In this Brands For Good, we talked with Walter Abbott, the Outreach Coordinator at SCORE DC, part of a national nonprofit that provides free small business mentoring to a variety of companies whether they are in the early, growing or mature stages of their development. SCORE was founded and created in 1965 and now has over 13,000 volunteers all over the country.

The acronym, SCORE, stands for Service Corps of Retired Executives because the volunteers began as primarily retired executives, but is now also made up of many more individuals in the work force that just want to do their part to help.

We chose to shine a light on SCORE because their volunteers share their expertise by providing one-on-one mentoring virtually and webinars to those that may need help starting a business or that are struggling and need assistance to succeed.

AU: What do businesses gain from connecting with SCORE?

Abbott: SCORE helps businesses in several ways. We teach companies to recognize and analyze their problems, provide solutions that will help them avoid mistakes that they may have made, or continue to make, and helps when there are issues in a specific area, such as marketing.

SCORE provides businesses with advice on how to find their clients, how to find the demographics and how to maximize the funding that they have to be as successful as they can within their small business budget.

Although it is hard to provide face-to-face mentoring in these times, we have adapted quickly to offer virtual help to all clients.

AU: How has the support been for these small businesses throughout these unprecedented times?

Abbott: When COVID-19 began, we wanted small businesses who were being affected by the virus to know what was available in the way of loans and grants. To show how to access these loans and inform them on what information was needed, we presented a number of webinars in affiliation with the Small Business Administration.

As businesses are slowly starting to reopen, SCORE works with them on all the various aspects that may be necessary. We help them to make the transition back into the work by providing support and knowledge on what safety areas need to be focused on, hazard issues, loss of employees, loss of sales and markets as well as much more.

A challenge that has more recently arisen is many brick and mortar businesses are looking to transition into the digital world. Our job is to help those take what they have been doing and transition it into the social media area or the area where they don’t have to have an office and or a store of some kind.

As a large organization, we share ideas all across the country as to what’s working, what’s not working, and how to improve their small business operations. Having a wealth of expertise has helped us to help them deal with these challenges.

AU: What attracted you to becoming a volunteer?

Abbott: I spent a long time helping businesses in the areas that I specialized in, and although I was being paid well at that time, it brought me satisfaction to help them when I worked full time and still now as I volunteer my time and expertise.

I enjoy meeting and talking to people and I find that the ideas they have are fascinating. The people we work with come up with programs, businesses or ideas that I hadn’t thought of, and they think about a different way of doing something that is typically pretty standard. I find that intellectually interesting and stimulating. I overall really enjoy helping them by giving back some of what I’ve learned over the 40 years that I spent in the business.

What is AchieveUnite and Brands For Good?

To find out more about SCORE, check out:

AchieveUnite is a consulting and education company helping companies of all sizes generate maximum results from their channel and strategic alliance partner organizations.

As an organization built around deep expertise, we are at our core curious, active learners that constantly look for inspiration from other organizations doing great things. Our Brands for Good series came from our desire to share the impressive work we’ve seen organizations doing to build impressive businesses while giving back good into the world.

We hope you enjoy their stories and best practice strategies as much as we do, and find some inspiration for your own personal and professional lives along the way.