SCORE Central Virginia, Chapter 494
209 5th Street NE
Charlottesville, VA 22902
FY 2019 Business Plan
Foster vibrant small business communities through mentoring and education.
Every client has the support necessary to thrive as a small business owner.
Values Beliefs and How We Act
- Clients Matter
Our clients' success is our success.
- Small Business Matters
Small businesses are the engine of our local economy through business formation, job creation and wealth building. Small businesses and their support are critical to vibrant communities.
- Giving Back Matters
We give volunteers, stakeholders and sponsors the ability to give back to communities through their support of SCORE. Successful small business owners understand the importance of giving back to their communities.
- Volunteers Matter
SCORE consists of volunteer business people helping small business people solve business problems. Volunteers give freely of their time, energy and knowledge to help others.
- Experience Matters
A client’s experience matters – the truest measure of our mission and our service – we ensure that our clients have a positive experience. A volunteer’s experience matters – their relevant knowledge, wisdom and experience serve our clients through mentorship and education. A volunteer’s experience with SCORE matters – we ensure that volunteers find value and satisfaction while engaged with SCORE.
- Relationships Matter
In relationships, we act with integrity, respect, honesty, purpose, and professionalism. We listen with an open mind, encourage and openly communicate with all people seeking help from SCORE. Personal, long-term relationships are a driver of small business success. Community alliances are critical to the success of SCORE.
- Diversity Matters
We believe in the importance, value and power of diversity – diversity of people and diversity of thought. The diversity of race, gender, ethnicity, geography, and experience is important and valuable in SCORE. We strive to achieve diversity of our volunteer corps, staff, board and clients.
- Lifelong Learning Matters
We believe that small business owners who are lifetime learners adapt to change more readily and are more successful. Volunteers as lifelong learners remain relevant, achieve personal satisfaction and growth.
SCORE-Central Virginia, Chapter 494 faces some challenges as it moves into FY 2019.
- Our membership is down.
- Several other organizations within the areas we serve provide similar services.
- We serve a large, diverse business community which includes the City of Charlottesville and eight counties (Albemarle, Culpeper, Fluvanna, Greene, Louisa, Madison, Nelson and Orange) with clients living in urban, suburban and rural communities.
To meet these challenges, we will be diligently concentrating our efforts on the identification and implementation of creative ways to recruit members and better serve our clients.
Our goals and objectives for FY 2019 are as follows:
- A net increase of 3 new members, with a focus on increasing the percentage of women and minorities within the chapter.
- 216 New Client Mentoring Sessions
- 335 Follow-on Mentoring Sessions
- 14 Workshops
- 112 Workshop Attendees
- 1 Congressional contact
- 1 Success story
Our marketing efforts will be directed toward determining the most effective ways to reach small business owners and entrepreneurs as first-time clients. This will be done through SCORE participation at various small business owner and entrepreneurial events, advertisements in local media, use of social media, etc. As important as counseling first-time clients, we want to encourage those clients to stay with us through the life of their business. Marketing will play an especially important role in assisting us in reaching both of these audiences. We will be using social media as well as other approaches to inform the community of upcoming events and workshops.
We will continue to utilize local experts to present specific workshops of interest to the community. These will include current successful marketing techniques, best ways for entrepreneurs and small business owners to obtain a loan, legal and accounting aspects of business, census data mining, etc. In addition, we will be presenting “How to start a business” workshop in conjunction with SBDC and CIC.
We will be working diligently to achieve our goal of 112 workshop attendees by the end of September 2020.
Within the past few years our membership has declined. We will be making a concerted effort to identify and recruit talented new members who have the motivation to work with our clients in one of the four new capacities identified by SCORE National:
- Volunteer (managing/assisting with administrative responsibilities)
- Workshop Presenter
- Subject Matter Expert (marketing, accounting, insurance, etc.)
It is important that we recognize and present those individuals and businesses which have had substantial success as a result of their relationship with SCORE. We will do this by having chapter members submit, “Success Stories” to SCORE National.
Because of budget issues at the federal level and the uncertainty of the funds that will be made available to SCORE, we do not know if we will have sufficient funds to accomplish all of the things we have planned. To mitigate this, we will be seeking sponsors for our workshops and other events, as well as funds for capital purchases, where needed.
Our progress towards these goals and objectives will be tracked and reported to both the Executive Staff and members at their regular scheduled monthly meetings. Appropriate adjustments will be made in a timely manner in or order to keep us on track and to insure us of meeting the individual targets.
The size of the Chapter on October 1st 2018 is 17 mentors. We are in the process of reinventing the Chapter with the intention of bringing on and supporting new members, acquiring additional clients and expanding the workshop programs. The key to our plan is in bringing in new volunteers. We need to explore all opportunities to attract additional volunteers who are willing to take leadership roles in the Chapter. The Chapter needs to work with other groups in the Charlottesville and the eight surrounding counties as a way to attract additional clients.
A Marketing Committee needs to be established to promote SCORE as the most effective resource for counseling and mentoring to the business community and to the public at large.
