Free Mentorship for Startups

In this week’s conversation with Bridget Weston, CEO of SCORE, we discovered the driving force behind this nonprofit organization that provides free (!!) mentorship to entrepreneurs across the country. Since its inception in 1964, SCORE has been dedicated to fostering entrepreneurship and supporting small business owners at all levels of experience, removing any financial barriers to receive mentorship. 

“A mentor is someone who allows you to see the hope inside yourself.”

Oprah Winfrey

Bridget emphasized the immense benefits of mentorship, revealing that entrepreneurs who work with a mentor are significantly more likely to increase their revenue. In the last year alone, SCORE helped start over 30,000 new businesses, a testament to the effectiveness of their mentorship programs.

Joining SCORE’s free mentorship program is simple. Visit their website, find your nearest local chapter, and begin the journey towards achieving your business goals. Once connected with a mentor, you’ll receive personalized guidance to address your specific needs and aspirations.

To make the most out of the mentorship experience, Bridget shared valuable advice for aspiring mentees. Define your objectives, communicate openly with your mentor, and take initiative in your development. By actively participating in your mentorship journey, you can maximize the benefits and accelerate your business growth.

SCORE also welcomes experienced professionals to volunteer as mentors and make a difference in the lives of aspiring entrepreneurs. As a mentor, you can share your expertise, offer guidance, and empower the next generation of business leaders.

SCORE’s commitment to empowering entrepreneurs through mentorship has made a lasting impact on countless businesses. Whether you’re seeking guidance or looking to give back, joining SCORE’s mentorship program presents a unique opportunity to be part of a thriving entrepreneurial community. 

Listen to our full conversation above to hear more from Bridget!  

  • Read the Transcript

    SE EP116 (7_21_23)

    [00:00:00] 

    Welcome to Startup Club. Today’s show was inspired by an article that I wrote for Forbes, uh, magazine, which we published later this month, early next month. And it was seven free ways you can get help for your startup. And one of those ways is finding a mentor and believe it or not, there’s an organization called score that allows you to, um, sign up for it and get a mentor and it doesn’t cost you anything.

    It does take a village to raise a startup. And, uh, I know that when it comes to having kids, it took a village for my wife and I, it took many, many people, including teachers and experts and others who, who helped us raise our kids. And when it comes to a startup, it is no different there. It is a very complicated thing to do, and you are not [00:01:00] alone.

    Michele, I’m going to pass it to you. I’m pretty excited about the show today, and I wanted to get your thoughts. Yes, absolutely. Well, I’m so excited. I mean, Bridget… Thank you so much for joining.

    And I know the members are going to really enjoy this and get something out of it. In fact, um, I just saw a message from one of our members, Stephon, who uses your services. So I know this is going to be an amazingly helpful, insightful session. So Bridget. I’m looking, you know, at your LinkedIn profile. I have to say I’m impressed.

    You’re the CEO. You went to Wharton and I see, wow, you’ve been with SCORE and you’ve come up through the ranks. So that’s really cool. You know, I feel like you don’t see that too often. Tell us a little bit. About your journey with score and what your mission is. And then, you know, we can get into the programs and start to [00:02:00] bring people on stage.

    Well, Michele, thank you so much. And Colin, um, thank you for writing that article and for asking me to be a part of this incredible community. I am really excited to be here and to learn about, um, your journeys to as entrepreneurs, those of you in the audience, um, especially Stefan and anyone else who has used score.

    And I just am excited to talk to you about what score does, but Michele, to your point, I’m really fortunate to have the opportunity to be in this role and to be the CEO of score. As you mentioned, I have been with score now for nearly 14 years, which shocks me every time I see. Um, and I did, I came up through the ranks.

    I was a mid level marketing manager when I joined score and through a series of fortunate events for myself, I rose to the VP of marketing and then a little less than four years ago, I was [00:03:00] asked by our board of directors to step in as the CEO and Uh, our mission and the people within this organization made it a no brainer for me to take on this role and to step in and help the small businesses.

    Um, as Colin said, it really does take a village and I just feel so fortunate that I get to be a part of that, um, and to help facilitate that for so many people, it really is about our volunteer network. You mentioned our, our mission. We, SCORE, are here to help foster vibrant small business communities through mentoring and education.

    And our mentoring is always free. That’s not a gotcha. There’s no gimmick. It is free. And it’s free because we have an incredible network of volunteer business mentors. And there are people like us who have that been there, done that experience. They’ve Been in the [00:04:00] trenches, they’ve survived the challenges and the pitfalls of starting a business and owning and operating a business.

    And they simply want to give back. They do it because they want to see you succeed. So that’s why we’re here today. Yeah. I think my first question, Bridget, would be why, why would a startup founder ever need a mentor? What a great question, Colin. I know that startup entrepreneurs, there are many ways that each entrepreneur is unique, but there are some commonalities too.

    They have an idea, a passion, and a talent. A desire to make their idea come into reality and be successful. And while that can be thrilling and, um, amazing of an adventure, many times being an entrepreneur can feel very [00:05:00] lonely. You feel like you’re the only person going through this, that you have to have all of the answers, that it all rests on your shoulders and One of the things that I hope you all take away from this is that you don’t have to do it alone, that resources like SCORE exist to be a sounding board, an accountability partner, to bring knowledge in areas of the business that you may not be an expert in.

    You might be an expert in technology or AI or an app or the restaurant that you’re looking to start, but you might not be an expert in. Cashflow or, you know, HR or marketing and so these business mentors through score can help fill those gaps, answer some questions and keep you on the right track. And the real why Colin is, I mean, as much as that feels really good, the answer is that the results are in the, the data.

