US Mayor Article

New Conference of Mayors Initiative Offers Economic Development Tool for Cities
Q&A with Partner America’s™ George A. Cloutier, Chairman and CEO, American Management Services

March 20, 2000

What is Partner America™?

Partner America™ is a business growth initiative designed to help small and mid-sized businesses improve sales and profits through management technical assistance, by combining the resources and programs offered by local and Federal government agencies, with the management expertise provided by private enterprise to implement profit-improvement programs for US businesses. 

Partner America™ a public-private partnership created by the Conference of Mayors and American Management that brings together Mayors, local city officials, and government agency partners with American Management services to implement business-focused economic development programs that will revitalize cities and metropolitan areas by ensuring sustainable business growth and increased tax revenues.

Who is American Management Services?

American Management is a premier management services firm based in Waltham, MA, that specializes in critical strategic management and profitability programs for small and mid-sized businesses.   With offices in Rochester, NY, Washington, DC, Philadelphia, PA, and opening offices in Florida, our plan is to expand nationwide over the next three years.

Since launching American Management Services in 1986, we have worked with more than 5,000 clients in 400 industries and generated more than $1 billion in savings for our clients, 40% of which are family-owned businesses.

Our credo is “results not reports.”

Why is small business an important part of our national economy?

Small business is a powerful force in the US economy.  There are approximately 850,000 new small businesses each year representing 97.9 percent of all US employers.  If every one of the 23 million small business owners added just one new employee per year that would mean 23 million new jobs.

Our approach is to make a business owner understand their firm’s real performance and profit opportunities. It is our job to critique and point out areas of improvement.  We scrutinize our client’s management and operational tactics to ensure greater profits and growth.  Our program is designed so those business owners will directly benefit from the changes we implement through increased profits.

What is your philosophy about running a small business successfully?

You cannot finance your way to real profits and growth; they can only be achieved by effective management.

What other companies or government agencies are involved in Partner America™?

Partner America™ is a partnership between the Conference and American Management Services.   Other participants include the Export-Import Bank of the United States, the U.S. Department of Commerce, the Small Business Administration and Treasury.  Partner America™ is actively working with other government agencies and private enterprises to broaden the partnership and program benefits.

Is Partner America™ a government-funded program?

Partner America™ is a public-private strategic initiative between the United States Conference of Mayors and American Management Services, and does not receive any federal funding from the government.

Is it mandatory for small businesses to participate in Partner America™?

Partner America™ is a voluntary program.

What does it cost the business to participate in Partner America™?

Partner America™ is a comprehensive national small business growth and development profit improvement program that provides small businesses with access to information and resources to help increase their profitability.  We do this through a variety of resources.

  • We operate a toll-free hotline to help small businesses synthesize the information about the many small businesses programs that are available, including Partner America™, American Management’s technical services, and federal small business assistance programs. 

  • We are working with Mayors to organize small business days across the country where small businesses can learn about: running their business more effectively, increasing profits, expansion, marketing, federal programs and procurement opportunities and other important issues.  Because this program is being conducted in partnership with the Conference and our federal agency partners and our federal agency partners, small businesses will not pay to participate in these events.

Partner America also offers small businesses a profit improvement program that provides small businesses guaranteed value on four levels:

  1. The Business Survey™ Assessment. Partner America™ conducts a complete objective assessment of a firm’s real performance and profit opportunities. The Business Survey™ is provided as a risk-free proposition, at a surprisingly nominal fee of $500.  Conducted by American Management Services’ operating executives, the assessment determines how the firm is really doing, and how to capitalize on new opportunities to improve sales, profits and organizational efficiency.

  2. Comparative Review to Peer Businesses.  Partner America™ reviews the firm’s real performance in comparison to competitive businesses in the top quartile of the industry, and to industry standards.

  3. Blueprint to Profitability.  Partner America™ delivers a comprehensive report detailing specific solutions, and the associated costs and benefits, to the identified problems impacting the firm’s financial, operational and organizational performance that can be implemented in real-time.

  4. Referral to Government Resource Programs.  Partner America™ provides direct referrals to important and appropriate government resource programs offered by government agencies that support business growth domestically and overseas.

What can Mayors do to participate in Partner America™?

Mayors can host small business events, working in conjunction with their Economic Development Administration office, local chamber or other organization.  The program is designed to bring together Mayors, small and mid-sized businesses, American Management’s technical and management expertise, and federal and local agencies to discuss the tools, resources and procurement opportunities that are available to small business.  A suggested small business event would be a one-day small business conference with sessions focusing on starting and managing your business, federal procurement opportunities, mergers, acquisitions and equity shares, etc.

What kinds of programs and services will Partner America™ introduce to business owners?

As in the Mayor’s small business days there are other programs that small businesses can participate in:

  • The Business Survey™

  • Direct loan programs

  • Working capital guarantee programs

  • Government procurement programs

  • Export credit insurance programs

  • Loan guarantees to foreign buyer programs

  • Technical assistance programs

  • Mentor-protégé programs

How does a Mayor, a government agency or business get more information about Partner America™ and American Management’s services?

We encourage Mayors, private enterprise, Federal and local government agencies to participate in Partner America™ and suggest you call our toll-free number for additional information.  Please contact our Partner America™ Managing Director Jennifer Johnson at 1-877-PRTNRAM (1-877-778-6726).