A woman wearing glasses sits at a desk and types on a laptop. The office around her is populated with a few charts on the walls and sticky notes and a potted plant on the desk.
SCORE gives you access to the decades of knowledge and resources offered by its volunteers, who include retired business owners and former corporate executives. — Getty Images/Kosamtu

The Service Corps of Retired Executives (SCORE)’s mission is dedicated to assisting small businesses by housing a plethora of resources for those just getting started in their businesses. Many small business owners can benefit from working with SCORE, especially in the launching process. Here's everything you should know about SCORE and how it can help get your startup off the ground.

[Read more: 7 SBA Programs Every Small Business Should Know About]

What is SCORE?

SCORE is a nonprofit organization and resource partner of the Small Business Association (SBA) that offers mentoring and resources to aspiring small business owners. The organization also holds online services, seminars and workshops specifically designed to assist entrepreneurs and small businesses in navigating their business endeavors. As a 501(c)(3) corporation, SCORE is funded through government grants and donations and offers most of its programs free of charge to those in need of business assistance.

Since its creation by President Lyndon B. Johnson in 1964, SCORE has helped over 10 million entrepreneurs with their resources, volunteers and online and in-person assistance. The organization prides itself in strong mentorship with the largest network of volunteer mentors and business executives at over 10,000 members. The members and volunteers of SCORE are mainly retired business owners and corporate executives looking to assist others in their own businesses. They operate in offices around the United States and offer virtual and in-person sessions and resources.

4 ways SCORE can help your business

SCORE houses a number of resources and assistance for small businesses and startups. Here are a few ways it can help your business.

[Read more: Starting Over? 7 Resources for Rebuilding Your Business From the Ground Up]

Mentoring

Aspiring or current business owners can either be connected to a mentor of their own choosing or matched with someone in a SCORE chapter in their area. These mentors are usually former business owners themselves and have the knowledge to consult others in setting goals and objectives for their businesses. SCORE trains all its mentors in the SLATE mentoring methodology:

  • Stop and Suspend Judgement.
  • Listen and Learn.
  • Assess and Analyze.
  • Test Ideas and Teach with Tools.
  • Expectations Setting and Encouraging the Dream.

SCORE houses a number of resources and types of assistance for small businesses and startups.

Mentors also help with writing business plans and offering next steps for any business challenges or questions. Sessions are kept confidential and can be completed over the phone, video chat or email exchanges, or in person for about an hour. Receiving advice and conversation with an entrepreneur who’s walked the path you are currently on can be a rewarding and eye-opening experience.

Webinars/courses

SCORE offers free webinars and courses for entrepreneurs to learn more about business basics. It has the option to sign up for weekly live webinars that offer tips and strategies for small business owners. Additionally, SCORE keeps recorded webinars that it’s done in the past if you want to browse the archives or have missed a webinar date.

SCORE also has free courses on its website that offer interactive workshops on various business topics on demand. Example course titles include “The Startup Roadmap: Your Guide to Successfully Starting a Business,” “Building Your Brand” and “Assessing Your Company’s Financial Needs.”

Online resources

SCORE offers online resources like articles and other educational content and support for new business owners. When you browse its resource library, you’ll find checklists you can use within your business, as well as e-guides, blogs, infographics and other videos and tools that can help build your toolkit for a successful startup. More recent articles also assist with navigating the COVID-19 pandemic and include information about insurance and relief options your business may need.

Local events

Many SCORE chapters host in-person workshops and roundtable discussions for entrepreneurs. Finding your local chapter is as simple as visiting SCORE’s website and entering your zip code. These local classes are now being offered through an online video format due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Some may require an affordable fee, while others are free of charge to register and attend.

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Published March 05, 2021