SCORE and the SBDC
SCORE and the SBDC are tremendous assets. I am very excited about my investigation of these two agencies that could really be helpful to so many people. Get free advice and education at SCORE and the SBDC, do not pass up these resources.. In short SCORE has retired executives who can help you start or improve your existing business; the Small Business Development Council (SBDC) has professional counselors to help you do the same. Both organizations also have educational courses very cheap or free.
I am researching this now and continue to get great stories from the people who have used these free resources. I will share some stories and many more will be in my book. I interviewed a Mexican born American last week that was a yard man 13 years ago. He had no money but borrowed enough ($25,000) to buy a nursery and was offered $9,500,000 for his business 5 years ago. The SBDC saved him and still consults with him today. I also talked to a lady in Atlanta, who swears that she would not have her business if their SCORE Mentor had not invested so much time in them and helped them so much. Both SCORE and the SBDC are national, and there is an office near you. If you use them or have used them, give me feedback please. I am still researching this for my book. Send me a message or post a comment if you like.
Updated 30 May 2014
When I wrote this post I did not know about the WBC (Women’s Business Council), or the OVBD (Office for Veterans Business Development). Both of these organizations are much like the SBDC only specialized. The WBC has many offices across the united states and they provide the same services as the SBDC only for women only. They are partially funded by the SBA and partially by the local area. The more money they raise from the local area the more services they can provide. Some areas may be next to nothing and other areas like Chicago has a great program. Of course women can still go to the SBDC or SCORE in their area, but this could be another option. The OVBD is also partially funded by the SBA, but these offices tent to be much smaller, often with only one person. But it is another resource for veterans, male or female.
These are not the only resources available, but these are the big ones, so I would start there. You probably will not have to go any farther, still seek out any local help you can find. Do not forget to just ask successful people who are in the business you want to be in, they are often happy to give advice.