Get free help starting a business from SCORE.
People looking to start or grow a business can turn to SCORE for help. The non-profit provides mentors, workshops, free advice to entrepreneurs, and support to local communities. The counselors assist individuals who may want to work from home or that are in a more traditional line of business.
The organization is part of the Small Business Administration (SBA). Thousands of mentors operate from offices in local towns and counties. In addition to free one on one advice, there are also free online courses that can show a client how to start a business. Workshops are also organized by local SCORE chapters. Whether the person is a “wanna be” entrepreneur, or if they are in business already, SCORE provides support.
Business topics covered by SCORE
Really anything that the client needs can be covered. There is assistance given to show people how to start a business with little or no money, mentors can help individuals start an internet or online company, they address the legal terminology needed, and they can even refer entrepreneurs to potential loan programs. Those are only a few of the services that may be offered; much more is addressed as well.
The process can walk the client through the entire process as well. As starting a business can sometimes be an intensive process. So a SCORE counselor may do some or all of the following, all of which is provided at no cost.
- They will review a client's business plan, including provide free templates.
- SCORE can help the person find a location to open their business at, or set up an online presence.
- They can then how to client how to start by registering their company or help them set up a legal structure. Some attorneys also provide free advice to local entrepreneurs.
- All tax and insurance needs are covered, and the free business counseling will go over the ins and outs of this.
- SCORE counselors provide suggestions on raising money for start-up costs, equipment, and other needs.
- If employees or contractors are needed, workshops will discuss that.
- Receive free information on how to finance a small business.
With more and more small businesses being launched online, addressing this need is also a service of SCORE. The non-profit can mentor the client on this process and walk them through it. As home based businesses are becoming more important for either a primary or second source of income, and many potential entrepreneurs also want the convenience of working from home. So this need is also addressed.
SCORE mentors will also have information on how to raise money. Most entrepreneurs need funds to start a business, pay for the bills while they work on their idea, and cover start-up costs. SCORE can help clients review bank loans, SBA funding, go over the pros and cons of credit cards, give ideas on friends and family money and more. Or even explore using technology, such as Crowdfunding.
But starting a business is a living, breathing thing. More often than not ongoing advice is needed. Whether someone is selling products from a store, providing a service online, or working from home in a more isolated environment, assistance is provided for weeks or months if needed. This ongoing support from SCORE is also offered for free to the small business owner.
Free online advice
Some individuals may not live close to a local SCORE chapter. Or they may not have time to stop in for a counseling session. Others may not think face to face counseling is as important. In these instances (and others) score provides free business counseling services online as well.
Not only can a client get advice from their comfort of their home, but they can also take workshops and tutorials online. This are also free of charge. All sorts of topics are covered. Anyone looking for assistance in starting a business can learn all of the ins and outs, take more technical classes on say Quick-books or internet site development, or receive a wide variety of other support.
SCORE also has information on a host of SBA assistance programs. This can help provide the client access to many other services. As there are many tools out there that can help people of all ages, income, and backgrounds start a business. Whether they are a retiree looking to make a few extra dollars, a single or stay at home mom, or a budding entrepreneur, a number of free business creation programs can help clients.
There are various SBA resources available for starting a business. Some of them give priority to certain clients as well. Three examples would be government grants that a veteran can use to pay for some or all of their start-up costs. Military members often have a variety of skills and experiences that they use to help them on their path to being an entrepreneur.
Another example would be assistance given to women who want to start a business, and this service also extends to single mothers as well. Workshops as well as counseling will focus on their ideas and needs. SCORE can refer any interest clients to these various programs as they are just one more tool to use when launching a work at home or any other type of business.
Minorities can also get assistance in starting a business. Grants based programs help immigrants, African Americans, and even Spanish speakers. This type of funding comes and goes, and is often allocated by local SCORE chapters, but it is fairly common for some form of financial aid to be offered. This support in starting minority run small businesses is in addition to all of the other resources, ranging from the free counseling to legal aid, etc.
At the end of the day, whether someone is successful or not in their business depends on many factors. SCORE counselors as well as the free business start-up services they offer will never be a deciding factor. But the assistance provided can sometimes be invaluable. To find a mentor go to score.org, and the main phone number is 1-800-634-0245.