SCORE offers 'Building Blocks' workshops

Throughout the year, SCORE Norwalk holds numerous lectures and meetings aimed at promoting the small business aspirations of Fairfield County residents in various locations across the area. Beginning next week, the organization will present a series of five workshops at Wilton Library called Five Building Blocks for Growth for your Small Business. The series is co-sponsored by the library and the Wilton Chamber of Commerce.

The workshops will run on Wednesdays on a bi-weekly basis from the first meeting on Jan. 22 to March 26. Each takes place at the library and begins at 6 p.m., lasting two hours. Varying topics will be discussed on each night.

On Jan. 22, SCORE Norwalk professional counselor John Harmon will be the workshop’s lead speaker. Mr. Harmon is the managing director of Adulant Consulting Services, which advises small- and medium-size businesses on growth and operational capabilities.

He has been involved in major corporations, including Kodak and Pitney Bowes, and has operated his own small business for the past 15 years.

“Both on the big business side, and on my consulting side, I’ve learned some of the important things in running a business and how to apply that to a small business,” he said.

He volunteers with SCORE, he said, because it allows him to spread some of his business knowledge while also learning more and more about business himself.

“First of all, I want to try and give back the best I can, and obviously giving back is based on what I’ve done before. Selfishly, I learn more about small business serving as a volunteer and as a paid consultant. It broadens my experience,” he said.

Mr. Harmon will help present information that will allow small business owners to assess their business with a generalized lens. Rather than looking at their business as an Italian restaurant, or a specialized marketing firm, Mr. Harmon said, it’s important to look at one’s company as simply a business.

“It’s our experience that many small business owners don’t necessarily know some of the basics of running a business, as opposed to knowing their own industry or technology,” Mr. Harmon said last Friday. “Their individual expertise might be great on running a restaurant, or offering home care services, or operating some kind of marketing agency or firm, but they may not know the basics of running a business.”

In order to help participants learn the basic tenets of business operations, Mr. Harmon has put together a study of the business knowledge of local companies, which he will present at the workshop.

“One thing we cover are the results of an assessment we’ve done of 35 to 40 business and what we’ve learned about what they know and don’t know about running a business,” Mr. Harmon said.

The workshops are directed toward those who already own and operate some sort of company, whether they’ve just opened up shop or have been in business for 20 years.

“They’ll learn something,” Mr. Harmon said. “And, depending upon the amount of time they’ve been in business, they’ll learn a lot more.”

Following the organization’s first workshop on assessment, the library will host the following Building Block sessions:

• Feb. 12: Strategic Marketing

• Feb. 26: How to Succeed at Sales

• March 12: Building a Winning Plan for Growth

• March 26: Tools to Improve Your Business

All are welcome to attend. Registration through scorenorwalk.org is required. For information on Mr. Harmon’s consulting firm, visit adulantservices.com.