Group strives to launch would-be small business owners in Kansas

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Lunsford speaks to entrepreneurs at K-State’s First Friday conference

MANHATTAN, Kansas – If there’s one thing that connects small businesses in Kansas and the country, it’s this: their business probably started with someone’s big idea.

Ron Lunsford is one of a group of volunteers who hope to help entrepreneurs capitalize on this initial passion. He is the workshop chair for the Wichita chapter of SCORE, a nonprofit organization that provides mentoring and other free help to Kansas small business owners.

Lunsford was the guest speaker on October 1 in K-State Research and Extension’s monthly online series, First Friday e-Calls, which helps grow small businesses and inspire entrepreneurship in Kansas.

Nationally, “SCORE has over 10,000 volunteers who dedicate their time, ideas and energy to helping people start a business or improve an existing one,” Lunsford said.

Many of these volunteers have been successful executives themselves, he said. They share their experience through free seminars, workshops and ongoing mentoring. Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, these services have been online only, “but we hope to return soon to where we can do face-to-face mentoring,” Lunsford said.

“We will work with you to develop your business plan,” he said. “If that doesn’t seem like your goals, we’ll suggest other markets or help you find ways to improve your profitability.

Lunsford stressed the importance of the business plan. He said statistics confirm the fact that after two years 76% of small businesses are successful, but those numbers drop to 62% after three years and 50% after five years.

“If you come up with a business plan, it can guide you through the process and help you make decisions,” Lunsford said. “This is the way to make your efforts more productive. ”

In addition to developing a business plan, Lunsford said the Wichita Chapter of SCORE can help business owners make a variety of related decisions, including:

  1. Development of an economic model.
  2. Accounting practices.
  3. Insurance and risk management.
  4. Patents and trademarks.
  5. Legal structure of the company.
  6. Information and preparation of the loan.
  7. Marketing strategies.
  8. Social media.

SCORE advisors can advise on key decisions such as working from home or renting an office; sell your product online; pricing; hire employees; and much more.

“And we’ll ask if you have a family that supports your business,” Lunsford said. “Don’t go into a small business unless you have the full support of your family because you need it. ”

Founded in 1964, SCORE is headquartered in Herndon, Virginia. Its website reports that it has over 300 chapters nationwide, offering expertise in 62 industries. Lunsford said SCORE is a resource partner for the US Small Business Administration, from which it receives some funding.

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