There are many nonprofit organizations that can help you in your research. They're a great resource and many times will help you for free or for a small fee. Finding groups in your area is as simple as contacting your local chamber of commerce. Some groups provide a way for inventors to gather and exchange information, give advice, and get together to trade ideas.
The SBA frequently offers workshops and seminars on a variety of topics, including inventing. The majority of its services are free. Most cities have SBA offices, so check the phone book for your nearest branch.
Funded by the SBA, the Service Corps of Retired Executives (SCORE) is designed to help small businesses. More than 12,000 retired executives in 389 chapters across the United States volunteer their time to help entrepreneurs. SCORE can put you in touch with a successful inventor who can give you business advice. To find the SCORE office nearest you, call your local SBA office or the national SCORE office in Washington, DC, at (800) 634-0245.