Wed. Jan 19th, 2022

Do you have dreams of owning your own business? Being your own boss? SCORE, a nonprofit association dedicated to helping entrepreneurs and small businesses grow and succeed, could be a beneficial source for you. SCORE has been aiding small business owners for over 50 years, and has 13,000 volunteers who offer business counseling advice at no charge to small business owners. Last week, West Chester University students were lucky to have a representative of SCORE give a presentation about the basics of being your own boss.

Gerald Francis of SCORE in Chester County states that the characteristics of successful entrepreneurs include being innovative, self-reliant, opportunity-focused, and willing to risk it all to bring their idea to the market. Some other characteristics that a successful business should be aware of are compensation, return on owner investment and profit for growth.  Francis was not shy about sharing the harsh facts regarding being a small business owner. The truth is that “90 percent of small business owners go out of business within two years, and 60 percent of those that survive the first two years stop operating within five years,” said Francis. In addition, 80% of all small businesses never see their business’ 10-year anniversary.

The reasons for why these businesses fail are many. Mostly it is because of a lack of industry knowledge, insufficient start-up capital, changes in mindset, unrealistic expectations, lack of a strategic plan for the future, unanticipated competitive responses and overestimating revenue. On a more positive note, the way in which businesses do succeed was also discussed. Francis said that through passion, good health, energy, competitive drive, leadership, and a commitment to following through will allow for a business to succeed. But, what many forget is that being the “boss” means wearing many hats including accountant, customer service, inventory, janitor, payroll, sales representative and receptionist. Business owners also need validated concepts, unbiased assessments of obstacles, supply sources, regulatory changes, and licenses and permits. That’s a lot of areas to cover, and at SCORE you can receive help through all of it.

WCU students who were in attendance of this presentation were reminded and encouraged to participate in Pennsylvania’s State System of Higher Education’s 4th annual Business Plan Competition. Students that have ideas for a new business can submit their ideas for cash and prizes. If you have intent to compete, you should submit your idea by Nov. 30, and business plans will be presented February 12. 1st place is a $10,000 prize, 2nd place is a $5,000 and 3rd is $2,500. For more information and to register to participate, you can visit www.PASSHEBiz2014-2015.istart.org.

Kirsty Palo is a fourth-year student majoring in English with a minor in journalism.  She can be  reached at KP762793@wcupa.edu.

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