News From Terre Haute, Indiana

Business

October 23, 2011

Business advice: SCORE provides free counseling services, ‘expert opinions’

TERRE HAUTE — Even well-established Terre Haute companies — such as Neoteric Hovercraft — can benefit from the depth of business experience offered by SCORE, the Service Corps of Retired Executives.

The Terre Haute SCORE chapter, which operates out of Duke Energy-provided offices at 301 Home Ave., recently offered valuable business advice to Neoteric, a long-established maker of hovercraft located in Terre Haute.

Neoteric executives contacted SCORE when the hovercraft makers were trying to decide whether to jump through all of the costly and time-consuming hoops required to become part of the federal government’s General Services Administration pricing system. Becoming part of the GSA would allow Neoteric to more easily sell hovercraft to government entities, but it also comes with a great deal of red tape.

In the end, two SCORE volunteers, retired executives Tom Tucker and Bob McLaughlin, recommended against Neoteric joining the GSA system at this time. It was advice Neoteric did not have to follow, but they did.

“We needed a third party, expert opinion and that’s what they provided for us,” said Ralph Weas, business manager at Neoteric, which is across from Ben Franklin School on Tippecanoe Street in Terre Haute. “They were very helpful.”

Tucker and McLaughlin worked with Neoteric for a combined period of more than 40 hours, McLaughlin said. Weighing the pros and cons of joining the GSA system was a “tough decision,” he said.

The business counseling services provided by SCORE, which is a nonprofit organization with headquarters in Virginia, is free of charge.

The organization is a business partner with the U.S. Small Business Administration, which provides $800 annually to the local chapter. Duke Energy donates the office space, utilities and equipment, McLaughlin noted.

Neoteric Hovercraft, while a long-established company, is still essentially a small business, Weas noted. The company has only about 12 employees at its multi-building facility. Most of its building space is used for the production of new hovercraft, which the company sells around the world.

In addition to years of business experience, SCORE volunteers also retain dozens of valuable business contacts. In that regard, SCORE was able to help Neoteric, Weas said.

“You think you can get on the Internet and get all the answers,” Weas said. “But you can’t.”

Neoteric customizes its hovercraft for its customers, who include emergency rescue agencies, recreational and commercial users, Weas said.

“Most of our business is still overseas,” Weas said, adding the company has sold hovercraft to buyers in more than 50 counties including Sweden, Finland, China, Russia, Italy and South Korea.

At some point, Neoteric may make the jump into the GSA system. For now, however, the costs appear to outweigh the benefits. In making that difficult decision, SCORE was a valuable resource.

“With [SCORE], you’re getting an honest, third-party opinion from people who have been in business for years and years,” Weas said. “These guys can walk into a business and see right away what’s going on.”

So what’s in it for the SCORE volunteers?

“We’re all retired,” McLaughlin said. “You know, when you’re retired, you’ve still got to keep busy.”

Last year, the Terre Haute SCORE chapter, which is open between 9 a.m. and noon Monday through Friday, saw about 75 clients. This year, the organization has only seen between 45 and 50, McLaughlin said.

SCORE is not a source for loans or capital, it simply provides business advice. The organization does its best work with clients who have a clear business plan in mind, McLaughlin said.

“That’s where we really do a lot of good,” he said. “I get a lot of satisfaction out of it.”

The Terre Haute SCORE offices can be contacted at (812) 231-6763.

Arthur Foulkes can be reached at (812) 231-4232 or arthur.foulkes@tribstar.com.

 

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
Business
Latest News
TribStar.com Poll
AP Video
Raw: Leopard Bites Man in India Raw: Man Fatally Shot During Police Standoff Bon Jovi Helps Open Low-income Housing in Philly 'Piles' of Bodies in South Sudan Slaughter S.C. Man Apologizes for Naked Walk in Wal-Mart Chief Mate: Crew Told to Escape After Passengers Stowaway Teen Forces Review of Airport Security Raw: Royal Couple Tours Uluru in Australia 'Miss Meadows' Takes Holmes Back to Her Roots New Yorkers Celebrate Cherry Blossom Blooms Pipeline Opponents Protest on National Mall Raw: Tesla Delivers First China Cars Hagel Gets Preview of New High-tech Projects Raw: Sinkhole Swallows Part of Fla. Yard David Moyes Out As Manchester United Manager Biden: Russia Must Stop Talking, Start Acting New Country Music Hall of Fame Inductees Named Mayor Rob Ford Launches Re-election Campaign Hong Kong Residents Help Create Green Roofs Raw: MN Lakes Still Frozen Before Fishing Opener
NDN Video
Viral: It's Not Pitbull - It's Amy Poehler! Recycling Highlights for Earth Day Stephen Colbert Dishes With Letterman #myNYPD backfires for NYPD New HBO Go Commercials Capture Awkward Family TV Watching Raw: Leopard Bites Man in India Rise of the Milkbots Jenna Dewan-Tatum Strips Down TRENDING: Brian Williams Raps 'Gin and Juice' on ‘Tonight Show’ Middle School heroes rescue students from burning bus WHOPPER OF FISHING STORY: Florida man catches massive Mako shark Maks Chmerkovskiy's "DWTS" Meltdown The many faces of Mike Woodson Ape Builds A Fire And Toasts Marshmallows In Amazing BBC Video Manchester Utd sack manager David Moyes "RHOA's" Dramatic Brawl High school, College Drug Ring Busted In Montgomery County High Court to Hear Dispute of TV Over Internet Raw: Keflezighi, Jeptoo Win Boston Marathon Teen hitchhikes in wheel well of flight from California to Hawaii
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
  • -

     

    March 12, 2010

activity