Frequently Asked Questions

SCORE is a non-profit association of volunteer local business veterans committed to building a strong and prosperous Northwest Michigan business community.

How does SCORE mentoring work?
SCORE mentors meet face-to-face with clients to provide guidance and advice on how to start a new business or grow an existing business.   You’ll learn more about the pitfalls to avoid and how to increase your odds of success by leveraging the knowledge and experience of SCORE mentors.  SCORE mentors often meet with clients multiple times to help them achieve their goals. In some cases, follow up meetings may be conducted via phone or at your place of business if that is more appropriate.

I’m not sure if I want to start a business, can I still meet with SCORE?
Yes.  We welcome clients in all phases of business planning, from those who have already made the decision to start a business to those who are simply considering a business idea.  Your mentoring session (s) will help you gain greater clarity regarding your business idea and assist you in making sound decisions.

I already have a business. Can SCORE still help me?
Absolutely!  In addition to start-ups, SCORE mentors have the experience to help you grow your existing business and maximize your success.  In fact, a significant percentage of SCORE’s clients are already in business.

How do I schedule a meeting with a SCORE mentor?
It’s easy!  Simply click the "Schedule a Meeting" button on the right side of the screen to choose a date and time that's most convenient for you.  A meeting may also be requested by calling SCORE at 888-796-4913.

SCORE’s primary office is located at the Traverse City Area Chamber of Commerce at 202 East Grandview Parkway in Traverse City.  SCORE also provides convenient walk-in appointments on Saturdays from 10:00 AM – 12:00 PM at the Traverse Area District Library’s main branch at 610 Woodmere Ave and by appointment at Northwestern Michigan College’s Aero Park campus at 2600 Aero Park Drive in Traverse City.

Is there a fee to meet with SCORE?
No. SCORE mentoring is always free of charge, no matter how many times you meet with SCORE. SCORE mentors generously donate their time and expertise to help entrepreneurs like you succeed in our community and they serve without compensation.  Funding from the US Small Business Administration (SBA) and the support of our local financial partners also helps make SCORE’s services possible.

What should I do to prepare for my first meeting?
Please be prepared to describe your business or business idea and any steps you have taken so far to start or grow your business.  While it’s not necessary to have a business plan prepared before you meet with SCORE, if you have begun drafting one, please bring a copy with you to your meeting with SCORE.  It is also helpful to bring a list of specific questions you would like answered.

What can I expect in my initial mentoring session with SCORE?
You’ll meet with two mentors in a team approach.  We’ll spend time learning more about you, your business idea(s), and needs so we can address your key questions and provide the assistance that will help you start or grow your business.

Will I get specific answers to my business questions in my first meeting?
Yes.  While your initial meeting is focused on learning more about you and your business idea or needs, you’ll get as many specific answers as possible.  Additional questions may be addressed in follow up meetings and other SCORE mentors with specialized areas of expertise may be brought in to assist you if needed.  We may also recommend you consult with outside resources such as a CPA, attorney, or banker for further information and assistance.

How many times can I meet with SCORE?
SCORE mentors are available to you for as long as you need them.  Many clients work with SCORE for extended periods of time to help maximize the success of their business.  In fact, recent research studies show that clients who meet with SCORE at least three (3) times are more likely to be successful.  Thus, we encourage you to take advantage of follow-up mentoring sessions.

Who are SCORE Mentors?
SCORE mentors are successful business professionals from our community who volunteer their time to help small businesses succeed.  Our mentors come with a broad range of experience and have completed SCORE’s mentoring certification process.  A number of SCORE mentors are current or previous small business owners themselves.  With decades of experience in areas such as manufacturing, accounting and finance, marketing and sales, law, retailing, professional services, and more... we have mentors who can help you.

Is SCORE mentoring confidential?
Yes it is.  SCORE adheres to a professional code of ethics, including strict client confidentiality.  You can feel secure in knowing that all discussions and information you share will be held in strict confidence by SCORE.  SCORE will never disclose information about our clients unless they provide us with express permission to do so.  However, we greatly appreciate clients sharing their SCORE experiences with others if they are comfortable doing so.  We are grateful for the many testimonials and referrals SCORE has received from our clients.

What if I need more information or specialized assistance?
Many SCORE mentors have specialized areas of expertise. If needed, you’ll have the opportunity to meet with another SCORE specialist to address your specific need.  We may also suggest that you meet with other professionals outside of SCORE such as attorneys, CPA’s, bankers, or other professional service providers.

What if I don’t seem to ‘click’ with my SCORE mentor?
SCORE mentors have an extremely high client satisfaction rate.  However, on very rare occasions, a client may find there is not an ideal fit with their SCORE mentor.  SCORE Traverse City has over 40 experienced mentors ready to assist you.  Our clients may always feel free to contact SCORE at 888-796-4913 if they wish to request another mentor.

Is it possible to request a meeting with a specific mentor?
All of our SCORE volunteers are certified mentors with broad experience in business and thus, capable of assisting most clients.  And SCORE mentors regularly bring additional SCORE specialists in to work with clients as needed after the initial consultation.  However, if you want to request a meeting with a specific mentor, please call 888-796-4913.

Do I need to be a Chamber member to use SCORE services?
SCORE is fortunate to have a strong partnership with the Traverse City Area Chamber of Commerce and we support one another in the mission of helping businesses succeed in our community.  SCORE’s main office is located at the Traverse City Area Chamber of Commerce.  However, SCORE and the Chamber are separate and independent organizations.  While SCORE encourages entrepreneurs and small businesses to take advantage of the many services the Chamber offers, you do not need to be a Chamber member to use SCORE’s services.  Our mentoring is always free of charge to all clients.

Beyond mentoring, what other tools are available?
SCORE maintains a large library of business educational materials, including online resources, webinars, and more on the SCORE national website at www.score.org.  SCORE can also help direct clients to other valuable resources available in the area. In addition, SCORE offers local workshops and seminars on a variety of important business topics.  Many of these workshops are free of charge.

Can SCORE provide a loan, grant, or other funding for my small business?
No.  SCORE does not provide financing or other funding.  However, SCORE is knowledgeable about the many loan programs and other funding options available for small businesses and we can help direct you to the right resources. In addition, SCORE can help you prepare your business plan which is required to be considered for most business loans and funding programs.


Services are provided by SCORE without regard to race, national origin, gender, age, or disability.  Persons with disabilities may request reasonable accommodations with advance notice of need.  For such accommodations, please contact SCORE at (888) 796-4913 or (231) 947-5075.

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