SCORE is a non-profit organization that provides help for small business owners looking for growth or entrepreneurs looking to start up their new business. The organization claims to ‘grow successful small businesses across America’. Operating since 1964, the organization provides free or inexpensive services to businesses at all hours of the day. In less than 50 years, the organization has grown to include 365 local chapters and has a network of more than 13,000 volunteer mentors.

SCORE is a free small business advice forum that provides online or face-to-face counseling to business owners, arrange local workshops and online seminars and provide them with free business tools and templates. The organization is supported by the U.S. Small Business Administration and sponsored by conglomerates like Google, Microsoft, Visa, Bank of America and The Wall Street Journal.

 Why Use SCORE?

You cannot start up a new business without having sound advice from someone who has practical experience of business management. Usually, you can go for this advice to any number of marketing experts but you will have to pay a hefty price they charge. If you have sufficient start-up capital, you can opt for it but for small businesses with limited capital, this is definitely not feasible.

So, for all those business owners who cannot afford to go for priced advice, SCORE offers a perfect platform. SCORE has a number of business executives, working or retired, working as volunteer small business advisors round the clock. These advisors provide you with advice regarding any of your business concern for free.

The best part is that these people help you because they are passionate about their work, not because they are obligated to it. This results in high involvement on their part and a concern over your success. They dedicate a sufficient amount of time and effort to your business. In the end, you have everything to gain and nothing to lose.

Is it Just Advice you can get?

It is not just business advice that you get at SCORE, but a lot more practical help for your business. SCORE experts also offer you help with the use of different business tools. Whether you are looking to improve your business plan, create marketing strategies or revise your budget, SCORE experts can help you with it. A whole section of templates is dedicated to business planning and management.

Another remarkable service offered by SCORE is conducting free workshops at their local chapters throughout the U.S. These workshops provide a chance for people to share their experiences and initiate queries. If you cannot reach a local chapter easily, there are a number of online workshops and seminars present on their site 24/7.

A number of volunteer mentors are also available. A mentor will not only give you advice but help you with your business practices. They help small businesses to start and grow over the years in tough times. For small businesses the site can be a comprehensive guiding platform where they can get a solution for all their problems, without paying a cent.

How to Reach Them?

Access to is the easiest thing to do in your entire business start-up process. All you have to do is visit their website. The website is easy to use, quickly navigated and give clear instructions about its different sections. A link to the sitemap is provided at the bottom of homepage which can further guide you about the content on the website. It is a great resource for entrepreneurs who want to start a new small business or needs help and advice regarding an existing business.


The site has a long list of positive customer testimonials. Laura Dessauer, Owner of Creativity Queen says,

“What I learned from SCORE continues to help me make it through the recession. With the help of SCORE I am positioning my business to triple my earnings from last year.”


If you are looking for advice about any concern regarding your business start-up, SCORE is the place you need to visit. SCORE is the biggest business counseling organization that provides free services. It guides entrepreneurs to set up their business and make it grow and flourish over the time. You can get all the help you need about managing a small business successfully from experienced executives.

Do visit and check it out, it is completely free!

Small local businesses are essential for the growth of any economy and they are supported by most world governments. In U.S. these small businesses are supported by the Small Business Administration (SBA). You can rely on SBA help for small businesses without having second thoughts about their credibility.

If you think you have an idea that could sell, you can go for it. But an idea is just not sufficient until you have thoroughly researched it. Starting a new business is not easy; the risk of failure is too high to be taken vaguely. While the risk is inevitable, planning and research is the key to keep this risk at minimum level.

Before you think of starting a business, you will need to study the industry you want to start with and determine the potential growth of your idea. You will then be required to make a well-researched, comprehensive business plan and get it approved by all those investing in your business.

You will definitely need a lot of help starting a small business. As a small business owner, information about each and every step of planning your business will be essential. But you need to think where to get this help from while keeping in your budget. The answer today is a number of online services providing voluntary services to entrepreneurs, helping them in planning a small business. One of such organization is SBA.

The Small Business Administration (SBA)

SBA, or the Small Business Administration, is a government owned organization created in 1953 that provides help starting small businesses and making it grow. Its mission is stated as “to aid, counsel, assist and protect the interests of small business concerns, to preserve free competitive enterprise and to maintain and strengthen the overall economy of our nation.

The website of SBA has considerable amount of resources available for entrepreneurs. It provides small business owners advice about securing financing, writing a business plan, business management, and marketing. It also provides information about law changes and tax structure. The site also offers a number of free articles, classes, and videos for assistance.

Moreover, SBA has at least one office in each U.S. state. The organization arranges a number of local networking events for promotion of small businesses. The agency is also affiliated with different counseling partners, including Small Business Development Centers, Women’s Business Centers, and SCORE, a volunteer mentor organization of retired and experienced business leaders. Together, these counseling services provide services to over 1 million budding entrepreneurs and small business owners annually.

What Services Does the SBA Offers?

The company provides three basic services for business start-up; Capital, Contracts and Counseling. Let us take a review of each of these functions:


The SBA provides a detailed account of Government grants offered to small businesses and helps you in finding a grant that compliment your business needs. Except the Disaster Loans which help the businesses to recover from damages caused by unexpected disasters, SBA does not offer any loan itself; rather it acts as a guarantor for loans you can get from financers.

Getting an SBA backed loan is easier than looking for financing on your own. However, to make sure the business owners don’t default on their liability, only a part of loan is guaranteed by SBA. It also helps you in getting as many loan advantages as possible when getting a lender for your small business.

Through its Surety Bond Guarantee (SBG) Program, SBA also helps small businesses to get contracts by offering a certain percentage of surety for surety bonds; a three-party instrument between a contractor, a project owner and a surety. SBA also offers access to private investment funds through their Venture Capital Program.


