SCORE-Central Virginia
 Chapter 494

Business Plan 

FY 2016

209 5th Street NE
Charlottesville, VA 22902
Phone 434-295-6712
Email: scorecounselingvirginia@gmail.com                          

Executive Summary

Mission 
Satisfy the needs of our clients by providing the best business advice possible so they can make informed decisions on their business issues and providing quality workshops for entrepreneurs, small business owners and non-profit organizations on the fundamentals of starting and running a successful business.

SCORE-Central Virginia, Chapter 494 faces some challenges as it moves into FY 2016.  Our membership is down and we face competition from several other organizations within the areas we serve.  To meet these challenges, we will be diligently concentrating our efforts on the identification and implementation of creative ways to better serve our clients.

Our goals and objectives for FY 2016 are as follows:

•    172 New Client Face-to-Face Mentoring Sessions
•    44 New email Mentoring Sessions
•    335 Follow-on Mentoring Sessions
•    21 Workshops
•    188 Workshop Attendees
•    A net increase of 3 new members
•    1 Congressional contacts
•    1 Success story

Our marketing efforts will be directed toward determining the most effective ways to reach first-time clients.  This will be done through personal representations of SCORE at various 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.  Among these approaches we will be using social media to inform the community of upcoming events and workshops.

We will continue to utilize experts from the community to present specific workshops of interest to the community.  These will include advertising, how to get a loan, legal and accounting aspects of business, census data mining, etc.   In addition, we will be presenting how to start a business in conjunction with SBDC and CIC. We will be working diligently to achieve our goal of 106 workshop attendees by the end of September 2015.  

Within the past couple of years our membership has declined   We will be making a concerted effort to identify and recruit talented members who have the motivation to work with our clients in one or several capacities; Mentoring, teaching workshops, speaking at local organizations, etc.  Included in this effort will be a focus on increasing the percentage of women and minorities within the chapter.

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 that this year 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 against 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.

Current Situation

The size of the Chapter is now 16 including six new Mentors in the last year. We are now in the process of reinventing the Chapter with a look at bringing on new members, acquiring additional clients and expanding the workshop programs.  The key has to be 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 city as a way to get additional clients.  

Marketing
 
The mission of the Marketing Committee is to promote SCORE as the most ef-fective resource for counseling and mentoring to the business community and to the public at large.
 
The purpose of a proactive, result-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 mentor-ing 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
 
Advertising
 
Internet/Website Marketing
A Chapter website is a key element of the marketing effort.  Internet marketing  now starts at the landing page where first impressions are made.

To be confident that the Chapter website is a superior marketing tool, the Mar-keting 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
 

Social Networking 
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 in-formation from our Mentors will keep our sites timely and current. New mem-bers have brought 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 are now managed by the Marketing Com-mittee to facilitate their efforts to maximize the use of this software.
 
E-mail Counseling 
Since the re-introduction of this nation-wide program two mentors have volun-teered to participate in this program.  
  
Public Relations 
SCORE-494 remains very active in this endeavor and plans for the year will include: 

•    Continued participation in the Greater Charlottesville Chamber of Com-merce, twice each year, sponsored Business Exposition 

•    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 is extremely valuable to our Chapter.  This is a roster of mentors will be organized that will designate several members to attend these programs to lift the visibility of SCORE and introduce our mem-bers 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 Entrepeneur'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 face-to-face meet-ings with the directors of these Chambers will be encouraged.
 
Workshops 

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 that allows entrepreneurs the opportunity to have a broad range of workshops rather than a choice of a com-petitive few. All workshops are presented by experts in the fields that the work-shops cover. Lastly, the workshops strive to offer current subjects of timely im-portance along with some of the basics. Among the 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.

Membership

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 po-sition 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 re-cruiting 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 character-istics 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
•    Law
•    Marketing
•    Candidates with contacts in the Charlottesville/Albemarle community, UVA, banks, business, government, etc. and with potential for fundrais-ing and joint activities.
•    Candidates located in outlying counties.
•    Diversity (gender, racial, ethnic).

Information Technology

The Team will continue to learn about and implement the tools that are available to our chapter from SCORE National as well as the 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 

Congressional Contacts
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.
http://apps.lis.virginia.gov/sfb1/Senate/TelephoneList.aspx
http://dela.state.va.us/dela/MemBios.nsf/MWebsiteTL?OpenView

Success Stories
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: 

1) Fill out Form 30, making sure all signatures are present.
2) Have the client complete the Success Story Submission form, which will be used by SCORE National to craft a narrative for the website. 

If we decide that we just want to obtain credit for the chapter, and do not wish to have the story published to www.SCORE.org, we will simply submit the Form 30 with all signatures present. 

The decision about which approach to take for submission to SCORE National will be made by the Executive Committee at the time of the submission by the chapter member