The purpose of a proactive, results-oriented, marketing program is to:
- Increase the awareness of SCORE and its services to the community in its designated territory
- Measure and evaluate client satisfaction, through feedback from mentoring sessions, as well as evaluations collected at workshops. We believe this information will help us to maximize our efforts and improve client referrals
- Increase the number of clients served. This will be accomplished through Face-to Face Mentoring, Workshops and email mentoring
The Chapter website is a key element of our marketing effort. Internet marketing starts at the landing page where first impressions are made. To be confident that the Chapter website is a superior marketing tool, the Marketing Committee will solicit expert assistance in all aspects to insure our site is customer focused, as:
- Best possible marketing message
- Clarity, ease of use, navigation and friendliness
- Search engine analysis
- Best possible positioning
- On-going assessment
Our interest in social networking and blogging will continue. The participation of our members will be vital to make it succeed. Input on news and client information from our Mentors will keep our sites timely and current. New members will bring expertise and experience of social media with them and their contributions will help enhance the SCORE brand in our territory.
Back-to Basics Promotion
The Business License division of Albemarle County has agreed to distribute SCORE business cards to all applicants for a business license. The city of Charlottesville is also participating in this program, and the outlying counties in our territory are being contacted.
News Blasts & Newsletters
Regular releases of news blasts, newsletters, and announcements about our Chapter to our large database will continue. Articles featuring SCORE clients' success stories and information on current SCORE workshop schedules and topics will continue to be the mainstays of this initiative.
All operations of Constant Contact should be managed by the Marketing Committee to facilitate their efforts to maximize the use of this software.
SCORE-494 remains very active in this endeavor and plans for the year will include:
- Continued close cooperation with the Chamber of Commerce including SCORE's attendance at several of their events.
- The Chamber's Business After Hours is a program sponsored by the Chamber that can be extremely valuable to our Chapter. We will organize a roster of SCORE mentors who will volunteer to attend these programs with the goal to lift the visibility of SCORE and introduce our members to the business community.
- Participate in and co-sponsor events with SBDC, CIC and SBA.
- Continued cooperation with VDBA (Virginia Department of Business Assistance) and their Entrepreneur’s Express program. This program and other events have been greatly improved through discussions between SCORE and representatives of VDBA.
- The Chapter will continue to communicate the six regional and county Chambers' of Commerce in our territory. Quarterly contact/communication with the directors of these Chambers will be encouraged.
In our market, there are a number of organizations and universities offering workshops, seminars and training. Our workshop strategy is to complement the marketplace with relevant and unique workshops allowing entrepreneurs access to a broad range of timely, useful information. All workshops are presented by experts in the fields the workshops cover. Lastly, the workshops strive to offer the most up to date information on subjects at an introductory level of understanding, with information on where additional information can be obtained. Basic subjects include legal, finance, marketing and advertising. Some of the more high interest categories include social marketing, website development, use of apps and programs such as Constant Contact, Paychex and others of value to our market. Lastly we will be coordinating with other organizations such as SBDC and others to reach a broader market.
The health of the Chapter requires a continuing inflow of new members with mentoring skills, teaching skills, marketing skills and, in today’s world, knowledge of information technology tools and techniques. We will also be seeking to improve chapter diversity by increasing the number of female and other minority members.
Our recruiting campaign will exploit all means available but we recognize that, in the past, the vast majority of our new members have come on board because of personal referrals by current members. Current members are in the best position to recognize the experience and skills that will make a successful new member.
In addition to member referrals, the Committee will insure that our needs are well advertised on community websites such as the United Way. Whenever SCORE participates in a community marketing event we will insure that recruiting is visible in our displays.
We are looking not only for counseling skills, but also for the skills we need to run an efficient chapter. In no priority order here are just some of the characteristics we are seeking:
- Information technology, database and website management.
- Application of social networking to business/internet sales
- Accounting and financial management
- Food service and restaurants
- Candidates with contacts in the Charlottesville/Albemarle community, UVA, banks, business, government, etc. and with potential for fund-raising and joint activities.
- Candidates located in outlying counties.
- Diversity (gender, racial, ethnic)
The Team will continue to learn about and implement the tools that are available to our chapter from SCORE National as well as coordinate solutions to problems and posting new or revised content to Chapter websites. A guide will be maintained that will provide instructions to our members about how to use the websites relevant to Chapter operations.
The following is a list of the various websites and some of the functions that will be performed by each one.
http://centralvirginia.score.org – Local Website
- Change content when required and post new content on to the site.
- Convey changes to the site to the membership as needed.
https://www.score.org - National Website
- Access performance data and report to the membership.
- Monthly review status of clients not yet counseled and resolve any issues
- Delete obsolete clients not seen from the list on a monthly basis.
- Change classifications of volunteers as required.
- Input workshop totals as required and non-counseling hours monthly.
- Assign Mentors to those clients who have not been assigned.
- Handle site problems when they arise.
- Monitor calendar appointments to assure sufficient available appointments.
- Add or delete volunteers from database, or update volunteer data.
During the year, we will be visiting the local offices of our state and federal elected representatives to obtain their support for our chapter. We are most interested in educating them about what SCORE does and the value that it contributes to their constituents. The Chair will be the primary contact, but will invite other members to participate in that effort. In addition to the congressional contacts, we will be visiting the Mayor of the locales we serve, as well as the Director of Economic Development for Albemarle County, the City of Charlottesville, and all surrounding counties; Greene, Madison, Louisa, Orange, Fluvanna, and Nelson. Refer to the following link(s) for more information related to specifics for those contacts. http://www.govtrack.us/congress/members/VA.
As part of our chapter Goals and Objectives, SCORE National requires us to submit at least one (1) client success story. Should we decide to have the story be considered for publication on the national www.SCORE.org website, we will: Email SCORE’s Field Marketing Manager Ms Morgan Martin (firstname.lastname@example.org) with the following information: client's name and contact information (phone, email), brief description about how/why the client is a success…Morgan will take care of the rest.