    And. We’re [00:06:00] business nerds at Score and we love the data that shows why to do this. If you work with a mentor, you are five times more likely to increase your revenue and three times more likely to stay in business. We know that there’s a failure rate of 20% of businesses failing in the first year, and 50% in the first five years.

    By working with a mentor through SCORE, you, you know, seriously diminish those chances of failing. Now, is it hard to get into it? Do you have to qualify? Is there, um, a process that someone has to go through? in order to sign up for this? No. Um, there are questions, of course, that we ask. And the reason we ask those questions is to better understand what your needs are as a startup entrepreneur.

    What type of business are you looking to start? What are your strengths [00:07:00] and areas of opportunity? What are you looking for? Does geography matter to you? Or are you a fully virtual business? By better understanding where you’re at in your business journey, we can better pair you with a mentor. And with 10, 000 volunteer mentors across the country, we have someone that can answer your questions and meet your needs.

    And there is no criteria. It is open to everyone. Um, we just ask that you come to work. Um, we’re, you know, we want to be your partner in this. We want to be your sounding board and you all are here. You know, it takes work. And so we are ready to roll up our sleeves alongside you and help be your accountability partner in that journey.

    Okay, I just want to, I’m going to beat this bush a little harder. So you’re saying that, um, you can sign up, you can get a mentor, and they’re not going to ask for, um, an ownership in the business? They’re not going to ask for shares [00:08:00] or options or consulting fees? Um, do they, is there an expectation that… Um, that they would do this at absolutely no cost.

    And why would they do it? I am so glad you asked that question, Colin, because it is one of the myths we hear about Score. So just to directly answer your question, there is no, you know, expectation in terms of sharing the business. fees, anything like that. In fact, every single person that is a volunteer mentor at SCORE must sign a code of ethics annually that prohibits them from seeking fees from being a part of your company in any, um, way that, you know, then provides them some kind of payment.

    Um, it is prohibited because it is so important to our economy here in the United States that we Make sure that these businesses can [00:09:00] be successful and have access to these resources because we know how important small businesses are to our economy and the startups are to our economy. So that’s really why, um, we ensure and take very seriously that our services through the mentoring are 100% free.

    And why do the volunteers do it, Colin? Um. Because they have that been there, done that experience and know how important startups and small businesses are to our communities, they see the value that it brings, and they get joy and motivation from sharing their knowledge, um, and contributing and using their expertise and experience to give back.

    Well, go ahead, Michele, but I just think it’s phenomenal that this, that you can increase your chances of success by three X. This environments are notoriously. How about failure rate? And if we can do anything to reduce that failure rate, I think this is [00:10:00] absolutely amazing. So amazing. And I think it’s important to note, Bridget, this is backed by right.

    SBA, the small business. Association. So we are a resource partner of the Small Business Administration, which is, um, you know, the federal agency that helps to provide assistance through, um, SBA backed loans and other assistance for small businesses. So, We do receive a grant from the government to do this work.

    But again, the real work comes from our volunteers that give their time and expertise. Wow. So amazing. So let’s just say I’m ready to get started. I’ve been, I guess there is a vetting process. I’m guessing you can tell me. What do I, you know, like, what should I do to really prepare to get the most [00:11:00] out of my mentoring experience?

    You know, to make sure that I’m not wasting the mentor’s time. What, what, what should I do? When we, our mentors speak to the, the entrepreneurs that come to score, what we, one of the ways we described that first couple of mentoring sessions is that it’s like peeling the onion because we understand entrepreneurs have a thousand different thoughts going about this business and.

    Our goal as the business mentors is really to take the problem you come to us with or the challenge or the opportunity and, and peel those layers of the onion to get to the real root cause so that we can help make sure we are maximizing your success. So for example, One of the most common questions we get when people come to a score mentor is how do I get money to start my business?

    Which, of course, financing and funding is necessary in order to start up your [00:12:00] business. But that isn’t the only answer. So. In order to come the most prepared to, to make the most out of your session, think about what your goals are. Think about where you want to be in five or 10 years. Um, we have tools on our website that help with competitive analysis and understanding the marketplace.

    So using your mentor to help do that homework as well. And the third part is to understand who you are as a person, as a business owner, as an entrepreneur, what do you want your life to look like? How many hours are you willing to give to this? Are you already, you know, working at a job and do you need to keep that for the time being?

    Or do you have the ability to do this full time? Those things and factors, if you really think about that, will help you work with your mentor to figure out the best path of success for you. Because there are many different paths to success.[00:13:00] 

    I think we’re all amazed by it right now. Just trying to sink it all in. Are they Zoom based? Are they in person? Uh, how do they typically go, the sessions? We offer both in person and zoom as well as phone calls. And, um, of course we keep in touch and in between sessions via text or, or phone or email. Um, of course with the pandemic, everything went virtual.

    Um, fortunately for us, we had already been using the virtual tools. So SCORE did not miss a day of being there for small business owners, which of course during the pandemic was critical. Um, and we’ve actually seen, um, And you all probably know this too, a significant increase in the number of business applications, um, 5 million in 2022 alone are looking to start.

    So second most popular year on record for Americans seeking business ownership and the ability to [00:14:00] do this virtually not. It not only allows for the entrepreneur and the mentor to be flexible in terms of time, like we all know how valuable your time is as an entrepreneur. It is not always easy to drive to the downtown office or to make that time, especially during the day if you do have a job.

    So by having those virtual options, we believe it is making score mentoring more accessible. But also it’s opening you up to the entire nationwide network of SCORE. I mentioned we have 10, 000 volunteers across the country. So if in person is right for you, we have a SCORE location near you. We have two or 215 locations where you can meet with the person that’s in your community.

