Speed Networking Event–30 Second Success
By Dianne Anderson
For those wanting to wax eloquent and enthusiastic in business settings, an upcoming SCORE sponsored networking event promises a fun way to make the right connections, access seasoned mentors, and access informative free workshops year round.
SCORE, a nonprofit association of the Small Business Administration, offers all products and services at extremely low or no cost.
On Thursday, September 7, the Inland Empire SCORE presents, “Networking – The Key to Sales Success!’ to cover the foundations of established entrepreneurs, such as how to perfect a 30-second pitch, and tighten up local business ties. The event runs from 2-4:00 pm, located at Western Municipal Water District, 14205 Meridian Parkway in Riverside.
Kim “Kat” Shepherd, a SCORE volunteer and digital marketing specialist, said her goal in facilitating the event is to get the community linked to services, and guide business owners to productivity and profit.
SCORE is not a fly by night outfit. For years, the nonprofit has given entrepreneurs across the nation their first boost into business stability by providing online business tools, along with a framework to develop their vision with the support of the U.S. Small Business Administration.
Shepherd said that she can’t think of any other professional associations that offer the kinds of in depth tools that SCORE gives for free.
At the Speed Networking event, local businesses will network with like-minded professionals in a friendly environment about how to perfect their sales techniques, products and services. Many will walk away with new ideas to grow.
Anywhere else, she said that kind of individualized help, access to business products, seminars and counselors, could easily run into thousands of dollars.
“They mentor you so that you won’t lose money with your business. It doesn’t cost anything at all,” said Shepherd, also an instructor at the University of California, Riverside Extension.
SCORE helps with marketing strategies. She said entrepreneurs can access a free mentor for the life of their business, and the program regularly features specialized speakers across a variety of professional venues.
In the past, the nonprofit has mostly worked with retired professionals, but lately has expanded its reach to include volunteers like Shepherd, who are not yet retired, but want to give back to the community.
Business owners that find their prospects are slow or failing for lack of a plan or funding can get the guidance they need on remaking their business plan, or create a stronger marketing approach and possibly get a business loan.
“It’s really an awesome thing. They also have resources because we are funded through the Small Business Administration,” she said.
Many small business owners have a hard time meeting other people. She said they go around and making cold calls, and knocking on doors, but the Speed Networking Event offers a way to talk with peers, and gain new clients for their businesses.
Coming up September 11, Shepherd is also hosting a two-hour webinar for only $15, which is one of the many webinars by counselors on the SCORE website. She said that it is a tiny fraction of the cost of similar seminars elsewhere.
“You can’t beat it. All you have to do is sit at home and listen to a seminar,” she said.
Nationally, SCORE has thousands of business counselors that volunteer their services.
“We’re an organization where professional people provide and we don’t charge anything,” she said. “Whatever we make, we give back. We don’t make a profit.”
For help with the Inland Empire chapter of SCORE, see www.score503.org