It’s surprising how many people are in businesses that are unaware of the tremendous resources that are available to them. The obvious place that most entrepreneurs go to first is a local chamber of commerce. This is a good choice, but slightly under the radar are two organizations that offer no cost business consulting.
Small Business Development Centers (SBDCs) and SCORE were started by the Small Business Administration (SBA) to partner with local organizations and resources with the aim of providing “educational services for small business owners and aspiring entrepreneurs.”
Every state has a network of Small Business Development Centers, typically based at a university or community college. In Michigan a technology component was added several years ago to assist with emerging technology, thus changing the name to the Michigan Small Business & Technology Development Center (SBTDC).
Locally, the SBTDC has a Regional Office in Traverse City with satellite offices in Boyne City, Northwestern Michigan College, and Manistee. What’s important to remember is that the SBTDC has business consulting services from qualified consultants who have owned their own businesses and have gone through rigorous training. In addition the Michigan SBTDC provides market research information, business resource centers, and entrepreneurial training.
SCORE is nationwide network of volunteers that also offer their own no-cost business expertise to entrepreneurs. In Northwest Lower Michigan there are SCORE offices in Traverse City, Petoskey, and Ludington.