadership problem and also a false belief.
‘Got My Mind Set on You’ GEORGE HARRISON’S SALES ADVICE
‘IT’S GONNATAKE MONEY’ As the first verse of the song suggests, building this promising relationship isn’t going to be cheap. If someone hasn’t already taken the leap to become a customer, they need some incentive to get serious.This is where free trials and giveaways are your best friend. Targeting these special offers specifically at your warm list is a great way to cultivate lifetime customers.
your first few attempts, you’re shutting the door on future profits. Depending on your business, leads that take months or even years to convert can more than make up for the time and effort you’ve spent on them. Customers won over this way are far more likely to stick with you. ‘TO DO IT RIGHT’ The final conceit of George’s song is that there may be other ways to win a person over temporarily, but this is the right way. By remaining dedicated and spending the time and money to build your relationship, you can win over lifetime
‘IT’S GONNATAKE PRECIOUSTIME’
The No. 1 mistake sales teams make
is giving up on leads too early. If you dump a prospective customer because they hesitate on
customers — no singing required.
HOWTO KNOWWHEN IT’S TIMETO HIRE FINANCIAL HELP
“Whatever it is, find a way to outsource it, especially if it’s not a lot of cost. Because time is such a factor, and if it isn’t driving success, it’s not worth your time.” You might ask,“Isn’t hiring someone to help with finances costly?” Short term, hiring a bookkeeper comes with its fair share of costs, whether you hire someone to work in-house or a freelancer. However, when your finances are in control and under the guidance of a financial pro, there is a good chance your hire will end up paying for themselves and then some — as long as you clearly communicate your business’s financial goals. With SCORE, you’re never alone! Schedule an appointment to meet with a mentor today. Call 1-866-726-7340 or visit StLSCORE.org right now!
The answer won’t surprise you. It comes down to one primary factor: time.When you, as a business owner, are spending too much time on the finances, it’s time to call for help. When you want to grow your business, time is one of your most precious resources. You have to manage it wisely. For many businesses, managing finances is a full-time job, but it isn’t always treated as one. If you are starting to wonder if it’s time to delegate this task, that means bringing in help is probably long overdue. The biggest sign you are spending too much time looking at your numbers is when you find your company not reaching growth or production goals.As one small-business owner, Kelly Barker, learned, focusing too much time on bookkeeping meant she sacrificed the success of her company, Prep Cosmetics, in key areas.
There’s a reality among small-business owners and entrepreneurs.They want to do everything.Whether they are in the process of building a new business or it’s long been established, small-business owners tend to struggle with delegation.This includes the financial side of the business. Another reality:There are times when you need to hand over the financial reins to someone else, someone who is more capable and has the expertise to ensure your business has the financial foundation it needs to move forward and, hopefully, prosper.
Speaking to Inc.com, Barker imparted the following insight:
How do you know when it’s time to call in someone to manage your books?
Put Your Best Card Forward
BUSINESS CARD ETIQUETTE IN 3 DIFFERENT COUNTRIES
CHINA In China, as in many other countries, having your credentials and contact info in English on one side and in the local language on the other is good practice. Gold lettering is considered auspicious, and if your business is relatively old, make sure the year it was founded is on your card.The practice of giving and receiving cards is very similar to that of Japan. Finish the exchange with a bow as a way to thank your acquaintance for meeting with you. nonbusiness interactions in India. Much like hierarchy and status are valued in Japan, academic achievements are valued in India, so list your university, degrees, and honors along with your other information.When exchanging cards, always give and receive them with your right hand.This is also common practice in many Middle Eastern countries. INDIA Business cards are exchanged even in
Exchanging business cards the wrong way probably won’t be detrimental to your business deal, but learning the proper etiquette in the country you’re visiting can go a long way in starting a professional relationship on the right foot. With SCORE, you’re never alone!We offer workshops and seminars each month to help you develop the skills you need to succeed.Visit StLouisSCORE.eventbrite.com today!
The business card is a nearly ubiquitous way to give your name, position, company, and contact information to potential clients and business partners all over the world.And while the exchange of business cards in the United States does not come with a lot of pomp and circumstance, that is not the case in many other countries. If you find yourself in one of the following places, remember these tips about exchanging business cards. JAPAN Known in Japan as meishi , the exchange of business cards comes with a lot of ceremony. Present your card with both hands, as this gesture is seen as respectful. Japanese culture places a lot of value on hierarchy and status, so make sure your title is listed prominently.When receiving a card, take a minute to look it over and comment on it. Immediately putting it away is disrespectful, and once you’re done looking at it, put it in a cardholder, folder, or binder.
St. Louis Bi-State Region UPCOMING WORKSHOPS
OCTOBER 2019 Saturday, Oct. 5 • How to Start and ManageYour Own Business Monday, Oct. 14 • How toWrite a Great Business Plan • QuickBooks Online — Basic Monday, Oct. 28 • How to Advertise toYour Ideal Customer Using Digital, Social Media, andTV • How to Start a Not-for-Profit Business
NOVEMBER 2019 Saturday, Nov. 2 • How to Start and ManageYour Own Business • Grants in Plain Sight Monday, Nov. 4 • Building a Referral Machine • How toWrite a Great Business Plan Monday, Nov. 18 • Price Strategy —Your Guide to Profits • Utilizing the Library for Research
To register for an upcoming workshop, go to StLouisSCORE.eventbrite.com *Workshop schedules are subject to change.
EXPERT LEADWORKSHOPS + MENTORSTO GUIDE YOU = THE SCORE ADVANTAGE
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SCORE is a resource partner of the Small Business Administration and provides mentoring services free of charge to all business owners and aspiring entrepreneurs.Page 1 Page 2 Page 3 Page 4
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