    And that is very valuable, but there may be an expert in an industry or an expert in a business topic that lives halfway across the country. And. Our nationwide network allows you to do that. So it’s really whatever’s best for you. This is so amazing. I I’ve heard of score, but I had no [00:15:00] idea how comprehensive this was.

    I want to ask one more question and then get right to Stefan. So. This is for startups at all stages. Is that correct? Am I understanding you correct? Yes, and I would even go a step further to say it’s not just, um, for startups in all stages, but SCORE is here for the life of your business. So, if you are an entrepreneur who has been in business for 20 years, or if you’re looking to exit your business for some reason, Um, we are here for you, whether you’re looking to grow, if you’ve been in business for five years and looking to take on more employees or open another location or add a new product line, we are here for that as well.

    And we are also here for those who are struggling. We saw this during the pandemic, those who are in business and, you know, we’re struggling to keep their businesses going. Quote unquote doors open, [00:16:00] um, or to, um, you know, keep employees or to start up their business at a really trying time. That’s why we are here to help overcome challenges and to keep you on the path of success.

    Wow, that’s truly amazing. I can almost see a scenario where someone could be a coach as well as a participant. So that’s really cool. We do have that, Michele. It’s such a good point that you brought up. We have People who are SCORE volunteer mentors who have used our services and become a volunteer who will occasionally still use our services and be a volunteer.

    We also have people who present workshops are a subject matter expert in a particular area. Um, and we welcome it all because entrepreneurs really are the best people to understand and to help others through these challenges. Fantastic. Fantastic. Well, let’s we’re going to go in [00:17:00] order here. So I’d like to go to Stefan.

    Stefan, what is your question for Bridget? Well, I think I should have more of a thank you, Bridget. So I’ve never met you, but I want you to know that, um. I should be talking about score a lot more. Um, because I’ve had a score, um, coach since, um, I thought it was 2019. It was actually 2020 as I go through my emails.

    Um, I don’t mind saying her name is Patty Williams. She happens to live up here in Raleigh. I know Patty. She’s great. Oh, wow. Wow. Oh, Patty is, uh, extraordinary, but I just want everybody to know that. Um, she has skills and people that come in as a mentor have these strategic sort of planning and organizational skills that I don’t have, you know, she’s very successful.

    She’s done a lot in life and she’s at a point where what she has is what I needed. And to tell you the truth, I couldn’t believe at first that. [00:18:00] Score was free. I kept thinking, but what’s the catch? What are they going to get out of this? In the end? And I want you to know that, um, several years later we’re here and there’s not any catch.

    It’s an amazing organization. I just did. Um, so for Pat’s, um, score foundation that’s here in Raleigh, um, we did a group for ai. And chat GPT. This was my third one with her and she sponsored it with Shaw university. We had 400 people sign up for it. It was a webinar on LinkedIn and it was Patty taking these ideas of mine in business over the last few years and putting a framework and a structure around it.

    So it wasn’t just like a guy with some random ideas and this and that she really carefully listened. and was able to strategically put together a plan that not only helped me and what I’m doing, she saw how it was [00:19:00] going to be a help for a lot of other people as well. So I’ve got nothing but incredible things to say, and I’m glad to meet you.

    So, uh, Thank you. Well, Stefan, thank you. Thank you for speaking up. Thank you for using our services. I think the rest of the show should be run by you. You’re, you’re a better spokesperson for SCORE than I am. Your story is incredible. And, um, I just want to encourage you to think about becoming a SCORE mentor and a volunteer with your experience.

    You know, it sounds like you have a passion for, for this and, and perhaps at some point you’ll consider joining us as a mentor. You know, I have to tell you, I hadn’t even thought of that as an option. I didn’t know it was an option, but I can’t say enough about what score has done for me and I’ve been on clubhouse, you know, and a pretty good following here.

    I do mentor people going into business now, but I’ve never thought of, um, you know, my involvement with score. I just [00:20:00] would encourage everybody here to look at score. Um. It really brought me as an entrepreneur into a place that, um, she could understand what I was doing. She even brought the right people into place that were able to help me.

    And we would meet at, we met at Charles university as a project that they were doing not too long ago, but she had the connections, um, to open the right doors for me. So. I will be in contact with both Patty and you Bridget. Thank you so much. Sounds wonderful, Stefan. Thank you. And Stefan, let me ask you a question.

    How often do you normally meet? Is there a structured? process. Like, are you doing strategic planning? Are you doing goal setting? Is there? Can you give us a little bit more flavor of what you do and how you interact with your coach? Yeah. So the first meeting was we talked on the phone and we decided to meet and I think it [00:21:00] was a library here in Raleigh face to face.

    It was a lot of her asking questions and getting to really know who I am and what I was trying to produce from that. I homework every time that we would meet. It ended up being every two weeks and she was great on that. Just stayed with that every two weeks. But she was also available anytime that I needed her.

    So through emails and connections like that, uh, But walking through some of the complexities of the legal part of business, um, you know, we have hireblack. com right now, we have 207, 000 jobs there that come through CareerBuilder, and she is the reason that that exists today, because she was able to, um, help me to walk through putting that together in our new businesses that are in AI.

    Um, you know, we probably talk once a month or something like that now, just checking in. But, uh, I want to say that [00:22:00] I’m there when she has something that she needs and she’s there when I have something. So now it’s more of a check in call probably, uh, once a month or once every six weeks. Unless we’re working on a project in the past two, three months, we’ve been, um, doing these AI and chat GPT webinars through LinkedIn.

