FAQ - SCORE Services

1. Contacting SCORE

1.A. Q: What do I have to do to get an appointment with SCORE ? 

A: To schedule a meeting, you must first register with SCORE. To do this, go to our web site at www.sbscore.org, and click on the blue button that says “Schedule A Free and Confidential Business Counseling Session” on the right. On the next page, fill in the blanks. Please be as detailed and explicit as you can when answering “What Sort of Counseling Do You Need”. 

When everything is filled in, scroll to the bottom of the page and click on “SUBMIT”. If you don’t click on SUBMIT, you won’t have completed the registration process and your data will be lost. Once you have registered, someone from SCORE will contact you in the next 2-4 days.

1.B. Q: Do you ever reject people who register? If you do, why do you reject them?

A: The one qualification for receiving Mentoring from SCORE is having an email address. If you don’t have an email account somewhere, SCORE won’t be able to contact you for meetings with a Mentor. This is because we want people to have a black and white message to refer to after receiving information from SCORE. Telephone messages tend to be misunderstood, lost, and sometimes unintelligible. For these reasons SCORE does not rely on the telephone for its important communications.

1.C. Q: I don’t have my own computer and I know very little about email. Can I still get Mentoring from SCORE? If I don’t have email, how will that work?

A: SCORE requires each client to have access to email. In Santa Barbara, the computer tutoring at the Central Library can probably help you establish an email account and show you the basics of email. Then you can use the computers available in almost any library branch to send and receive emails. The Continuing Education programs at the SCHOTT and Wade Centers often have classes on basic email. The schedules for these programs can usually be picked up at your local branch library.

1.D. Q: Does SCORE have an office where I can walk in and get help? If they don’t, how do they schedule meetings with people who need help? Where do they meet people who need help?

A: Santa Barbara SCORE does not have an office where you can walk in and get immediate help. Instead, SCORE relies on the on-line registration process to set up appointments for meetings with SCORE Mentors.

These meetings generally take place at a coffee shop or possibly at a commercial location which houses your business.

1.E. Q: How do I register for online Mentoring?

A: Get online and go to www.score.org (this is a different website from the one cited above for face-to-face mentoring). Near the bottom of the page there are multiple headings. Find the “Get Started” heading and click on “Find a Mentor”. On the next page, under the “Find an Email Mentor”, enter a keyword from the list below, and click on “Find an Email Mentor”. This will bring up a list of Mentors with skills and experience in the business area that you entered. You can further refine your search if the list is too long for you to wade through.

1.F. Q What happens after I register?

A: You will be contacted by SCORE within 1 or 2 days, often both by email and by telephone. You’ll be asked to call a SCORE individual to go over a few questions. The purpose of these questions is to better define your needs so that SCORE assigns the right Mentor to you. After you have talked with this Intake person, they will go off and find an appropriate Mentor for you. Unless either you or the assigned Mentor is traveling, you should be in touch with your Mentor within about a week. He will set up an initial meeting with you to review your situation and suggest some immediate steps.

2. SCORE Mentoring 

2.A. Q: Supposedly SCORE Mentoring is free. Do I have to pay for follow-on meetings?

A: No, follow-on meetings are also free. They’re free even if you met only once with a SCORE Mentor several years ago, and now come back with more questions.

2.B. Q: What should I expect in my first meeting with a SCORE Mentor? What sort of help will I get by the end of the meeting?

A: You should expect a meeting to last anywhere from an hour to two hours. (The length of later meetings will depend upon the issues to be discussed.) The purpose of the first meeting is for the Mentor to get a better understanding of your specific business. The Mentor will start off by asking you for more details of your business goals, your business situation, and the specific problems or issues that you think are most important now. Then, expect more questions from the Mentor which will help him better define your problems. During this discussion, he
will probably ask whether you’ve already tried certain alternative courses of action to address your problems. He will probably suggest that you research certain topics or subjects in greater detail before your next meeting.

Finally, your Mentor will set up a second meeting with you at the end of the first meeting. So bring your schedule with you. Depending upon your mutual schedules, the next meeting will probably be within two to three weeks after your initial meeting.

2.C. Q: I will need money to get my business going. Will SCORE give me a start-up grant or loan?

A: SCORE does not give grants or make loans. However, they will help you identify and explore other sources of getting start-up money. 

3. Specific Types of Mentoring Activities

3.A. Q: I need to develop a business plan (or for a marketing plan or for a financial plan, etc.). Will my SCORE Mentor help me write this plan? 

A: SCORE Mentors can provide outlines of what a plan should contain and they will offer suggestions about what to include (or not include) in each section of the plan. They will review (often in great detail) what you’ve written and point out ways to improve what you’ve written. As long as you’re making progress in developing your plan, they’ll be willing to keep reviewing it until you agree that it’s ready to

3.B Q: I need to apply for a loan for my business. Will my SCORE Mentor help me prepare the loan application documents?

A: SCORE Mentors will help you advise you on how to gather and prepare the information that goes into a loan application. They will usually review and sometimes provide suggestions as to the best way to present your business and financial situation to a potential lender. However, they won’t fill out the application for you.

3.C Q: Does SCORE have Mentors that can help with legal advice or patents or intellectual property issues? If they don’t, what sort of help can I expect for these types of issues and questions?

A: SCORE Mentors can not give you advice or opinions in matters that require a licensed professional qualification, especially in the areas of law and taxation. If you need any detailed advice in these areas, they will  suggest that you consult a local attorney or CPA who specializes in the area of your particular issue.

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The people at SCORE have been a breath of fresh air in their true desire to help and be a sounding board for us.
Chris Ecklund, MA, CSCS, TPI, USAW
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