How can this Web site help me?

You can get free and confidential business advice from SCORE by calling or faxing a request for counseling.

What qualifies SCORE members to give business advice?

The key qualification SCORE counselors bring to clients is real-world experience. SCORE business counselors have general management experience that can benefit your business. SCORE business counselors may be working or retired business owners and business executives . All SCORE counselors receive specialized training in counseling and mentoring.

What kind of counseling does SCORE provide?

SCORE's experienced business experts provide general business advice on everything from how to write a business plan, to cash flow management, to developing a small business advisory board. Assistance for aspiring entrepreneurs may involve investigating the market potential for a product or service and assessing the capital needs to start a business. Counselors can provide insight into how to start a business, operate a business, buy a business or franchise and sell a business.

Are business secrets safe with SCORE ?

Yes. All SCORE business counselors honor the client's right to proprietary and confidential information. Client information remains confidential. All SCORE counselors abide by an association Code Of Ethics, which includes protecting the confidences between client and counselor. Each year, counselors reaffirm their commitment to the Code Of Ethics.

How can I obtain a SBA loan for my business?

The SBA normally does not lend money directly itself. The SBA loan is issued by a conventional lender, such as a bank, to which the SBA guarantees repayment of a variable percentage of the loan amount. Apply for the loan at a bank. Your SCORE counselor can assist you with a loan application.

Does my business require a Federal Tax ID. Number, and how to I get one?

The Federal Tax Identification Number is properly called the Employer Identification Number (EIN), and is issued by the IRS. An EIN is required by any business that pays wages to one or more employees, or which files a Schedule C tax return and has a Keogh retirement plan, or is a partnership or corporation. To obtain an EIN, file a form SS-4, which may be obtained from the IRS. Your SCORE counselor can assist you with filing for your EIN.

Do I have to register the name of my business as a Fictitious Name?

A business that is a sole proprietorship or a partnership, the name of which does not identify all true owners, must register the name as a Fictitious Name. For example, ABC Enterprises is a fictitious name, but Jones Computer Services is not, provided Jones is the name of the owner.

For more information about fictitious name registration, see http://www.paopen4business.state.pa.us. Your SCORE counselor can assist you.

Why do I need a written Business Plan?

A written Business Plan serves two important purposes:

  1. It is essential to obtain financing from a bank. Any lender will require a written Business Plan before considering a loan request.
  2. Even if you don't want to borrow money for your business, a written Business Plan is an important management tool for the business owner. It takes into consideration all of the important factors that affect the success or failure of your business. It serves as a road map: for where your business is going, and how you will get there.

Your SCORE counselor can assist you with preparing a business plan.