    So, um, that’s it. And back to you, Bridget. Are the mentors actually trained? Do they follow a, um, is there like an accreditation? How does that work? Yes. So every mentor, again, once they join us and go through their provisional period, which includes reviewing the code of ethics, they also need to take what we call our mentoring methodology certification.

    So it’s based on best practices of how to mentor about, you know, stopping and suspending judgment, how to listen, how to ask questions and assess the situation, understand how to test ideas. Um, we can’t teach them how to be the business [00:23:00] experts that they already are. They bring that knowledge and expertise.

    What the certification really focuses on is how to be the best mentor you can be to have that experience that Patty had with Stefan, um, to listen, to ask questions, to dive deeper, to be the accountability partner and the sounding board, that’s what that certification is. And every active mentor must take that certification before they meet with a client.

    Wow. That’s amazing training, um, for the mentors as well. I can see how that can help you in other parts of your life. So I’m super excited to learn more about this. I didn’t realize it was so easy to participate. So we definitely got to check that out, Colin. But before we go on, um, let’s get to Patty who has joined us on the stage.

    Patty, welcome to the stage. And do you have any questions for Bridget? Well, this is the Patty that Stefan was talking about. Oh my gosh. [00:24:00] Well, we’re honored to have you here, Patty. Thank you for joining today. Um, is there anything you’d like to add to the conversation? I was just texting Patty. I didn’t see you.

    This is incredible. Go ahead, Patty. Great to see you. So, Patty, you’re on mute. The mute button’s over there on the right bottom corner. Yes. Thank you so much. Thank you all so much. I was pinching myself to see if this was my funeral or something with all those comments, but I am so excited to be here.

    Thank you, Stephan, for contacting me. I would like to say, um, I met Stefan in 2019 and we did meet face to face and Stefan has a lot of ideas. So he’s one of those people where Um, if you give him a little structure, then he can build his ideas out and that’s what I’ve been doing with him and he’s keeping me up to date on a lot of things that are happening in the technology area.

    I would like to follow [00:25:00] Bridget to say that we are highly trained and once a year, we go back and reiterate our training and make sure that we’re following our code of ethics and all of that. So we are a highly trained group. We’re confidential. If you have ideas that you bring to us that you want to be sure they Don’t get out before you do the actual deal yourself.

    It’s going to be confidential And i’d like to say this is just a wonderful forum today. Thank you bridget for being here Score is great stefan. I have not yet asked you to be Um a mentor but at any time if you’re ready to do that We will get you in because you’ve taught so many of our mentees already through producing workshops.

    So you let me know when you’re ready. Patty, I made the pitch too. We’ll have to tag team.

    And thank you, Patty, for joining. I saw your face and I was like, this is [00:26:00] amazing that Patty’s here too. And for reiterating that confidential part of it, I think that is really key for everyone to know that anything you share with your mentor is confidential, just like Patty said. So that whatever ideas or worries that you have, it stays with you and your mentor.

    And um, Patty, just thank you. And maybe you can even talk to like, why did you join SCORE? Like I’ve been asked by Colin, like, why do our volunteers do this? But like, why do you do it? Yes. Well, when I came to SCORE in 2019, I had just. sold a home care agency that I had run for close to 20 years and I was, um, not really ready to just not do anything.

    And I’ve always been a teacher. So I was in a Toastmasters group and the head of SCORE in Raleigh was part of that group and he mentioned it to me. I was aware of SCORE many years ago, but I never thought about being a mentor. He mentioned it to me and it was [00:27:00] just the right time and just the right thing for me.

    So I started and it has just been so, so good for me. It got me as a nurse, you’re not in the business community as much as you would like to be. So it put me back into the business community. I was able to give back. And I just started to build on that. It’s just been wonderful from, um, networking socially, uh, and then knowing that you’re providing a benefit to business owners.

    So that’s, that’s how I got here. And that’s what keeps me here. Uh, Rashmi, if you could just hold on a minute, we will get to you. Uh, I know you’re new to clubhouse, but we tend to go around Robin. And, uh, but we will get to you, Patty. I have a question for you. We need your advice. Michele and I need your advice.

    We run an incubator. We have about 10, 12 companies, thereabouts, in our incubator. And what our role is, is we work directly with the [00:28:00] CEOs of all these companies. Okay? Okay. Now, I don’t know how you do it, but… Or how you did it with Stefan. But when we sit down with these people, half the time I want to reach across the table, grab their neck and strangle them and say, No, you need to do the following.

    You need to do this, this, and this. Yet, I try to hold back, and I try. I’m not saying I’m perfect. And so you talked, Bridget, about a non judgmental environment. And, Patty, I’m curious, just like, hands on, how do you not just say, Okay, Stefan, listen. You gotta do the following three things. Bang, bang, bang. Or you’re screwing up here.

    Or you’re messing up there. And then just totally deflate them. Like, how do you keep them motivated and not be as judgmental using the, I guess we talk in EO entrepreneurs organization, we talk about being gestalt and, you know, not being judgmental and. Really sharing experiences versus trying to, but let’s just say somebody is going off the cliff or off the edge.

    How do you deal with that? Well first I listen [00:29:00] and I usually handle that with a question I have mentees that show up all the time They’re like i’m here to get a grant and I want to do this and I want to do that and I start to ask The questions where are you in your life? Is your family committed? Have you done a business plan?

    And then After they realize that all of those things are necessary, then they get an assignment because, as Bridget mentioned, we don’t do the work. We guide and, you know, we lead and provide structure. So, as they, some of them, as they start to do the work, and SCORE has many, many, uh, templates that we can use.

