Earlier this week, I visited the offices of SCORE. No, I didn’t know what that was either.

SCORE is the acronym for Service Corps of Retired Executives, an organization started in 1964 to help would-be entrepreneurs (like me) start their businesses. I met with two volunteers to talk about my publishing venture, Baskethound Books.

SCORE works alongside the Small Business Administration to help newbie tycoons start a business. Clients can meet with experienced business people and receive an hour of free counseling. Three of my most important questions were answered: I do need a business license (cost: $15); I should trademark the name of my business but only in Washington (cost: $5) and the best structure for Baskethound Books is sole proprietorship.

I keep stumbling onto these resources that are available for little to no money. For example, SCORE offers classes that cover every aspect of how to start and run a business. The cost is $40 for a four-hour workshop. Cheap. Fits my budget perfectly.

When I made the appointment, I expected two retired business executives, like Statler and Waldorf of the Muppet show. That’s not who I met. I met a young man, whom I’m pretty sure hasn’t yet celebrated his 30th birthday, and an older woman who answered my questions as fast as I asked them. They were terrific.

When I asked if I might qualify for a business loan of say, $2,000, to start Baskethound Books, I got an understanding of just what small potatoes I am. The counselors looked at one another with raised eyebrows, and the older woman told me that SBA loans start at $50,000. No banker would talk to me for less than a cool half million. Okay…

The best advice I received from them was to find knowledgeable people to help me through the maze of taxes and money management. I’ll need an accountant and down the road, I’ll probably need to hire an attorney, someone who specializes in business law. They gave me a list of names for both and encouraged me to interview these professionals before I hire.

SCORE – for the life of your business.



(Above) Waldorf and Statler are Muppets, not retired CEOs. They are owned by Walt Disney Corporation, whose permission I did not seek before using their image in this blog. Please do not sue me.

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