Look out, McDonald's, there's a rising contender for your famous "number of patrons served" tally: The Service Corps of Retired Executives (SCORE) recently served its 3.5 millionth client.
OK, so it's not hamburgers and milkshakes they've been dishing out, but small-business counseling and advice. And they've got a way to go to reach even their first billion served. But SCORE has one leg up on its rival: The information SCORE provides is distributed for free.
"Savvy entrepreneurs utilize every available resource to help them succeed in business," says SCORE president Fred Thomas. "SCORE is a confidential resource that gives entrepreneurs access to business experts that would otherwise cost them hundreds of dollars in consulting fees. Instead, the advice is free."
SCORE, a resource partner with the Small Business Administration, is a nonprofit association dedicated to educating entrepreneurs to help them successfully grow their businesses. There are 389 chapters nationwide and more than 12,000 volunteer SCORE counselors--working and retired executives and business owners--who offer their business expertise on such topics as developing a business plan, assessing the capital needs to start a business, investigating the market potential for a product or service, and managing business growth.
Business rookies are certainly welcome at SCORE: Currently, 50 percent of its clients are start-up businesses and 50 percent are growing companies. If you'd like to join the ranks of those shrewd entrepreneurs who have benefited from the free one-on-one counseling of seasoned businesspeople, call (800) 634-0245 for the location of the SCORE chapter in your community. They'll help you to guide your new business to success, and you'll help them inch closer to McDonald's megalithic record.