    I mean, we’re well, You know, set up so that we know how to guide people through the process. But once I give them those assignments, some will come back and say, well, I’m really not ready. This is not the time. So just listening and providing those questions and allowing that mentee to think through the process on [00:30:00] their own.

    That usually helps me more than anything else. I, I think Patty explained it fantastically and I do want to add and ask Patty if you think this is true, that the listening and asking questions, it also is, I will, um, equate it to like finding the right doctor style for you or finding the, like, you know, your, your friend group or whatever, there’s different personalities.

    So some people, you know, you really do need to be patient and ask a lot of questions. And there are others I know who have used score mentors that say, I like and need my mentor to call me out. Like, it is the only way that I am going to get done what I need to. And that’s one of the great things about our network is that we have people with different personalities, and we make sure you’re matched with the best person for you.

    And our mentors are trained to adapt and make sure that they’re meeting those needs, just like Patty said, by listening and asking questions. [00:31:00] Yes, that’s definitely how I do it. One of the things that helped me so much, you all, when I came into SCORE is that I’m a registered nurse by trade. And so as a nurse, you’re constantly assessing and listening and there’s so many things that people say you don’t even have the chance to stop and write it down.

    You need to remember, but it applies to everything you do with them. So I found that skill was so helpful to me. I didn’t think it would be. But that really helped me to, to jumpstart my journey in SCORE as well. So if you do have a job where you listen and you pay attention, that’s a really good skill to have when you’re doing, uh, any type of mentoring.

    Excellent. Well, we’re at the top of the, um, or halfway through our show today. So I just want to stop and reset the room today. We have. Several amazing guest speakers up here today for the club members. Um, Bridget, who [00:32:00] is the CEO of SCORE, Bridget Weston. And we have an amazing coach that’s joined us, Patty and Stefan, who has worked with SCORE for years.

    So we invite you, it’s not too late. We have about 30 minutes left of the show to just raise your hand and come up and ask your questions. But in the meantime, Bridget. I’m sure like myself, there are others here today that now really do want to get involved with score. What would you suggest that we do?

    How do we how do we become a mentee or a mentor? What would be? Well, Michele and Colin and Stefan, I hope to see three volunteer applications by the end of the day. I’m just kidding. Um, if you go to www. score. org, I see Colin has already shared that, um, at the top of the page, then you can look and see how to find a mentor.

    If you are interested in being a mentee, [00:33:00] you can search through the profiles, see who might be a good fit for you. Um, and if you’re interested in being a volunteer, go to our volunteer page, take a look at some of the testimonials from our volunteers like Patty and that process will then lead you to connect with your local chapter who will talk to you about.

    In more detail, what this means, what the onboarding process would look like, including the code of ethics and the mentoring methodology. We also have people sit in on 3 mentoring sessions as a co mentor to learn and see. We don’t just throw you into the deep end before getting you that proper training and I do just want to go back to.

    I saw Stefan made a great comment in the chat that. You don’t have to necessarily stick with the first mentor you’re paired with. We want to find the best fit for you. So you may search those profiles or, you know, think someone’s a good fit and it might not be. That’s okay. Come back to us and tell [00:34:00] us and we will make sure to find you the right person.

    I just want to say that part was important for me. Obviously, it’s been a match and I did put it in the chat that Patty was hard, you know. For sure. She comes as a mature and successful businesswoman, and I wouldn’t expect anything other than that. But I always knew that she wanted my success and was I’m actively working for my success in business and still is, uh, but just making sure you start off with the right person, I think is highly important and it was really great to be able to, you know, just say no until the point I was able to say yes.

    Thanks. Uh, Bridget, do a lot of the mentors have access to resources? So for instance, we do a lot of, um, I do a lot of speaking at cohorts and often I get, um, from the, uh, uh, startups and the cohorts, the founders, the question [00:35:00] I’m looking at raising. I need to raise money. I want to find out different ways of raising money.

    Um, the government resources, you know, what would be the best way to do that? And I’m not an expert in that. And I would assume that not a lot of mentors are experts in that as well. But other resources that you share with your mentors. To help, uh, aid the startup founders with their journey. Yes. So a couple of parts to the score organization about that one, we do have a subsection of mentors that are well versed in the access to capital options or financing and can really help to get into the details and navigate that.

    The other thing is that because score. Is so integral to the local communities that we serve our local presence in the communities have relationships with the various funding opportunities there. Whether it is a bank or a CDFI or angel investors in the area or [00:36:00] VCs or even grant opportunities. So that is part of what is unique about the score organization.

    Is our ties and our community engagement to those organizations that can provide funding. And then what we do is score mentors is to help prepare you for that pitch or that application or whatever it is that best suits your need as that business owner. And then 3rd, what we do from a nationwide perspective is make sure that both our mentors and our clients are mentees understand the various resources out there.

    We too hear that the government funding may not be the right answer for everyone, and it may be hard to access for some, especially more than others. So we make sure that whenever we’re unaware of a resource, we share that out with our network. And that’s another great place. If you go to score. org specifically to check out our small business resilience hub or our start up road map to check out how to navigate those different [00:37:00] access to capital options and figure out which one is best for you.

    And I know that in, um, I’m Canadian in background, though, I’ve lived in the states now for about 16, 17 years, but we’re, we’re really used to the idea of getting government funding. And when I talk to a lot of American founders, they’re, they’re, they always think they have to do it on their own. Uh, even in Fort Lauderdale, when we built the incubator, a new building we put up, it was a sort of warehouse style incubator, uh, in Fort Lauderdale, we received 350, 000 from the CRA, or the local government, to help put that building together.

