This past week, 15 business owners attended a SCORE workshop on developing a business plan. The Southern Maryland Chapter, which stretches from Anne Arundel to St. Mary’s County, is trying to gain more mentors to serve entrepreneurs.

Lynn Brenner wants to launch her new business next year, but first she has to boil her mission statement down to 30 words.

The Annapolis resident has been using the resources of the nonprofit SCORE to make her Blue Heron Bridal shop a reality. The mentors she gained there have linked her with accountants and workshops that will help her shift from a marketing career into a business she can call her own.

“I did some research on it and I realized how economically sound the bridal business is,” Brenner said. “I wanted to do something different. I wanted to go to work every day. … I wanted to have control over it and I wanted to work for myself.”

Nationwide, the nonprofit SCORE wants to assist 1 million new business by 2020.

To help it reach its goal, the Southern Maryland Chapter, which stretches from Anne Arundel to St. Mary’s County, is trying to gain more mentors to serve entrepreneurs like Brenner.

So far, the chapter has 35 mentors and advertisements announcing these recruitment efforts have been placed at area libraries and other public facilities.

“(Mentoring) has made my retirement years very meaningful,” membership chairman Ray Robertson said. The Severna Park resident previously worked at Verizon and counts Pilates on the Bay and Passionate Care & Claws among his clients.

“The business world was good to me, so I have used SCORE as a means to give back to the businesses.”

Michael Kushner agreed. An adjunct professor at Catholic University, he has been involved with SCORE for three years after previously working at Westinghouse.

“Like most people involved, I retired out of the industry and just wanted to give back,” said Kushner, who helped several startups launch in California. “This was my hobby where ever I was working, and I made a second career out of it.”

This past week, the organization hosted a daylong workshop on developing a business plan. Held at the Anne Arundel Economic Development Corp. facility in Annapolis, it reached capacity with 15 participants.

Kushner led them through a 28-page manual geared toward guiding them to the early years of their business. The workshop will not be offered again until next year, and organizers are looking at ways to create a curriculum for participants, Kushner said.

  1. Eve Hurwitz turned to the SCORE workshop because she and her business partner now have to hire staff and wanted to know the best way to do that. Their Bad Ass Business Services helps new firms get off the ground by providing financial and information technology services.

“Even though we’ve been in business for a year, you’re in startup phase for a couple of years,” Hurwitz said.

“We’re still forming our core mission, so being able to talk about it gave me ideas I hadn’t really thought of and let me look at my business in another way.”

Over the years, Kushner’s had workshop participants get overwhelmed with the level of detail needed in their business plan, but it is necessary. He encourages them to develop a mission statement that is no longer than 30 words.

“People get enamored with an idea and they think they have the best idea, different than anybody else’s,” Kushner said, adding that won’t matter if the message is too long.

“More than anything else, one of the things we need to do is get our students to focus on objectives and their goals. Having a mission statement that is concise begins to force that focusing.”

Key Topics

Annapolis’ SCORE on the Hunt for More Mentors