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Counseling, mentoring, resources and more for small businesses

Small-businesses owners in Eastern Pennsylvania don’t have to clean out their bank accounts to take advantage of some of the free resources in the region.

Small-businesses owners in Eastern Pennsylvania don’t have to clean out their bank accounts to take advantage of some of the free resources in the region.

From counsel to training to lists of resources, there is plenty of opportunity to learn without necessarily denting the bottom line.

One such resource is Lehigh Valley Service Corps of Retired Executives, where retired businessman Glenn Cheney mentors startups and struggling small-business owners who call the volunteer organization for assistance.

“I have counseled people who wanted to start RV parks, bike shops, restaurants, retail shops and even biological testing labs. … The type of people that come to us defy description. It is everything you can imagine,” said Cheney, who is one of dozens of business professionals, retired and not, providing free counseling, mentoring and resources as part of SCORE.

Cheney said that he has several key pieces of advice for business owners, including first finding your target market and, once you find that market, putting the business name out there.

Then, it is equally important to create a good business plan, stay up on the latest industry reports (one member of SCORE can supply business owners with such reports), get to know your competition and the services they offer and go online to do research.

Cheney recommended visiting the Lehigh Valley SCORE website and check out the most recent entrepreneur guide posted on the site under templates and tools.

“SCORE can provide direction on where to find this stuff to build your business plan, but we will not write your business plan,” Cheney said. “However, we will certainly look at it, and tell you what areas need work.”

GUIDANCE

The Greater Lehigh Valley has plenty of resources for business owners who may be just starting out or perhaps struggling to stay afloat. It is important to establish contact with people who are aware what resources are available, since there may be times a business owner may not have access to online resources or have the time to visit the library, where resources are plentiful.

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