When Becky Willard left what she describes as a toxic corporate environment, she wasn’t sure what to do next. “After much prayer and reflection, I moved to a neighboring state and decided to start a company doing what I love,” she says. Willard launched Beacon Grace, a technology and consulting firm specializing in supply chain operations to help business grow.
She started her firm with limited financial resources, which meant instead of hiring a salesperson or other skilled professionals right away, she had to do it all herself.
Willard turned to SCORE for help writing a business plan and preparing to apply for a loan. She met volunteer mentor Bob Jones, who reviewed her plan and helped her use a financial planning tool. Beyond advising on business-building strategies, Willard says Jones also listens and provides ongoing, encouraging support.
“I am probably luckier than most in that the SCORE office is located a few offices down the hall from mine,” Willard says. “Although Bob is only in two or three days a week, I find it convenient that I can stop by for both simple and more complex talks.” Instead of scheduling a meeting every couple of weeks and worrying that she’ll forget a topic she needs to discuss, Willard has appreciated having her mentor nearby for frequent conversations.
Willard recalls a time when she asked Jones a business question for which he didn’t have experience. Jones didn’t have an answer, but reached out to other SCORE volunteers for insight. “It is great to know I can tap into other expertise held by other members based on special needs or questions, Willard says.