    There are, there is funding available for startups. Again, you’re not alone. It just, the problem is finding it. And again, it sounds like that SCORE has some experts. They can help you with this type of funding. Um, at least try to guide you in the right direction and try to figure that out, because that’s not an easy piece.

    For a [00:38:00] lot of startups, it’s very hard to, to, to launch a business and funding is one of the components that a lot of the, um, uh, startups actually, uh, stumble on. It’s actually probably the number one reason why startups actually fail. So getting support around funding is important. I, I totally uh. Not just understanding what funding options are out there and getting entrepreneurs to connect with the right funding option for them.

    Although that is definitely critical. And the top question we get from people who come to score seeking our help, but also we do get people who I was just I was at. The U. S. Black Chambers Conference yesterday with a, uh, one of our score mentors, Cat Shepard, and she was mentoring people in a booth throughout the day.

    And she had someone come up to her and say, I need to expand. I need to, I’m going to go into debt to expand X, you know, this [00:39:00] way for my business. And Kat helped her to see you didn’t have to, you don’t have to go into debt. Here are some other ways to do that. Let’s do X, Y, and Z to expand your, your, to maximize your cashflow, to, you know, increase your productivity.

    And maybe if you wait six months or eight months, then we can invest those, those, that profit into a second thing that you’re interested in doing. So yes, access to capital is number one, but also how you’re going to. Spend those dollars is also where a score can come in and make sure we’re helping you be the most successful.

    Oh, okay. Great. Uh, Noelle, uh, you’ve come on stage, you’ve been on stage before, a great member of the community. We love the feedback that you give us. Do you have a question or a SCORE experience that you’d like to share with us? Yeah, thank you. Um, um, I was aware of SCORE when I was a teenager. They did a program for, a GATE program I was in.

    [00:40:00] And it was really interesting. We didn’t launch the program. People kind of lost interest, but I always kept it in my mind. That was 40 years ago. And, um, I’ve always wanted to be a mentor. So I’m happy to be back here planning it. I want to encourage people to look at the site. It’s got great resources. I signed up for a variety of online courses, um, some webinars are doing and, um, will be a mentor someday in my life.

    Um, Thank you. So it was just really great. I also made a little donation of 42 because it is crucial for us to support others who are growing their business. And so I just wanted to share that little information. Wow. Noelle, thank you so much for, you know, remembering us for all those years for thinking about being a mentor and for your donation.

    That is incredible. Um, and I really am grateful that you brought up the webinars and the website. One of the other things we do in addition to our mentoring is have, we have [00:41:00] educational resources that can look like a business plan template. It can also look like local or virtual workshops that supplement the advice that your mentors give you.

    It really is more of that actionable how to um, learn from the expert. You know, Stefan has put some of them on himself for um, people in his community and it’s, it’s just another way that. People learn, connect, prove what their knowledge is for their business. Um, and we’re thrilled to provide those as well.

    They do exist online. And then again, the communities, um, where SCORE exists also put them on locally in person, if that is more your vibe. I’m just curious, do you also work with local, um, you know, incubators or like for instance, we, they’re, um, the one I mentioned earlier is the Allen Levan Center. In Fort Lauderdale, um, at NSU, Nova Southern University.

    And then I also do a, [00:42:00] uh, sessions with FAU as well. And these are volunteer positions. And, you know, generally you have about 10 speakers come in to each of these cohorts, um, and speak to a group of. entrepreneurs. Do you have people available to talk to these entrepreneurs in these cohorts? And again, these are all free run by the university or whatever.

    It’s not like this. I’m not talking about the 500 startups, you know, in Silicon Valley or anything like that. I’m talking about Free cohorts run by universities. Yes. The answer is yes. We have people in our local communities. If there isn’t a SCORE office right in your backyard, simply contact us through the website and we’ll connect you with someone who would be available.

    Patty, I don’t know if you wanted to add anything to that. Yes, we will work with anyone. I get, frequently get calls for… Roundtables or things that are [00:43:00] going on at universities at, um, the two year institutions or whatever, if they let us know, we will come and speak. And we’ve also set up, um, mentoring on site as Bridget said that.

    Kimberly did on yesterday. We’ll set up in a room and bring a set of mentors and if there’s a business expo going on we’ll offer mentoring. So however you need us to work with you, if you let us know, most chapters will figure out a way to send someone or work with you in any way. Well, I, I know being involved in these, um, cohorts that they have not done that.

    So I will definitely recommend to the people who run the cohorts That they should look at, uh, adding a session to include a SCORE, uh, someone from SCORE in South Florida. So, I’ll work on that. That’s a, you know, it’s, it’s a, that’s the thing about Clubhouse is the community comes together. We try to solve these problems.

    We try to [00:44:00] figure things out and, you know, Clubhouse is free. Startup Club is free and just listening to everybody learning, we could become much better entrepreneurs and we can increase our chances. Yes, three times. We can increase our chances by up to three times by getting a mentor. I thought that was probably one of the most potent statistics.

    And by the way, that is in the article article, Bridget, I just went back to check that. I’m like, geez, did I miss that? No, it’s in the article. So I’m happy. I didn’t miss that. I’m sure you wouldn’t miss that, Colin. I’m sure you got that. That’s great. Okay. Uh, Now we can go popcorn style if anybody just wants to throw anything out out there right now a thought or a question about About score.

    I have a thought it’s like what should we do to prepare for filling out an application? What do we need to do on our side?[00:45:00] 

    Noelle are you talking about as the mentee as the entrepreneur right now? I’ve been mentors before. Um, right now I’m launching something. And so I went one for myself and then I went, once that’s going, I’ll come back and be a mentor. But for us, it’s a great question for the audiences. What do we need to do on our side to best prepare to engage with a SCORE mentor?

