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Press release from Business Wire

SMALL BUSINESS BRIEF: Office Depot Small Business Index Finds Nearly Four in Ten Business Owners Believe Having a Mentor Would Boost Their Business

<p class='bwalignc'> <i>SMB Owners' Need for Expert Guidance Prompts Launch of Partnership With NFL Legend and Entrepreneur Fran Tarkenton</i> </p>

Wednesday, May 01, 2013

SMALL BUSINESS BRIEF: Office Depot Small Business Index Finds Nearly Four in Ten Business Owners Believe Having a Mentor Would Boost Their Business

09:00 EDT Wednesday, May 01, 2013

BOCA RATON, Fla. (Business Wire) -- As a long-time supporter of the SMB community, Office Depot (NYSE: ODP), a leading global provider of office supplies and services, today released findings from its latest Small Business Index. The study revealed that four in ten small-to-medium-sized business (SMB) owners believe having a mentor would greatly boost their profitability. Of the approximately 1,000 entrepreneurs surveyed, only 19 percent said they currently have a mentor to turn to for guidance and support.

This gap in resources prompted Office Depot to launch the Small Biz Club in partnership with NFL legend and small business expert Fran Tarkenton. Membership is free and gives entrepreneurs access to tools such as a website builder, online video courses, templates and forms, and a business risk assessment tool. Members can also be matched with a personal business mentor on the site for a nominal fee.

“When I set out to launch my first business after retiring from the NFL, it was difficult to find the right tools and resources and to get expert advice from those who had already achieved success,” said Tarkenton. “It's my personal mission to help today's entrepreneurs get the insights they need to ramp up quickly and become successful business owners committed to creating jobs and driving innovation.”

The Office Depot study further revealed that nearly 60 percent of SMB owners find webinars to be useful business resources to help drive profitability. To address this demand, Office Depot and Tarkenton have launched a free monthly webinar program called Success Saturdays. Hosted by Tarkenton, the program brings together business experts and small business owners on a variety of topics – from marketing to finance to smart hiring strategies.

The most recent Success Saturday webinar featured business expert and best-selling author Bob Burg sharing insights from his book The Go-Giver on how to build referrals and stronger business relationships. To view the webinar, click here.

“Office Depot's latest study affirms what we've heard in conversations all across the country – that small businesses value the advice of a knowledgeable mentor or partner,” said Bob Moore, Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing and Merchandising Officer for Office Depot. “Our partnership with Fran Tarkenton reflects our commitment to supporting small business owners by connecting them with smart resources to address their most pressing needs.”

Other highlights from the Small Business Index include:

  • Most helpful resources for SMBs: reading articles/watching videos online (32 percent); networking events (30 percent); webinars (25 percent); and SMB conferences (17 percent)
  • Most pressing issues on SMBs minds: increasing profits (29 percent); cutting expenses (26 percent); acquiring new business (21 percent)
  • Most important vehicles to generate growth: networking (39 percent); website (23 percent); social media (12 percent).

To learn more about the products and services available at Office Depot, please visit your local Office Depot retail store location or www.officedepot.com. To become a fan of Office Depot on Facebook and receive exclusive content, offers and more, please visit www.facebook.com/officedepot. To follow Office Depot on Twitter, please visit http://twitter.com/officedepot.

About Office Depot

Office Depot provides office supplies and services through 1,628 worldwide retail stores, a dedicated sales force, top-rated catalogs, and global e-commerce operations. Office Depot has annual sales of approximately $10.7 billion, employs about 38,000 associates, and serves customers in 60 countries around the world.

Office Depot's common stock is listed on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol ODP. Additional press information can be found at: http://news.officedepot.com.

About Fran Tarkenton

Fran Tarkenton is a serial entrepreneur based in Atlanta, Georgia, having personally started and run 20 successful companies since retiring from the NFL. His efforts to provide knowledge and tools to small business have been a full time undertaking since 1996. Mr. Tarkenton is a passionate advocate for small business, operating through Tarkenton Institute, Inc., to directly serve hundreds of thousands of small business owners and entrepreneurs nationwide over the past 17 years. Mr. Tarkenton's multiple companies and websites are each focused on ways to help entrepreneurs succeed in any industry and at any stage of development. A complete list of subsidiaries and brands can be found at http://www.Tarkenton.com.

Zeno Group
Joanna Krupa, 312-396-9706
joanna.krupa@zenogroup.com

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