SCORE stands for “Service Corps of Retired Executives,” and is a volunteer organization dedicated to helping individuals start successful businesses by receiving advice from those who have already done it. I’ve taken a few SCORE-sponsored workshops in the past, and used their sample business plan to write my own, but today I discovered even more free, useful goodies on their web site.
I’m particularly taken with their “60-Second Guides,” which cover everything from pricing to hiring. Especially at this time of year, time is tight, and I love being able to learn how to make real improvements to my business without having to read a lengthy guide. One of my favorites is the 60-Second Guide to Building Word-of-Mouth Referrals. Similar to the 60-Second Guides is their collection of “Top 5 Business Tips,” which also helps you focus on just the essentials in a variety of topics. In this section, I especially liked the tips on budgeting, which can help you put together a rough budget for when you don’t have time to go line-by-line.
Another collection of goodies I love is the template gallery. Here you can find tweak-able templates for a lot of things you can’t find elsewhere, like a break-even analysis, and a business plan for a business that already exists. The financial templates all come in both Adobe PDF and Microsoft Excel formats, with the formulas already programmed in. This allows you to plug in your own numbers or to tweak the formulas and see how the totals change. No fancy calculations required!
Finally, for the days when you have more time for professional development, you can read in-depth articles in SCORE’s online “Reading Room.” There are literally hundreds of articles here, that cover everything from selling online to disaster preparedness. And of course, I always recommend visiting the web site of your local SCORE chapter for free counseling and low-cost workshops. Biz Miss, educate thyself!