    Yeah, I think that’s a great question. And so think about, What your goals are in your business. Um, you know, not everyone wants to be the next meta or Facebook, although some of you do. And that’s great. We would work with you as well. Think about what your goals are and how you want to, you know, how you would most like to achieve them.

    And also think about who you are as a person. What’s your working style? Do you prefer someone to be that, you know, more stickler accountability partner? Or do you prefer a more [00:46:00] gentle, you know, sounding board approach? If you can think about who you are as an entrepreneur and a business owner, as well as what your working style is, that really helps to get us off on the right foot with the mentor.

    And then to prepare yourself, really, it is to be ready to be open and to, again, roll up your sleeves and look at All of the aspects of this business, um, because really we want you to succeed. Our core value is that our client success, you, the entrepreneur, the business owner is our success. So whatever you define a success, we want to help figure out how to get you there.

    So the clearer you can be about what success looks like, like looks like to you, the easier it will be for our mentors to get you there. That’s excellent. And I hear you. Sorry to interrupt, um, and being open, right? That, that’s absolutely critical because like anything in life, right? We know if we’re transparent, then it really [00:47:00] facilitates that mentorship.

    Absolutely. Now I’m assuming that you have an email list, Bridget, Patty, because you mentioned that you do these really insightful, cool workshops. We can just sign up for those as well from your website. You can if you go to score. org right there, you can sign up for our newsletter. I would also encourage you to join our social media channels.

    Um, everything is posted there as well. And of course, you can then network with like minded individuals, just like you can here in clubhouse. And, um, you know, keep up with what’s going on both across the nation and in your local community as well. Each local score chapter or location has their own email list as well if you’re interested in those really specific things in your community.

    I guess there has to be this willingness to learn, right? Because I often do meet entrepreneurs who just think they [00:48:00] know everything and they don’t have that. You just can’t, sometimes you just can’t work with everyone. Right. Cause we, I belong to an organization called EO entrepreneurs, organizations, entrepreneurs, organization, organization.

    You probably know that organization. And there’s about 8, 000 or so members around globally. And I’ve been in it for 27 years. And often I run it, you know, we talked to some people and they just don’t want help. They don’t want free advice. They don’t want. Um, to learn from others, but there has to be a thirst for learning in order to accept a mentor.

    Can you talk a little bit to that? Sure. I think that’s a great point that, um, and it’s one of our core values of our organization, that lifelong learning matters, um, for me and the, the staff for the volunteers and for the, the mentees, we want to keep learning and evolving [00:49:00] so that our business can adapt and respond to the needs of the people we’re here to serve.

    And learning is a part of that. Um, we definitely, uh, you know, I, I almost laughed when he said I’ve run across entrepreneurs who don’t want. to learn. And I’m like, I’ve never seen that. I mean, we’ve definitely had people that do, you know, think that they have all the answers, but I do think that anyone who reaches out for a mentor is demonstrating that willingness.

    Um, and I think that the numbers that we have helped to demonstrate it’s worth being open and being willing. Um, last year score helped to start over 30, 000 businesses. So with the help of a SCORE mentor, we’ve proven that it works. Um, I do think part of the other thing, sometimes it’s not necessarily a desire or, you know, to learn, but a fear that if I open myself up, you know, someone else might see me fail or I might get it wrong.

    And I [00:50:00] understand that fear and that worry. Um, you know, Patty mentioned that. SCORE Mentoring is confidential and we just want to be here to help you succeed. There is no gotcha. There is no ulterior motive. We know how scary this journey can be. And if you allow SCORE Mentors to be a part of your journey, we will be with you through the highs and the lows and, and look forward to celebrating your successes.

    Noah, Stefan, go ahead. Yeah, Colin, uh, number one, thank you all. Uh, thank you, Michele. Mimi, Bridget, all of y’all for having this room. I have a quick question. So, going on your site just now, uh, number one, I see Patty down there and that’s so great to see, uh, you on the front page, the video of you. I get the information.

    I see this room in the hallway and I’ve already put it out there, you know, several times here in Clubhouse because I know that you know how much I believe in it. [00:51:00] Well, I think some people, Colin, hear the word mentor and it sounds, you know, good. It sounds, I guess, learning. And like you said, it may not seem like something they need.

    And my question is, If this room had had a different title on it and some numbers, um, not just for how many businesses have been created, but you know, people love to hear, well, this business has generated so and so or this person has gone from, you know, um, a business idea to so and so. I don’t even like the way that’s always done when you talk numbers and you talk income.

    But, um, Is there a place? I mean, what do you all think about that? Because I really, just even thinking Clubhouse, if you put some numbers up that somebody went from, you know, a 5, 000 home business to, you know, they’re generating 100, 000, those things talk that I’m just throwing it out there as an idea. Oh, you’re pushing my buttons [00:52:00] now.

    I mean, this is something that we don’t allow in Startup Club. And we know it’s rampant throughout, um, many, many different platforms. This get rich quick, you know, I, yeah. We, you know, you could throw up a heading of, you know, make 5, 000 with your side hustle in 30 days and bam, you get like a thousand people in a room and it’s a shame, you know, I know that with my son, I have, you know, anecdotally, he’s 23 years old and, you know, I, I talked to him about he’s, he just finished his architectural, he’s doing his real estate license now and he says, Well, by the time I’m 30, I want to be retired, I want to be, you know, he basically wants to get rich quick, and I’m like saying, no, wait a minute here, let’s build a foundation, you build one step at a time.

