Getting started

SCORE Bucks County to host two ‘Start a Business’ workshops this fall for aspiring entrepreneurs

By Samantha Bambino

The Times

Every business and invention that we see today, from Wawa and Starbucks to televisions and iPhones, started with individuals who had an idea. They had visions of better ways to do things and discovered gaps in their industry of interest where they could fulfill a need. But their ideas didn’t come to fruition overnight. It took years of planning, research and dedication. On Sept. 25 and Oct. 11, SCORE Bucks County will host two “Start a Business” workshops where modern-day aspiring entrepreneurs can learn how to begin the process of turning their visions into reality.

Open for business: On Sept. 25 and Oct. 11, SCORE Bucks County will host a series of small workshops dedicated to helping aspiring entrepreneurs determine if their business idea is a valuable concept. PHOTO: METRO IMAGES

SCORE Bucks County, a nonprofit organization devoted to the success of small businesses and entrepreneurs, hosts regular events throughout the year. These include a women’s business seminar, which took place at Parx Casino this past summer, 50- to 60-person sales and marketing seminars as well as online webinars.

“We educate the community and look for businesses we can help,” said Donald Goeltz, a SCORE volunteer and certified mentor.

This fall, SCORE is looking to take its services a step further with its first series of smaller “Start a Business” workshops that will be limited to about 25 people. The goal is to provide a more hands-on, interactive approach to learning where attendees feel more comfortable participating. The first will be held on Sept. 25 at the Lower Bucks County Chamber of Commerce, and the second will take place Oct. 11 at Doylestown Borough Hall.

As a successful entrepreneur, Goeltz will lead the workshop discussion. The main topic he will cover is how to take an idea and prove it’s a valuable business concept. Many people have an initial thought for a business and want to hit the ground running, but according to Goeltz, there is a lot involved. The workshop will help aspiring owners look at the smaller but vital details they may not have thought to consider. Who are their target customers? What about competitors in the industry?

“We want people to walk away with something,” Goeltz said. “It’s not just a lecture.”

It’s these details that ultimately make or break a new business. Workshop attendees will learn how to define their business offerings and customers’ needs, have light shed on the types of business partners needed as well as the various resources available. Afterward, if their business idea continues to grow, they’re invited to take advantage of SCORE’s mentoring services to receive further guidance as they move forward.

Those planning to attend can rest assured they’ll be learning from someone who was in their shoes at one point. Goeltz spent much time in the corporate world, but after a number of years decided to embark on a mid-life career switch. Today, he is a successful entrepreneur with several technology-based startup companies to his name.

Goeltz also holds a PhD and has been inspiring young minds as a college professor of entrepreneurship and international business for the past 10 years. During his classes at Holy Family University, his students come up with a business idea to build upon throughout the term. By the end, he said about half the students usually determine their idea isn’t feasible.

“It’s better to know now than later,” Goeltz said.

He has his students think about the practical matters such as copyrighting the name of the business and setting up a bank account. While he’ll touch on these in the workshop as well, it’s more about shaping that initial idea into something that could continue beyond the session.

Goeltz’ final words of advice for aspiring entrepreneurs are simple.

“Don’t get too excited,” he warned.

It’s easy to fall in love with an idea. While enthusiasm is important to stay motivated, Goeltz explained that it needs to be balanced with flexibility and a willingness to alter the idea if needed for it to work. ••

If you go…

SCORE Bucks County’s “Start a Business” workshop will be held on Sept. 25 from 9 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. at Lower Bucks County Chamber of Commerce, 409 Hood Blvd., Fairless Hills and on Oct. 11 from 9 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. at Doylestown Borough Hall, 57 W. Court St., Doylestown.

Cost is $25 per person. Coffee and pastries will be provided.

For more information or to register, visit buckscounty.score.org.

Samantha Bambino can be reached at sbambino@newspapermediagroup.com