SCORE Chester and Delaware Counties offers more tailored seminars locally than many other Chapters across the 300+ Chapters in the US. During the final 3 months of 2019, the chapter hosted 26 workshops that attracted 482 attendees. That is an increase of 17% over the same period last year and is something to be very proud of! In 2020, there are 60 seminars scheduled on 33 topics across 12 different venues. Both Vic and Frank agree that these seminars are not only an important marketing tool for SCORE and its brand but represent a valuable business resource to clients. Therefore, they would encourage mentors to be aware of the seminar topics available and recommend their clients to review the schedule on the SCORE website.

* Our April Newsletter will highlight speakers and review presentation topics being offered in 2020, including: Blogging for Business by Brandyn Campbell, 7 Cool Things You Can Do with Your Website to Improve Your Sales and Marketing by Cary Baskin; What it Takes to Start and Run a Successful Non-profit by Mike DiLeo; What’s Your Shtick? Personal Branding Online & Off by Lynne Williams; Let’s Talk: Loans to Small Businesses with Assistance from The Small Business Administration (SBA) by Kimberly B. Stout; and How to Create “Killer Content” for Social Media and Your Website by Judith Lee.
 

History

The story of the Speakers Bureau begins with Vic Goldberg, a retired pediatric dentist who started volunteering with SCORE Chester and Delaware Counties in 2002 as a mentor. After a brief hiatus, he returned to the chapter in 2005 and launched a program he titled, "Tailored Seminars". The first program was a partnership with People's Bank in Oxford who invited 40 attendees made up of bank employees and valued customers. The program covered four subjects by a panel of four speakers, and there were many lessons learned. As a result of comments given by the attendees, the seminar concept was reimagined to take advantage of SCORE's unique ability to provide quality business education.
 

 By 2006, a one-subject seminar was hosted again at People's Bank with 50 attendees and presenter, Charlie Espenlaub, spoke on marketing. One memorable moment during the program occurred when attendees were given the opportunity to introduce themselves.  A gentleman, who had been taking copious notes throughout Charlie's talk, stunned the crowd when he announced himself as Ed Herr, and that he was in the potato chip business (i.e., the famous Herr Potato Chip factory in Nottingham...just up the road!).  

Realizing that the seminar format was evolving into a valuable business resource, in 2008 Vic reached out to the directors of local Chambers of Commerce to offer presentations to their membership. In search of more venues, he soon contacted local libraries believing the program could take advantage of their connection to knowledge development and education while helping SCORE to reach a new potential client pool. Partnering with libraries became a successful platform for presenting seminars and is still in use today. Over the years Vic has developed personal relationships with the directors of three Chester County and five Delaware County libraries. Program coordinators of Business and Professional Organizations have also stepped in as bureau partners.

By 2012, the Speakers Bureau was growing in popularity and Vic welcomed the help of SCORE mentor, Frank Millheim, who considers himself the “quality control” of the operation. Both gentlemen recognized that seminar presenters were ambassadors of SCORE, and there was a need for standardizing the presentations while ensuring the message was clear, content helpful, and seminars engaging. The program needed to be consistent with the SCORE brand.

Neither man takes the recruitment and training of speakers lightly. Prior to a presentation being offered to the small business community, speakers go through several review cycles to ensure they are ready to meet the needs of their target audience. Vic and Frank assume the role of a potential client as they work with speakers to make the presentations compelling and relevant to small business owners. The goal is to develop a talk that informs and encourages audience interaction and questions.

As we begin our thirteenth year dedicated to providing practical and relevant education to our local small business communities, Vic shares that we "have made terrific strides, and our program is a key part of our external marketing for the Chapter." He believes the keys to program's success are:

  • Interpersonal relationships with the libraries and chambers of commerce over years
  • Locations that are clearly in a business district, convenient locations for clients and speakers, not too close to adjacent competing libraries for the same content
  • Recruiting new volunteers with experience and knowledge in areas of interest to the community
  • Onboarding, setting clear expectations of the speaker's role, vetting original presentation materials to be relevant to target audience
  • Diversity of the speaker's bureau team: mostly working professionals, mostly women
  • Variety of critical topics to address needs of small businesses (e.g., social media, sales and marketing).

As the seminar program has grown, so has the need for more SCORE volunteers to serve as seminar liaisons. These individuals are onsite during each presentation to ensure the site is prepared and necessary paperwork is distributed. Additionally, the liaison will introduce the speaker, help keep the program moving, and assess the audience questions and evaluations for future program improvements. Although Vic still attends most seminars, new volunteers such as Mike DiLeo (Media-Upper Providence Library), Bob Wingerter (Tredyffrin Library), Horace Scherer (Kennett Library) and Frank (where needed) have assumed the liaison role and deserve thanks for their efforts!

* Our April Newsletter will highlight speakers and review presentation topics being offered in 2020, including: Blogging for Business by Brandyn Campbell, 7 Cool Things You Can Do with Your Website to Improve Your Sales and Marketing by Cary Baskin; What it Takes to Start and Run a Successful Non-profit by Mike DiLeo; What’s Your Shtick? Personal Branding Online & Off by Lynne Williams; Let’s Talk: Loans to Small Businesses with Assistance from The Small Business Administration (SBA) by Kimberly B. Stout; and How to Create “Killer Content” for Social Media and Your Website by Judith Lee.

From Tailored Seminars to the Speakers Bureau—It’s what makes our Chapter Unique!