SCORE Business Counseling Pt1

Perhaps you’ve heard the Town Crier announcement about business counseling available from SCORE, and wondered what that was all about, and whether it was something that could be of a benefit to you. We turned to Josh Umar, Youth and Business Resource Coordinator for The Highland Center for more information.

“SCORE is a non-profit organization that is supported by the U.S. Small Business Administration, and the whole reason that they exist is to provide education and mentorship for business owners. So what they do, SCORE recruits volunteers among people who themselves have been successful business people, and then those people will go to communities and help the business owners and potential business owners there get going with their own operations.

“The Center has been offering business counseling through SCORE for almost 16 years now, and the counselors that come have a wealth of experience themselves; they have over 90 years of combined business experience. But they’ve been coming to Highland County for quite a while, and are very familiar with our economy and what kinds of businesses can work well here, and what you have to do to make it as a business owner out in these mountains, and they are really committed to providing that expertise and helping people succeed.”

He talked about what a counseling session could cover, and who might be interested.

“They always have great perspective and advice, and really, they’re open to talking about whatever the client wants to talk about. Common topics tend to include things like business planning and business models, choosing what legal structure you might want to go with for a start-up business, or expanding your business, budgets, financing, marketing – all those topics are things that they are able to speak to with some experience.

“One of the most important things we want people to know about these sessions, is that they’re free, number one, and number two, they’re confidential. These guys play everything pretty close to the vest, and so you don’t have to worry about coming in and talking to them with an idea, and you don’t have to worry about it getting out to your competition or anything like that. Anything you say in that room with them is confidential and it will stay in that room.

“I think anybody who has said to themselves “You know, maybe I should start a business,” or maybe they have a hobby, something they really love and they’ve said to themselves “You know, I’d really like to turn this into a real business.” Or, someone who has a business, that is maybe struggling, or maybe not as efficient as it could be, or a business that’s doing well and is looking to expand and grow, and just kind of needs some guidance and advice on how to handle those things. I think any of those people should definitely call to make an appointment. The counselors are coming back on Wednesday, October 19th, and they come every third Wednesday of the month. So, they’re here regularly and if you can’t get in this Wednesday, you can get in the following month, or  the month after. And I would advise you to call and make an appointment with me – you can get me at 468-1922 – and get on the list, because we’ve had an uptick in interest and the appointments have been filling up. But they are committed to Highland, and they’re committed to coming as often as we need them to, to serve the clients here – the potential business owners and business owners who may want to grow.”

Story By

Scott Smith

Scott Smith is the General Manager for Allegheny Mountain Radio and Station Coordinator and News Reporter for WVLS. Scott’s family has deep roots in Highland County. While he did not grow up here, he spent as much time as possible on the family farm, and eventually moved to Highland to continue the tradition, which he still pursues with his cousin. Unfortunately, farming doesn’t pay all the bills, so he has previously taken other jobs to support his farming hobby, including pressman/writer for The Recorder, and Ag Projects Coordinator for The Highland Center. He lives in Hightown with wife Michelle and son Ethan. In his spare time, he wishes he had more spare time, especially to ride his prized Harley-Davidson motorcycle.

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