Frequently Asked Questions About SCORE

What is SCORE?

SCORE, America’s premier source of free and confidential small business advice for entrepreneurs and small businesses, is a nonprofit resource partner with the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). We have over 300 SCORE offices across the country offering free business mentoring and low- or no-cost workshops.
For over 50 years, SCORE’s thousands of working and retired business professionals have volunteered to support the success of small business nationwide. SCORE business mentoring is free and confidential.

How does your mentoring service work?

SCORE provides free business advice through our network of volunteer business experts. You can meet with a mentor online or face-to-face in a chapter near you. To request a mentor, visit www.score.org/find-mentor and search for a mentor by keyword, industry, location or expertise. If you prefer, we can also make a match for you based on your business question.
SCORE’s experienced business mentors provide general business advice on every aspect of business planning, startup, management and growth.

What can I expect from SCORE?

  • SCORE will attempt to contact you at least 3 times via email or phone, or both, over the next 2 weeks. If you have not connected with a mentor at the end of this time, please contact mentoring@score.org.
  • SCORE mentoring services are provided at no cost to you, regardless of the number of times you visit a SCORE mentor.
  • The discussion with your SCORE mentor is strictly confidential. Our mentors sign a Code of Ethics and Conduct that addresses the protection of your information and business idea.
  • Your mentor will employ the SLATE methodology in your mentoring session, which stands for:
    • Stop and Suspend Judgment
    • Listen and Learn
    • Assess and Analyze
    • Test Ideas and Teach with Tools
    • Expectation Setting and Encouraging the Dream

Your mentor’s goal is to use their expertise to help you make sound decisions for your business.

  • At the conclusion of your session, your mentor should ask “Did I help you today?” If you did not feel that you received valuable advice or assistance, please discuss this with your mentor. Our #1 goal is to provide you with a positive experience and help you with your business needs. 
  • SCORE will work to assign you to the perfect mentor, based on your need, industry, and location. If your initial mentor is not a good “fit” for you, we will work with you to locate another mentor. We have thousands of mentors across the country and no doubt do have the perfect person just for you. In this case, you may contact your local SCORE office or mentoring@score.org to request a new mentor.

How can I maximize my experience with SCORE?

  • Your mentor will likely recommend different services to better meet your needs, including a small group workshop or online materials, to accentuate mentoring. Take advantage as they are supplemental to the advice you are receiving.
  • SCORE does not provide grants, business loans, CPA services or legal services, but your mentor may be able to suggest outside resources to assist you in those areas. Keep an open mind about what you think you may need initially, and work with your mentor to try to find a solution.
  • Your business is not built in a day. Similarly, you benefit most from SCORE by meeting with a mentor for more than a one-hour appointment. Before the conclusion of your initial session, your mentor (or someone from the local SCORE office) will schedule another appointment for you or assist you in finding the correct resource. You should meet with your mentor regularly to maximize your chances of success.

What do you expect from me?

  • Our mentors are volunteers. Their time is given freely to help you and others achieve your goals and dreams with a small business venture. Out of respect of your time and our mentors’ time, we ask that you follow through on any scheduled appointments or provide notice of a change.
  • Both you and your mentor will work together to identify key areas to focus on to build to your business success. While your mentor will always be there to help you, they will not do the work for you. You are responsible for moving your business forward.
  • After you first meet with your mentor, you will receive an electronic survey from SCORE office about our service. The survey will take you about 1 minute to complete. We ask for your feedback in order to continue to improve our service. Our Client Satisfaction Survey results are reviewed continuously at all levels in SCORE.