Niles-Maine District Library

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SCORE Business Clients’ Advice: “Seek Guidance, No Need to Go It Alone”

Achieving success as a business entrepreneur is highly fulfilling, but Alicia Schwartz, co-founder of ChattySnaps®, readily acknowledges she and her partner, Annalee Oakley, could not have done it alone.

Schwartz credits the business mentors with SCORE North Cook and Lake Counties Chapter for their guidance and educational support since working with them at the Niles-Maine District Library starting in 2014. Confidential mentoring is available at no charge at the Library, 6960 W. Oakton Street in Niles, IL as well as other locations.

ChattySnaps® buttons are conversation starters, created to get people talking. The product’s patented snap-back design eliminates the use of pins, so no more getting stuck. The product has caught on among businesses and corporations throughout the country. Visit: www.chattysnaps.com

“We have been given tremendous guidance from setting up licensing agreements, contract negotiations, vendor relationships, pricing, and online sales support. Our mentors have brought in other mentors with particular expertise to address various business challenges,” Schwartz recalled.

Judy McNulty, Adult Services Librarian and Business Specialist at the Niles-Maine District Library, notes that SCORE is the “go-to people when planning a small business.”

She adds, “SCORE has proved to be a great partner to the Library by not only mentoring patrons, but also by offering their expertise in library programs such as cash planning, email and internet marketing, and intellectual property.”

“We have hosted SCORE mentors and clients since 2011,” McNulty says. “Much value comes from the ongoing relationship mentors may establish with clients—this could last several months to years.”

Mark Lieberman serves as one of several SCORE mentors who have counselled Schwartz and Oakley.  After many years of running his own businesses, he finds his role most rewarding. He is one of nearly 50 business mentors serving the SCORE North Cook and Lake Counties Chapter.

“Nothing beats working through a few sessions with a client, seeing the client execute whatever was agreed upon, and then having it work,” Lieberman said. “Working” could mean getting a loan, opening a new business, hiring someone, or building a customer base. It could mean abandoning an idea. What’s rewarding is conception and execution. That makes the gamble worthwhile.”

Schwartz, Oakley and Cohen all advise new business owners and those who need to get to the next level to ‘just do it’ when it comes to seeking out mentoring services.

“There is no reason you cannot succeed if you reach out and address the issues to help you achieve success” explained Schwartz.

Interested in starting or growing your small business? Register and schedule mentoring sessions at no charge for as long as the client wishes to participate at northchicago.score.org. The Chapter also offers business seminars throughout the area free of charge. Visit the SCORE website for more information.

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