- What is SCORE?
SCORE is a national non-profit organization under the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). The SCORE headquarters, in Washington, D.C., was founded in 1964. Because SCORE is government-funded, we are a source of free, confidential small business advice from over 10,000 volunteers, who are mentors, in 300 chapters nationwide. SCORE provides mentoring services, webinars, and other online services for entrepreneurs and small business owners. www.SCORE.org, www.Dallas.SCORE.org
There are SCORE offices in major cities around the United States. Dallas SCORE, www.Dallas.SCORE.org, serves 11 Counties in the Dallas /North Texas Metroplex and Lubbock Texas.
- How do I find & choose a mentor?
To request a mentor, visit www.score.org/find-mentor or www.Dallas.SCORE.org/find-mentor and search for a mentor by keyword, industry, location, or expertise. Register in the SCORE system to be mentored. The mentor will be emailed a notification of your request for mentoring and contact you to set up an appointment. You can choose a mentor near where you live or talk with a mentor anywhere in the United States.
If you prefer, we can also make a match for you based on your business question. In Dallas, if you need help in finding a mentor, call 214-987-9491 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Once you have an appointment with your mentor, please be on time for the appointment. If you need to move or cancel the appointment, please contact your mentor at least 24 hours before the appointment.
- What resources are available from SCORE?
Any city’s SCORE website is an online resource for entrepreneurs and small business owners. Our sites offer a comprehensive small business library with “how-to” e-guides, downloadable templates, checklists, articles, videos, infographics, and blogs. Our websites also list recorded and live webinars/workshops. Your mentor may suggest resources that will help you.
- Does SCORE offer business grants or loans? What about CPA services and legal services?
SCORE does not provide grants, business loans, CPA services, or legal services. Your mentor may be able to suggest outside resources to assist you in those areas.
- What do I need to do to start a business?
It depends on what kind of business you want to start. All business owners need to do research on what they want to do for business, how they want to do it, and why they want to do it. You need to answer … what problem/s do your product or services solve for your customers. Is there a large enough market for what you want to do and why? What is your business name? Will the business be online, offline, or both? You will need a website.
Start with some kind of business plan for 1-3 or 1-5 years that tells what the business is, why you started it, how it will work (operations), how will the business be financed, and how you will make a profit and who will do what in the business. Show a detailed financial plan. Create a plan for marketing, sales, pricing, vendors, inventory, and how you will grow the business. Determine your business structure, what licenses/permits you may need, and what laws you must follow/legal requirements. Know how your taxes will work.
Research your competition – direct and indirect. What do they do and how do they do it? What do they do better than you? What do you do better than they do? Where are they located? Why should people buy from you versus your competition?
Who are your target audiences? There is no such thing as everyone or only one group. Is your business considered a Business to Consumer (B2C) or Business to Business (B2B)? Or both? For B2C ... this means their geographical location, age range, income level, what problem/s your service will solve for them, etc. In your marketing, you must be where your target audiences go for information. For B2B ... what is their geographical location, annual revenue, # of employees, who are their clients, what are their marketing channels, and why? Be detailed.