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posted: 3/28/2017 1:00 AM

Who is Fox Valley Score, and how can they help my startup or existing business?

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Fox Valley SCORE is a local volunteer nonprofit organization of successful business individuals with its major purpose to educate and counsel startup and existing small businesses to grow and succeed. 100 volunteers referred to as mentors draw upon their knowledge and experience in providing free confidential mentoring to startup or existing small business clients. Mentor backgrounds include disciplines in multiple areas either as former entrepreneurs or working for small to large companies. Our professional assistance crosses all areas of a business including; accounting; business plan creation; business structure; financing a business; insurance; operational issues; marketing; selling skills; internet and social media challenges. Fox Valley mentors are available to meet and provide client help in DeKalb, DuPage, Kane, Kendall, McHenry and Will counties.

Fox Valley SCORE is one of 365 chapters and 13,000 nationwide volunteers that provide free confidential mentoring to both startup and existing small business owners. SCORE was founded in 1964 with its national headquarters in Herndon, Virginia and is partnered with the U.S. Small Business Administration. Volunteer mentors counseled more than 11 million clients over the last 50 years. According to the SBA, small business clients who receive 3 plus hours of mentoring report higher revenues and increased business growth. In 2015 SCORE mentors met with and conducted 300,000 client sessions and 12,000 educational workshops in their communities helping over 53,000 new business startups with 65,000 new jobs created. Clients of all nationalities and races including minority and veteran owned businesses are counseled.

Q: Why is a mentor important?

A: Small business owners face dozens of difficult questions and challenges getting its enterprise started, and countless more once it's operational. Decisions need to be weighed against today's current situation and future scenarios. Nobody can guarantee you'll always make the best choice, but there are ways to make informed decisions that provide greater confidence in achieving a positive outcome. Your mentor is someone who has experienced and tackled the same problems most likely several times. He or she draws upon their knowledge and experience to provide ongoing guidance in helping your company succeed.

Q: I would like to have a Fox Valley SCORE mentor provide help for my startup or existing business?

A: Go to foxvalley.score.org/ and click "Make an Appointment for Free Mentoring" selecting a mentoring location and date. You will receive a confirming acknowledgment email, and a communication from the Score mentors assigned to your business confirming your upcoming face to face meeting. A Score mentor will strive to meet your time constraints by meeting you at your business place.

Q: How do I register for one of the many free Fox Valley Score workshops?

A: Go to foxvalley.score.org and click "Take a Free or Low-cost Workshop." Select the workshop of your choice from those listed and click the "Register Now" bar. Complete the registration information form and you will receive a confirmation email.

Q: Are other resources available from SCORE?

A: Go to foxvalley.score.org and click "Browse Resources and Productivity Tools" and gain access to 1,000's of timely resource articles, templates, tools, spreadsheets, online tutorials and existing/upcoming workshops or online webinars from SCORE national. You can either scroll through the pages or use the top "Search" button to find your topic of interest.

Q: What if am interested in becoming a Fox Valley SCORE volunteer?

A: At the bottom right side of the Fox Valley website there is a rectangular "Volunteer" bar. Click on that bar which launches you to the blue "Become a Mentor" bar. Click this bar and complete the "New Volunteer Registration" page. Click the "Submit" button and a Fox Valley Score member will shortly be in touch with you.