The Traits it Takes: Sustaining a Business

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The good news is you’ve started your business. But how do you sustain that business and not become part of the more than 50 percent of small businesses the Small Business Administration says fail within the first five years? We asked Celia Bell, a retired senior executive who volunteers as a SCORE mentor, for her tips on keeping a small business running.

Austin Woman: What characteristics do small-business owners need to succeed?

Celia Bell: To sustain a business, you need perseverance, energy, independence, creativity and flexibility. It also helps to like people and want to establish a relationship with them. The work must give you energy and not sap it.

AW: What kind of consulting does SCORE provide?

CB: We act as mentors, not consultants. The success of the business is entirely the work and creativity of the client.

AW: How did you work with Liz?

CB: Liz came for weekly mentoring sessions for over a year. Her mentoring and support changed from startup needs to marketing, managing and growing a business. Our goal is to be there for the life of your business, so you are always a client of SCORE. We often think of ourselves as board members of your business once it gets started.

AW: How much does it cost to be mentored by SCORE?

CB: All mentoring services are free. SCORE is a national organization funded in part by the SBA.



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