    And this is what this show is all about, Serial Entrepreneurs, Secrets Revealed, it’s all about trying to crack the code of what serial entrepreneurs do over and over again, of what successful entrepreneurs do. Think about it. Three times, increase your chances of success by [00:53:00] three times by getting a score mentor.

    That is cracking the code, and it just bugs me to see that you’re right. There are, you can, if you want, you can go and sign up and pay 10, 000 a year for master classes and really learn from these people around their theories and whatnot. Yet, it’s absolutely free. It’s absolutely free to go to Startup Club and listen to, uh, the episodes that have been on Startup Club.

    In fact, I often say, And Stefan, you know this because you’ve been in many of these sessions on Serial Entrepreneur, Secrets Revealed. When you go, if you go into your, any podcast network and you were to listen to every one of those episodes, you’d have an MBA in entrepreneurship. You don’t need to spend 10, 000 or even 100, 000 a year.

    Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m a big believer in coaching. I have had a personal CEO coach for 20 years now. And, uh, I get a great ROI on that particular coach. [00:54:00] Um, but not everybody’s in a position to pay what I pay for a CEO coach. So the fact of the matter is. This is a great option, and you are right, Stefan.

    Like, there’s a lot of buzzwords and get rich quick and books that hit. And Startup Club is not about that. Serial Entrepreneur Secrets Revealed is not about that. And the book that we’re publishing by Forbes called Start, Scale, Exit, Repeat is not about that whatsoever. In fact, I even put it in the introduction that if you want to get rich quick, this is the wrong book for you.

    This is all about building a foundation and this community and Startup Club has done a great job of doing that and keeping away from this, that, that crazy mentality, the click bait of, of, uh, what these, uh, social networks do to get entrepreneurs to spend money on their masterclasses. I know it’s a pet peeve of mine, so you push the button and I’ll let it go.

    I can tell you, I can tell I did, but it’s just me hearing [00:55:00] you say that there are people who don’t want this. That pushes my button. It’s like people, this is absolutely free, why would you not want something like this? You know, I would like to know if there’s a way to pre order the book and if there’s an audible or a PDF that will accompany it.

    Oh, yeah. So the book Start, Scale, Exit, Repeat, uh, I’ll just, you know, give you a brief there. It’s, uh, uh, 10 years in the making, took over 10 years to write it. Uh, we’ve interviewed over 200 people, experts, authors, serial entrepreneurs. Uh, it was a really huge task. We, we, uh, Michele, working with Michele, the team at Startup Club, we have over 30 illustrations.

    190 Golden Nuggets, uh, it is a rather large book, but laid out very well. The Forbes team did a phenomenal job in the way they laid this book out. Uh, it’s available on any, um, bookstore. Uh, it, uh, for pre sale. Uh, [00:56:00] and, uh, it is audible. There is a gentleman who’s doing the audible, and that’s going to release as well.

    But I have to say, the physical book will be something to see, it is quite a creation and we’re really proud of what we’ve been able to put together for the book. Michele, any other thoughts on that? I know you worked a lot on this book as well, it’s been a year project for you. Putting it together as well.

    No, I mean for me it’s been a real privilege to be involved in it and you know, we’re super excited for people to be able to read it, experience it however they see fit. But we’re actually doing this to give back. We’re not actually doing this or the club to make money. So from that point of view, we hope that, you know, you can.

    Read it and get something out of it. That’s, that’s all that we ask and for you to share it with other people. If you buy a book, you know, pass it on. We’re, we’re all cool with that. So thank you for asking Noel. Yeah. And there were [00:57:00] like probably about 30 or 40, uh, people I met on clubhouse who are included in the book.

    Uh, many, many stories that have come up over the, over the two years we’ve been doing this, um, the show and running Startup Club. Switching back to score though, uh, you know, we only have two minutes left, Bridget, and, um, maybe you could just sort of provide a summary of the benefits of using a mentor. I think that’s ultimately what it’s all about, and then how they can do that.

    Sure. Thank you, Colin. And I too, um, share your frustrations that you were, um, expressing, but that is the point. And I think everyone is here because they know it’s not this quick fix, uh, solution to being an entrepreneur. It’s a lifestyle. It, it takes time and work. And the why to reach out to a mentor is because.

    Despite the fact that you may feel alone, you [00:58:00] do not have to do this alone. You have people here ready to help you to avoid the challenges that they’ve experienced to, you know, level up your game and to maximize your chances of success with people who have that. Been there, done that expertise and who are giving back of their time and energy because they want to help you.

    And the way to do that is to reach out to score. org and check out how to get a mentor. Remember it is always free and confidential and you can come back to get a mentor or meet with your mentor as many times as you’d like. Um, for as many years as you’d like, we are here for the life of your business and we look forward to helping you.

    And I really appreciate the opportunity to talk about it. And I’m especially grateful to Stefan and Patty and Noel for, um, amplifying our message. That’s fantastic. I often say that [00:59:00] entrepreneurship is not a single position. You are not CEO of one company. You are harnessing a trade. It’s all about sharpening that sword, becoming better and better at what you do.

    It is a trade like any other trade, and you can learn the systems. You can begin to learn from others and understand how to start a business and increase, and increase your chances of success. The first question is, do you want that help? And if so, it doesn’t cost you anything. And now we’ve heard today that there’s an organization called SCORE that has, uh, thousands of volunteers to help you with your startup.

    You are not alone. Thank you very much, Bridget. Uh, Stefan, always. Patty, I hope you join our club and continue to contribute to the shows that we do here. And of course, Noel. We always love you. You’re always on. [01:00:00] So, thank you very much for supporting us. Thank you. Have a great rest of your day. Thank you.

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