Central Illinois Business Magazine
BUSINESS NOW          December 2016

ECI-SCORE - Your Success Is Our Success! Build your dream with SCORE


Emmie Fisher

By Emmie Fisher
CEO of DEMACO, Inc.

The ultimate rush! What pursuit can make you work harder and longer than everyone else and scares you awake at night? What same pursuit can be exhilarating and provide satisfaction and rewards beyond your wildest dreams? The answer? Starting a business. You are the boss. You are responsible for every aspect of your company. It's your baby and you make all the decisions.

A prospective entrepreneur starts with idea for an innovative product, an unmet need, or a better way to do things. The prospective entrepreneur dares to take a risk to be on her or his own. But an idea or dream does not automatically translate into a business. And ECI-SCORE will be your partner, your advocate and mentor, guiding you in proven ways to start and build your business intelligently.

ECI-SCORE is a local nonprofit organization under the umbrella of National SCORE. We are partially funded by the United States Congress. Our ECI chapter provides services throughout a 17-county region. Experienced executives, entrepreneurs, and community experts provide one-on-one mentoring and lead educational workshops in business basics such as "Starting Your Business," "Financing Your Business," "Writing a Business Plan," and "Your Non-profit Business."

Mentoring sessions are free, and confidential. When you make a request for SCORE services, our schedulers match you with a mentor who will be a good fit for your specific needs. Do you need help in how to incorporate? We'll review the range of business structures available for companies in Illinois. Do you need to borrow money to get started? We'll show you how to build a good financial plan in order to apply for a bank loan. We are here to guide the entrepreneur in building a workable action plan with tools in which to develop marketing strategies, to identify and grow customer and client bases, and to identify what is involved with hiring employees or managing volunteers.

Our certified SCORE mentors come from a wide variety of backgrounds and skills. They are or were entrepreneurs and/or executives in their companies. Almost half of our volunteers are still in the workforce on a full time or part time basis. We know practical and proven business strategies and can point you to other resources to help you get started if you're new. And we can jump start your existing small business when you hit a snag or are ready to go to the next level.

SCORE volunteers are certified and trained in effective mentoring techniques. A SCORE mentor is a sounding board for you to articulate your business aspirations. Your mentor will help guide you through the hurdles. We have access to many resources from the SCORE National organization. And we are connected to many community resources in banking, law, accounting, nonprofits, and business. We work with the Small Business Administration to help clients apply for business loans, including quick start-up micro-loans. Our mentors' experiences and expertise help clients focus and prioritize their ideas in order to "start smart".

We are fortunate to have the Champaign County Chamber of Commerce as a partner. The Chamber provides in-kind goods and services to support our activities. The Business College at Eastern Illinois University also provides office space for our Charleston Branch. Our local sponsors include banks, attorneys, CPA firms and office suppliers. We thank them for their sponsorships and support of SCORE clients.

We need you and you need us! Each one of us has the potential to change our life and impact the economic health in our community through business ownership.

Do you want to start a business or tweak your existing business? SCORE will help you identify steps to increase profits, improve your customer base, and realign marketing strategies. Contact us at: 217-359-1791 or at https://core.score.org

Want to receive emails for business presentations, webinars, workshops, and funding opportunities? Get on our email list by contacting Lindsay Quick at: LindsayQ@champaigncounty.org

Want to volunteer? Once upon a time, I called SCORE to start a business. Now it is my pleasure to help someone just as SCORE helped me in 1987. To volunteer to be a SCORE mentor, call or email: Stephanie McCullough 217-359-1791, StephanieM@champaigncounty.org.

BIO: Emmie Fisher is the co-founder, President and CEO of DEMACO, Inc, a cutting-edge software development firm. She joined SCORE in 2012 as a Certified Mentor and currently serves as the ECI-SCORE Chapter Chairman.



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