Even if your startup funds are very limited, you can get free help and advice from SCORE–the Senior Corps of Retired Executives. Even the ice cream kings, Ben and Jerry, credit SCORE as helping them learn about refrigeration techniques and more to start their now legendary business. Here’s a quick Q&A with SCORE to help you learn more about what they do and how they can help you:
Q: What is SCORE?
A: For 45 years, SCORE “Counselors to America’s Small Business” has been the premier, free business counseling and advice service in the United States. SCORE is a nonprofit association with 370 offices nationwide and more than 11,200 working and retired business professionals who volunteer to help a new generation of entrepreneurs.
Q: How does SCORE help small businesses?
A: SCORE’s expert counselors provide business advice on everything from how to write a business plan, to cash flow management, to growing your existing business. Business owners can access SCORE counseling services via face-to-face sessions or online at www.score.org. SCORE also offers business training workshops and seminars on a range of topics at local SCORE offices.
Q: Are SCORE’s services free?
A: SCORE’s business counseling services are offered at no cost as a community service. Workshop and seminar fees generally range from $20–$75.
Q: Does SCORE work with the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA)?
A: Yes. As a resource partner, SCORE operates in cooperation with the SBA to provide entrepreneurs with information vital to their success, including counseling on loans and financial options, business planning, marketing strategies, product development and more.
Q: Who are SCORE counselors?
A: SCORE counselors offer real-world experience gained from owning their own business or serving in management positions for companies like McDonnell Douglas, Hewlett-Packard, Procter & Gamble and General Electric. Counselors may be retired or working business owners, business executives or operations managers. All SCORE counselors are volunteers who receive specialized training by the association.
Q: Does SCORE offer resources online?
A: Yes. SCORE provides award-winning business resources for entrepreneurs online at www.score.org. With more than 2,000 pages of content, this how-to site provides practical solutions and suggestions on a wide variety of business issues. Ask SCORE is a free online service for entrepreneurs to submit questions to a SCORE online counselor. Questions can be submitted 24/7 and answers come within 48 hours.
Q: How can entrepreneurs contact SCORE for business advice?
A: Business owners can call 1-800/634-0245 and ask for the phone number of their local SCORE office. Or they can visit www.score.org to search for a counselor by specialty who can provide online assistance. Business owners also can email firstname.lastname@example.org with their city and state, and SCORE will respond with local contact information.