This week, for Episode #47, we welcome Mr. David Broner, a volunteer for SCORE, which is a part of the U.S. Small Business Administration. Through SCORE, David works with new and established entrepreneurs and business owners on all kinds of issues relevant to starting, growing, and maintaining their companies. Working with a SCORE volunteer is completely free.
Welcome to this week’s episode of the YB2C Live! Podcast for Entrepreneurs and Small Business Owners. Every week we discuss the entrepreneurial journey, including interviews with business owners of all sizes from Detroit and all over the world who share their stories to give you inspiration, motivation, and tips for overcoming challenges and achieving success for your business.
This week, for Episode #47, we welcome Mr. David Broner, a volunteer for SCORE, which is a part of the U.S. Small Business Administration. Through SCORE, David works with new and established entrepreneurs and business owners on all kinds of issues relevant to starting, growing, and maintaining their companies. Working with a SCORE volunteer is completely free. Below you will find an unedited summary of this week’s recorded podcast interview.
Pamela Owens: This week, for episode 47, I’d like to welcome Mr. David Broner of SCORE. I want him to tell us first of all, in case you don’t know what SCORE is. Tell us a little bit about SCORE, David.
David Broner: Okay, Pam. So, SCORE, we are the volunteers at the Small Business Administration. In the United States, there are over 300 SBA offices and out of each office, there’s a contingent. In Detroit, we have 60 people for the tri-county area. In the United States, there are 11,000 volunteers.
Pamela Owens: Oh wonderful. So you’re all volunteers?
David Broner: We’re all volunteers.
Pamela Owens: Great. So, SCORE is from the Small Business Administration. Tell us, David, a little bit about your background before you retired.
David Broner: Okay, Pam. My background, before I retired, we own a wholesale distribution business, which is still, now in the fourth generation. My daughter and my son are managing and owning it.
Pamela Owens: Oh, that’s great.
David Broner: We had two divisions. One of them, Broner Incorporated, provides hats and gloves to retailers all over the United States. Our other division is called Broner Glove and Safety and we provide anything that the worker would need on a job site or in a plant so that he does not get hurt.
Pamela Owens: Oh. So, all those safety clothing type things?
David Broner: Yeah, from goggles to respirators to boots and gloves, eyeglasses, anything that a person would have to wear in order not to get hurt. That’s what we provide.
Pamela Owens: Oh great. So, you said it’s a fourth-generation. So, you … ?
David Broner: My grandfather, originally with my father, in 1933-
Pamela Owens: Wow.
David Broner: -Began the business, right after the Depression. Not a good time, but they struggled and figured it out.
Pamela Owens: Oh great. So where is it located? Or where did it start?
David Broner: It started in Highland Park, Michigan.
Pamela Owens: Wow. Okay.
David Broner: And we moved to Detroit, bought a building on Linwood, across from Central High School.
Pamela Owens: Wow. Okay. That’s my old stomping grounds.
David Broner: Mine too. That’s where I grew up.
Then we moved to Ferndale. Then we expanded to Detroit, Michigan. For the last, I think, 18 years, the company is now in Auburn Hills, Michigan.
Pamela Owens: Wow. That’s some expansion. That’s great. That’s a great story, starting right there in the Depression.
I started my business in 2008, right smack in the middle of the Great Recession. Getting ready to celebrate my 10th year in business, so it is possible. It is possible.
David Broner: Takes work.
Pamela Owens: Exactly. Exactly.
Why did you decide, after you retired and everything, to become a volunteer for SCORE?
David Broner: As you all know, oftentimes family businesses can be complicated, and I observed many that didn’t go well. I figured by the time, I only had one job, Pam, my whole life and that was helping and running the business, and I decided when I was 70, I was gonna let my kids own. We figured out how we could transfer ownership so I could go find another career or another situation.
I read a book, which sort of inspired me, and it was sort of … I think the name of the book was Rewire, Don’t Retire.
Pamela Owens: Oh. Oh, I’ll have to remember that.
David Broner: Very in depth. I thought she wrote the book to me directly. Anyway, I sort of took a lot of the ideas. Somebody asked me if I would like to go to a SCORE meeting, and I didn’t know what it was, but this person and I went to the meeting and I learned what they were doing and I liked a lot of the people that were volunteers and I became pretty active.
Pamela Owens: Exactly. Exactly. Exactly. So tell me what a usual day for you is when you’re working with SCORE.
David Broner: Most of the appointments that we have are set, let’s say at one of our offices. we have offices in Detroit Northwest Activity Center. We have an office in Ferndale, we have an office in the Federal Building, downtown Detroit. We have an office in Oakland County. We meet people at coffee shops or at libraries. We really sit down with people and listen to their stories. It’s all about them and what they’re trying to accomplish. Most entrepreneurs are lonely.
Pamela Owens: Yes.
David Broner: They can’t go home and just talk to their husband or wife about it, or they don’t want to tell their friends that they’re having a challenge, but we understand because we were there. A lot of the things we’ve suffered, they suffer.
Pamela Owens: Exactly. Exactly.
David Broner: Anyways, we try to look at the opportunities and try to help them move their businesses or their ideas forward.
Pamela Owens: What resources do you offer people, especially people who are not as realistic as they should be, about what going into business is all about?
David Broner: Well, there’s a reality out there, but we try to … Because people need to dream, and I think, oftentimes, their dream can come true. But, if they don’t have the capital to begin with, they may wanna wait. If they haven’t really done the research, they may wanna wait.
So, the beauty of SCORE is that each one of our volunteers comes with a different set of talent, you could say. If it’s somebody who needs help in marketing and I can’t help them, I will bring another SCORE person in.
I didn’t say anything about sales, but if you’re not able to talk to people and build relationships, you’re gonna struggle. If you think you can build a relationship just through email or just through social media, the best way is really eyeball-to-eyeball, where you can feel, and you can get all the vibrations from that client. The negative feedback is good too. You then know what to adjust, and some of the challenges, if you don’t face them, you’re gonna be kidding yourself in the long run. Making those sales efforts, whether you or somebody in your organization, needs to be doing that part of the work.
Pamela Owens: Right. Everybody needs, they have a problem or challenge that needs solving. That’s what you do.
David, this has been absolutely wonderful. I so enjoyed it. For my listeners, David and I have known each other for several years. As David said, he goes around the city, meeting people in different places, but here at the Green Garage Detroit, that’s one of his mobile offices. He’s here several times a week. We really appreciate it, again, for the networking and for the introductions.
David Broner: Pam, can I just leave … if somebody’s interested in reaching out to SCORE, they would go on the web to Detroit.SCORE.org.
Pamela Owens: Okay, great.
David Broner: There’s a place that you can click, that says, “I want to find a mentor” or even if you want to become a volunteer, you can click the tab that says “Want to be a volunteer?”
Pamela Owens: Okay, great.
David Broner: Thank you.
Pamela Owens: Thank you so much. All of the information will be on our show notes when we publish this interview, next Monday. Again. Thank you for being a wonderful, wonderful guest. Thank you for being a wonderful, wonderful person and doing this on a volunteer basis for companies who really, really, really need your help and individuals who really need your help. Thank you so much, David.
David Broner: That was fun.
Detroit Office of SCORE: click to volunteer or to find a SCORE mentor.
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