Maybe your small business can score with SCORE when the group's Tulsa chapter hosts a Grow Your Business Boot Camp for small businesses on Saturday.

Nearly half of small business startups fail within the first five years, according to federal data. So getting all the experienced help you can find makes perfect business sense for owners of fledgling startups.

Deborah Carr, UPS Store franchise owner in Tulsa Hills, will attend the seminar at Tulsa Technology Center's Lemley Campus. She wants to learn how to jump-start her business — to pick up the tools and techniques to apply to her shipping business.

"SCORE has helped me tremendously in various aspects of starting my business," Carr said. "We recently worked on financial management when we sat down and looked over my expenses: Where can we cut costs? Where can we do things differently?

"So in doing that I thought let's work on the bigger picture and signed up for the workshop."

Carr has owned the franchise for four years and is a graduate of the U.S. Postal Service with "hands-on experience in shipping."

"The post office was doing a RIF (reduction in force). They were downsizing and giving people packages to leave, so I left." She put her severance package money into her private shipping business and is now happy as a horned lark postage stamp.

"It was a good fit as I was familiar with the industry, and I just went from one arena to another. Except this is a little more hands-on as I'm not in some noisy mail-processing area. I'm out front meeting customers, packing their items, and shipping them out," Carr said. She heard about the seminar through a UPS Store email, as the chain is partnered with SCORE and the Small Business Administration.

Cal Morris, SCORE Tulsa chapter chairman, said the seminar will cover how to find and fix what's broken to make your business more profitable, as well as proven strategies for growing sales and moving your business to the next level. Organizing your plan, using financial statements to manage cash flow and managing operations are also on the agenda.

"This one-day business-boosting program is presented by eight seasoned, skilled executives from the Tulsa business community who managed businesses, pushed business turnarounds, and developed growth strategies," Morris said. "These seminars usually come with participation fees, but Sam's Club is picking up the tab."

In the past year, 1,300 area residents have attended the group's seminars, and 1,000 have come to the SCORE office or gotten online for individual counseling, coordinator James Killerlain said. The organization charges $125 to $225 for most seminars, but Sam's Club is sponsoring this one, making it free to participants.

SCORE no longer stands for Service Corps of Retired Executives as most of its volunteers are not retired, Morris said.

"We have such a mix now of working and retired people — probably 60 percent retired — but the rest are still working. We have working CPAs, working attorneys, a franchise specialist, general business management, finance, sales, production, purchasing, Internet marketing, and website development," he said. "Tulsa SCORE has 30 volunteers 65 percent retired and the rest still working at area businesses."

Members' backgrounds include holding executive and managerial positions in a variety of industries. Many have experience with small business ownership. They volunteer to share their experience with others planning to start businesses or needing advice on managing existing businesses. Call the local chapter at 918-581-7462.

SCORE's mentors provide clients with free and confidential business counseling. Counseling can be conducted at the client's place of business, at the chapter headquarters, by telephone, or via email.

The U.S. Small Business Administration also gives financial, technical, and management assistance to help people start, run and grow small businesses. SCORE is a resource partner with SBA, and the agency administers a congressional grant that funds SCORE.

Morris said the nonprofit educational organization provides free business mentoring services to entrepreneurs in the U.S. Its active and retired business executives and entrepreneurs donate their expertise to mentor small business founders through business workshops.

The Boot Camp series allows local Sam's Club leaders to collaborate with community nonprofits and organizations "to empower local business owners including women, minorities, and veterans to learn new skills and ideas to help their businesses thrive."

Sam's Club Grow Your Business Boot Camp

When: 8:30 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday

Where: Health Science Center of Tulsa Tech, Lemley Campus, 3350 S. Memorial Drive

Phone: 918-629-6561


Cost: Free

Phil Mulkins 918-699-8888


SCORE to help small businesses grow with boot camp event Saturday