Aurora Donnelly is a solo practitioner always looking forward to the next exciting transition.
Over the years I have known about and worked with SCORE counselors on a couple of occasions. SCORE, a nonprofit association affiliated with the Small Business Administration, is dedicated to helping entrepreneurs create and succeed in new businesses.
The idea of SCORE as a resource for a legal business did not occur to me until I saw a colleague who is well into the process of launching her law practice taking advantage of many of the services and information they offer, to her great benefit.
With the assistance of her SCORE counselor she wrote her business plan and calculated the start-up capital she would need. Most importantly, she had help focusing in on her target market so that she did not waste time and funds on sectors that do not fit her business model.
Next, the counselor helped her to identify the format, style and images for her website, and had she chosen to avail herself of that service, would also have helped her build the website. Each block of text, for example, was carefully developed, then subjected to detailed discussion and editing to convey just the right message.
I also have had an amazing experience with this group, working with a counselor that I admire and respect, who knows a lot about my business and has become a specialist in helping lawyers with their practices. She provided great marketing ideas, technical advice for my website and put me in touch with a Hispanic counselor who had a barrelful of information about the market for foreign language lawyers. He gave me names of people and organizations that could help me and offered to make introductory calls to clear the way for me.
The SCORE counselors can also be your coaches, setting goals and tasks and making sure you have the resources to accomplish them, following up to make sure you do. This really helps when you hit a bump in the road or get tired, or if you start running out of steam.
The volunteer counselors are accomplished business people who have already attained success in many fields and have far-ranging experience. They help not only from their own knowledge base, but are also often able to put you in touch with their connections, people and organizations with which they have developed relationships over time. How is that for extended networking?
Don’t hesitate to get to know SCORE and its people to find out how they can help you with your transition plans. Go to www.scorechicago.org to see all the resources SCORE offers. From their website, you can learn about the free counseling they offer at their more than 25 locations in the Chicago area and find useful links to other business sites. If a blog is part of your business plan, lots of good information is available at Web 2.0 for a Small Business. Take advantage of this great resource.