What you can expect from Bridgeport SCORE

Welcome to Bridgeport SCORE Counselors to America’s Small Business
Our counselors are looking forward to meeting and assisting you as you decide whether to start a business or expand one that you already own.  SCORE provides free, confidential and objective counseling. So that you will be better prepared for our meeting and profit from it; here are things you should consider in preparation for the meeting.

Money
Sorry, SCORE can neither give nor lend money to invest in your business. That is what banks do.  They often will do so with the support of the US SBA (Small Business Administration). What SCORE can do is help you make the best possible case to present to your bank.  Your bank will need to see a very convincing case that assures it that the money it lends to you will be repaid in a timely manner and be used to grow a business.

Business Plan
The key to a sound business is a solid business plan.  SCORE will review what is required in a business plan but will not write your business plan for you. We believe it is very important for you to be the author / director of your plan. However, SCORE will give you excellent guidelines for drafting your business plan and will review your particular plan to see if it can be strengthened. Still need help?  SCORE may also be able to point you to a professional business plan writer (who will charge you a fee) to assist you. A bank is unlikely to lend money without a business plan and a good loan request that meets their expectations.

Marketing Plan (Part of Business Plan)
Banks are increasingly interested in how your business will generate the income that you need to repay your prospective loan.  Therefore, a detailed marketing plan is a necessity.  This plan breaks down the anticipated revenue dollars into numbers and types of customers that are realistic and convincing.  SCORE can point you to the resources to find this information and to organize it. This plan also shows how you plan to differentiate your business from your competition, and gives the bank confidence that you have a good chance for success.

Managing Risk
Many entrepreneurs risk their life’s savings when investing in a business.  Will your investment pay off?  SCORE can help you answer that question by making sure you are aware of all the pitfalls and potential problems you can expect to face.  We do not want to discourage people who dream of owning their own business, but we do want them to make informed decisions when it comes to risking their life’s savings.  

Gaining Experience
SCORE finds that the best way to start a business is often to work for someone else in that business.  This way you can “learn” as you “earn.”  Seeing a business from the inside will enable you to make a realistic assessment for the type of work you will be doing on your own.  It will also enable you to make some connections and to start building your network of knowledgeable people who may be of great assistance to you. Among other things, this helps you get a handle on costs and how various competitors try to be different. Additionally, it may afford the opportunity to be in touch with customers to do your own market research.

There is also another - and personal - side for you to have thought about: Am I prepared to make the extra effort if my business is to succeed?  What will be the "tradeoffs" if I take this step (for example, incurring substantial debt)?  How will moving ahead with your idea affect others who depend upon you? Will you "go it alone," at least at the beginning, or do you plan to have others work in your business?