Steamboat SCORE representative Randall Rudasics, center, listens to the advice of other SCORE volunteers Friday during a meeting at Colorado Mountain College’s Alpine Campus. Business counselors discussed the challenges and opportunities local entrepreneurs face.

Photo by Scott Franz

Steamboat SCORE representative Randall Rudasics, center, listens to the advice of other SCORE volunteers Friday during a meeting at Colorado Mountain College’s Alpine Campus. Business counselors discussed the challenges and opportunities local entrepreneurs face.

SCORE advises Steamboat businesses

Group offers free tips during tough economic climate

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To learn more about Steamboat SCORE and its free business counseling, call Randall Rudasics at 970-870-4491.

— Business counselors in Steam­boat Springs continue to advise potential entrepreneurs about the viability of starting their own businesses in the Yampa Valley despite a lower success rate of new companies during a recession.

Volunteers from Steamboat SCORE, a local nonprofit organization that has been advising small-business owners in Steam­boat since 2003, met Friday at Colorado Mountain College’s Alpine Campus to discuss the challenges and opportunities their clients face.

“In Yampa Valley, more people who are out of work are looking to start their own business,” SCORE volunteer Randall Rud­asics said. “The people we work with are looking to take advantage of a set of skills they have and start a very small business venture.”

Rudasics, who manages CMC’s Bogue Enterprise Center, said it has been more difficult for the clients SCORE has advised during the past couple of years to obtain the capital needed to start a business.

“People are less confident that they can gain enough customers for their business to be successful,” he said. “The funding needed to start a new venture is also more difficult to obtain.”

But that hasn’t stopped SCORE from hosting seminars and workshops designed to help entrepreneurs and even existing businesses map their cash flows and increase their viability in a tougher economic climate.

The SCORE group in Steam­boat consists of 10 volunteers, most of whom are semi-retired executives from Fortune 1,000 companies. Steamboat’s SCORE chapter is part of a larger national organization of 10,500 volunteers.

At their meeting Friday, volunteers stressed how important it was to stay optimistic about their clients’ possibilities. Jack Scott, chairman of Denver’s SCORE group, said a new business requires plenty of patience to succeed.

“The business community is slowly starting to come back,” Scott said. “We have a lot of clients with good propositions, and we need to stay with them until they get capital. That can take a long time, well over a year for some people, but eventually they’re going to get it.”

Scott said SCORE has been growing at a rate of 5 percent a year and has provided free counseling to more than 3,000 people in Colorado this year.

Although SCORE volunteers focus on helping new small businesses thrive, they also advise some people not to start a business.

“We also help people not start a business,” Rudasics said. “We find people whose idea isn’t ready or the funding isn’t available, and we give them advice that leads them to their own conclusion that it’s not time to start a business.”

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