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According to Steve Jobs, “Creativity is just connecting things. When you ask creative people how they did something, they feel a little guilty because they didn’t really do it, they just saw something. It seemed obvious to them after a while. That’s because they were able to connect experiences they’ve had and synthesize new things.”

I would have liked to have met Steve Jobs. Jobs was far from perfect. People who knew him and worked for him thought he was a jerk or worse — demeaning and nasty. On the other hand, Jobs was thought of as brilliant and a visionary and even worshiped by some. The adjectives go north and south from there. In my opinion, the cornerstone to Steve Jobs’ success was his creativity.

Perhaps you can learn from him, I sure have. Our chapter has used creativity, probably my best attribute, to make the Manasota chapter of SCORE the No. 1 chapter in the country. I had lots of help from many talented members. Here are 14 programs created in the past several years:

295 Business SCORE Card small-business columns appearing in the Herald-Tribune’s Business Weekly section every Monday for more than five years. Yes, this column.

Been There, Done That! with Dennis Zink is a nationally syndicated business podcast series. It was named SCORE’s official podcast series six years ago. Eighty-two small-business podcasts on various small business topics are available 24/7. Download these free podcasts from iTunes, Stitcher Radio, Google Play,,, Society Bytes Radio, and other distribution channels. This podcast series was recently named “Top 25 CEO Audio Podcasts & Radio You Must Subscribe and Listen to in 2019” by

SCORE Business TV provides a forum for the discussion of small business issues and client success stories. Thus far, 12 shows have been produced with topics such as buying and selling a business, obtaining credit, franchising, social media, SEO, cybersecurity, active shooter and client-mentor success stories.

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Success Strategies for Business Owners workshops and seminars offered through These workshops cover a wide variety of small business topics. They are popular with in business clients as well as startups.

The Library Series — This series of workshops was implemented four years ago to bring themed small business education to local libraries in Manatee and Sarasota counties. The Library series was branded under the umbrella of Success Strategies for Business Owners.

The CEO Roundtable program offers confidential monthly meetings (on a repeating date/time of the month) under the auspices of the Manatee Chamber of Commerce and the Venice Chamber of Commerce. These meetings are facilitated by certified SCORE Mentors. Up to a dozen participating company CEOs (chamber members) are vetted prior to admission to a group. There is a nominal annual fee paid to the chamber. Criteria for admission include: CEO’s in business for at least two years; at least one employee; a profitable business. There are currently four groups with more planned for early next year in Sarasota.

Exit Strategy initiative — Utilizing the Exit Strategy Canvas tool developed by SCORE Manasota, our 12-member team of Exit Strategists co-mentor with Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) to help in-business clients develop a strategy for exiting their business. The team also works with entrepreneurs who may want to buy a business.

Elevator Pitch — A one-page elevator pitch helps executives explain their business succinctly before they reach the top floor.

Business Model Canvas — The Manasota chapter was one of the first SCORE chapters to use the BMC as a tool and pre-cursor to a business plan. We continue to use the as a BMC tool. The chapter walks the talk by using the BMC for our own chapter.

The Business Walks — Working with Manatee County Neighborhood Services, SCORE Mentors walk four strategic business corridors annually, visiting 100 local businesses in one day. Each route has a SCORE Mentor and a county and chamber representative. The purpose is to expose business to the many services available in our community.

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M&Ms — More Mentors, More Services — This strategy was implemented to make SCORE mentors aware of the doubling in chapter mentoring requests. In order to handle these new clients, we recruited more mentors to provide more services. Our goal of 100 mentors was reached within two years.

The Professional Business Directory — This directory is designed to list local businesses in the community by category. Every listing is recommended by a SCORE Mentor.

Simple Booklet — Simple booklet provides a free cloud-based gallery of chapter brochures and tools. We now have much of our educational materials online at little to no cost.

A Guide to Doing Business in Florida — This guide was created by the SCORE Naples chapter and was abandoned because it was out-of-date. The Manasota chapter updated and printed the booklet with the help of funding from the Gulf Coast Community Foundation.

Our educational teachings use state-of-the-art internet-based training and include: web design, search engine optimization (SEO), content creation and re-purposing, social media, Google My Business, Constant Contact, LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google Analytics and other business tools.

Most important is that these programs are designed to help you succeed in your business.

Thank you Steve Jobs, from all of us.

Dennis Zink is an Exit Strategist, business analyst and consultant. A certified mentor and chapter chairman of SCORE Manasota, Dennis created and hosts “Been There, Done That! with Dennis Zink,” ( a nationally syndicated business podcast series and “SCORE Business TV” ( He facilitates CEO roundtables for the Manatee and Venice chambers of commerce. Dennis created the Exit Strategy Canvas and Exit Strategy Roadmap program that provides real-world methodology for business equity realization. Email him at [email protected] 

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