3 Hacks to Better Leverage SCORE Resources
There is a plethora of free business advice in the universe but sorting through to find the best content can be tedious. It’s smart to make a plan of attack when it comes to the business resources you do seek.
The SCORE Twin Cities Chapter recently spoke with Melissa Harrison , owner of marketing agency Allee Creative, who understands this well. As an entrepreneur and SCORE Workshop presenter, Melissa shares some hacks to focus on the best use of your time.
Focus on networking
SCORE Mentors sees over than 340,000 attendees across over 10,000 local workshops. The Twin Cities Chapter alone put on over 200 workshops and serviced over 6,000 attendees in 2022.
But there are benefits of attending SCORE workshops which extend beyond learning content itself. It’s about connecting and making relationships. Like any networking opportunity, Melissa says to approach it with a plan.
“Workshops are great opportunities for connections and conversation,” she says. Melissa’s virtual workshops have been helping local entrepreneurs around the state of Minnesota improve their marketing acumen.
“I love when business owners reach out to me afterwards. I will also answer any question that comes up from the crowd. Marketing moves fast and not everything's going to be on a slide that I have.”
And this connection isn’t only meaningful for the business advice, sometimes you need to know you’re not alone.
“As business owners, when you talk to other people that are in a similar boat as you it’s inspiring. Sure, I have this expertise on the marketing and the biz development side of things, but at the end of the day, I'm learning things from that person too.”
Focus on resources that will help you work through frustrations.
Melissa has experienced her share of navigating the highs and lows of business ownership.
“I have owned my own agency for 16 years,” says Melissa. “When I started out it was just me, and then moved to having contractors then I brought on my first W2 employees. At our height, we had 15 full-time employees.”
Melissa and Allee Creative have seen incredible success. She was awarded 2022 Notable Leader in Marketing from Twin Cities Business Magazine and she is widely recognized internationally for her expertise as a speaker at industry conferences. But like many businesses, Allee Creative was impacted by the pandemic. In 2020 Melissa made the difficult decision to reduce her team.
“You will get frustrated and will want to throw in the towel,” says Melissa. “But the key to dealing with the low points in business, is to work through frustrations.”
She recommends that you carve out time to do some education or seek a mentor.
“Figure out where, in either your week or in your month, that will work for you. Make sure that you’re tasking yourself with things that are for the betterment of the business. Spend time educating yourself -- like staying on top of trends, whatever industry you are in.”
Schedule yourself a retreat.
Melissa also recommends setting time for yourself once a year as a business owner.
“Schedule yourself a day or a weekend retreat time to think about your business plan. Update your marketing plan. Write those things down,” she says. “I always do mine in November.”
There are templates from SCORE, such as How to do a Brand Audit and 12-Month Marketing Plan Guide to help you with this planning. For local business owners, the Minnesota SCORE Client Resource Guide offers links more templates and resources around the State of Minnesota.
Or you can catch up on webinars you may have missed, like this one on Creating a Strategic Plan.
Melissa emphasizes that this works best when you change environments.
“Remove yourself from where you normally do your day-to-day work to refresh and regroup.”
SCORE For the Life of Your Business
The great thing about SCORE is there are resources for every stage of your business. Blogs, webinars, on demand courses, templates – even specific hubs by ethnic cohort and industry.
And of course, at SCORE if you need more 1-on-1 direction, there is always mentorship.