Need advice on planning, marketing, pricing? Many people find informal advisers who help guide them, butthere are also formal ways to hook up with mentors who know the business of business better than you.
The Service Corps of Retired Executives (SCORE) joins entrepreneurs one-on-one with experienced businesspeople. It also oversees broader programs; forinstance, shortly after Richard Rose cofounded a health-food company, he applied for and was chosen to take part in SCORE's Adopt-an-Emerging-Businessprogram. For a year, local experts gave him almost-free guidance in marketing, finance, and management. Sharon's Finest, in Santa Rosa, Calif., is now a$3-million company.
Karen Behnke, whose PacifiCare Wellness, in San Francisco, is now a $6-million business, was chosen in her early years of running the company to takepart in a Stanford Business School project. For a year, students helped her write a business plan and investigate the marketplace. The class, she says, helpedher think about everything from her competitive advantages to her exit strategy. "It also helped me lose emotional possessiveness," she adds.