SBA has a detailed section of information about how to make your business eligible for small business contracts. Different types of contracts are assigned for different small business categories where SBA can provide you assistance to get the best contracts for you.

SBA provides you in getting contract with the government, which helps you in growing your business portfolio. It also provides help with completing your documentation needs for contracting purposes.


The largest part of SBA services comprises of free counseling services for small business owner and entrepreneurs. SBA provides online business training as well as local counseling. These trainings include areas such as start-up advice, management advices, financing advice, contracting guidelines and other featured trainings.

SBA assist business owners in all aspects helping them create their business plan, their financial budgets and their marketing plans. It also provides a detailed account of information regarding the laws and regulations of running a business.

SBA also helps you in devising a profitable exit plan for your business in case you decide to leave your business or retire. You can get advice about issues like liquidating assets and transferring ownership. It also provides you with guidelines in case you decide to file for bankruptcy.

One of the most beneficial services that SBA offers is associating you with a mentor. SBA is affiliated with several organizations like SCORE, which provides free counselors and mentors. These people are experienced entrepreneurs who devote their time to your business planning and provide help in running a small business efficiently.


In a nutshell, SBA is just the right place any small business owner needs to visit if they require any kind of guidance, counseling or mentoring for their small businesses. SBA can help you form, maintain and grow a business through its several lending and contracting programs. SBA also provides you with ample opportunities of networking with other small business owners by arranging local networking events.

Planning well is a huge key to success, whatever you are planning to do. Failing to understand the importance of planning is what leads to failures. The main reasons for start-up failure are improper planning, lack of goals or insufficient research. It is, therefore, essential to understand how to write a small business plan before you get started.

Generally, it is assumed that the only people who need a business plan are those who seek to secure start-up financing. However, this is not true! The only person who don’t need a business plan is the one not planning to start a business at all.

Also, it is not only large scale business ventures that need to be planned out. Even if you are starting a very small business, you need a plan. A business plan outline provides you clear direction in which you plan to lead your business and a path to follow in order to achieve it. Starting a business without a plan is like travelling without any sense of direction and with no clear idea of your destination.

Writing your business plan can be overwhelming initially, particularly if you are making a start-up plan. Planning requires a lot of time, effort and research to be implemented successfully. Following are some guidelines to create a business plan for a small-scale business.

Set up a Vision, Mission and Goals

Setting up a vision, mission and goals is essential in order to determine where your organization will be headed. But more important is to differentiate between them, integrate them and align them in the same direction.

  • A Vision statement defines what the firm ideally wants to be in the long-run, providing a source of direction to the employees.
  • A Mission statement spells out the purpose of an organization, also defining the agreed path and code of conduct the organization plans to follow in order to achieve its ultimate vision.
  • A Goal is a broad, long-term aim that an organization wishes to accomplish over a measureable period of time. A goal should always be aligned in the same direction as the vision of the company, contributing towards its accomplishment.

The right approach to setting business goals is to set up SMART goals – that is, goals that are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time-based. This will help you in making a realistic action plan for future.

Make sure to specify evaluation points in your business plan after certain time intervals. This will help you track your progress in successful implementation of your business strategy plan and will allow you to make timely changes if things seem out of order.

Determine Your Financial Situation

For starting up a business, however big or small, some initial capital is required. There are a number of alternatives you can consider in order to raise initial capital. However, each alternative has its own pros and cons.

Many young entrepreneurs are willing to accept any source of equity to get started, without paying proper heed to repercussions. Be careful of what you are getting yourself into.

  • If you are willing to go into partnership, you should be willing to give up a certain amount of control.
  • A bank loan needs to be assessed in term of its cost that is; the interest you will be paying back.
  • If you seek help from a venture capital investor, you cannot expect a large amount of investment from a single investor.

Both your organizational goals and your financial goals should be formulated considering the potential of the company you are starting. It is essential to determine the value of each business idea through industry analysis before selecting it.

Writing a Business Plan

Next, you need to write your business in a proper, formal manner. When writing a business plan to start a new business, there are a number of essential elements that need to be included in the document. A business plan should be specific and concise, not more than 50 pages. Here is a list of essential elements that make up a business plan:

Executive Summary – An executive summary is a review of your entire business plan including summaries of all other elements included in the plan. It is the most important communication tool when you are looking for financing and needs to be highly effective.

Company Overview – It is an account of an organization’s vitals like its origin, background, objectives, operations and ownership structure.

Products and Services – This section provides a detailed description of your products and services including their feature, lifecycle projections, their competitive advantage and the value they offer to consumers.

Market Analysis – this section outlines details of the industry in which you are operating and provides information about the market conditions and your competitors.

Operations and Management – Here you provide details of your management team, your organizational hierarchy, your human resources plan, your production plan, your business facilities and an overview of day-to-day operations.

Marketing Strategies – This section will highlight your target segment, your unique selling proposition (USP) and your competitive advantage. You also need to formulate a strategy about how you are planning to market your product to consumers.

Financial Projections – You need to provide a three to five year analysis of your financial needs. It includes a projection of your financial statements, your income and expenses reviews, market share analysis and your projected growth rate.

Appendix – It is an optional but advisable section which includes all the evidences required to support any claims you might have made in the plan.

Summary – How to Write a Small Business Plan

Now that you know how to make a small business plan, make a PLAN to START!. To help get started, the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) offers a free business plan template online. Once completed, review your plan several times, share it with trusted advisers, making sure you are starting with the right idea. Analyze the changes you think you want to make, carefully identify evaluation points throughout your plan and start looking for the right financing sources. If you plan right and keep checks on your plan, you are right on the path of success!