My Queue

There are no Videos in your queue.

Click on the Add to next to any video to save to your queue.

There are no Articles in your queue.

Click on the Add to next to any article to save to your queue.

There are no Podcasts in your queue.

Click on the Add to next to any podcast episode to save to your queue.

You're not following any authors.

Click the Follow button on any author page to keep up with the latest content from your favorite authors.

The Big Score

Why pay big for consulting services when SCORE can help you for free?
Magazine Contributor
2 min read

This story appears in the December 2007 issue of Entrepreneurs StartUps Magazine. Subscribe »

When newlyweds Jason and Crystal Melendez returned from their honeymoon inspired to start their own online wedding business, they didn't turn to a pricey consultant for help. Instead, they signed up for free counseling with their local SCORE chapter. "We were technical people, but [we] didn't know anything about profit analysis, marketing and promotions," says Jason, 31.

In 2005, Jason and Crystal combined wedding planning with online memory sharing to create The service provides engaged couples with an easy way to create professional wedding websites and invitations with personalized themes, colors, photographs and designs. Although they created the site successfully, the two soon discovered their marketing shortcomings and turned to SCORE for help. The organization put them in touch with marketing professionals and members of the media--specifically, wedding and business periodicals.

If you'd like to find business help through SCORE, visit to search for a local branch or learn about the organization's various services, including face-to-face meetings, phone consultations and online workshops. Together, SCORE volunteers have expertise in more than 600 areas of interest, and most have more than 30 years of experience in their particular fields. You can make the most of SCORE's services by meeting with a counselor, says Michael Keaton, director of PR and communications. "Nothing can beat that one-on-one interaction. It's our most popular service, and a lot of people who come to SCORE have mentor relationships that last for weeks, months or even years."

After working with SCORE to develop their marketing strategy, the Melendezes are now expecting's sales to reach $240,000 for 2007. "They really believe in what we have," says Crystal, 28. "What we're working on right now is fine-tuning our [business] and forecasting how things are going to play out over the next couple of years to meet the goals that we've set for ourselves."

More from Entrepreneur

Learn to be a better leader and develop successful marketing and branding strategies with Dr. Patti Fletcher's help.
Book Your Session

In as little as seven months, the Entrepreneur Authors program will turn your ideas and expertise into a professionally presented book.
Apply Now

Create your business plan in half the time with twice the impact using Entrepreneur's BIZ PLANNING PLUS powered by LivePlan. Try risk free for 60 days.
Start My Plan

Latest on Entrepreneur