WomensNet News

Where to Find Good Business Advice

September 23rd 2020

Sometimes it’s hard to know where to find reliable, useful advice from people who know what they’re talking about. Sure, everyone has opinions, but which are the opinions worth listening to? It can be hard to distinguish between people who’ve been there, done that and can share how they handled a situation similar to yours and people who believe they know how they would handle a situation should they ever face it. Big difference.

Fortunately, there are organizations, agencies, and communities you can turn to when you have a “what would you do?” type of question. And you’ll get answers from people who can talk about what they did, and what they’d do now if they faced the same situation.

Here are some of the best we’ve heard of or dealt with:

Service Corps of Retired Executives (SCORE)

This unit of the Small Business Administration—SCORE– provides free business counseling to entrepreneurs and business owners, delivered by retired executives and entrepreneurs who serve as mentors. We’ve heard SCORE can be great at helping you problem-solve when you’re facing a specific challenge or obstacle.

Small Business Development Center (SBDC)

Frequently located on the campuses of community colleges or universities and partially funded by the Small Business Administration, SBDCs also offer free or low-cost advice to aspiring and existing business owners. Face-to-face (or maybe virtual right now) counseling is no-cost, while training is offered at cost, on topics ranging from marketing to business planning to exporting, regulatory compliance, and more. Search to find your local SBDC to learn about the services they provide.

Avvo

This legal advice website allows you to submit a question on the site for free, which an attorney will answer. There are also plenty of useful articles on topics of interest to small business owners, all of which are free to read.

Business Advising

Like SCORE, which pairs you with a mentor, Business Advising matches US small business owners with a volunteer advisor who works with you for free. The nonprofit claims that companies that work with its mentors achieve a 20% increase in revenue, on average, as a result. Although there are no firm rules, the companies that benefit most from the organization’s mentoring typically have been in business for at least a year, have more than one employee, and revenue over $100,000.

StartupNation

This website is chock full of free useful articles offering startups and existing businesses information and guidance designed to help you grow.

Small Business Forum

This old-school bulletin board-style site is a place where you can post questions for other business owners to answer, for free. The group is active and could provide a broader perspective on whatever you’d like help with.

Y Combinator

Y Combinator is a very well-known and respected business accelerator for smaller companies trying to scale quickly. Its YouTube channel, with more than 268,000 subscribers, features instructional videos from a wide variety of entrepreneurial superstars.

Your alma mater

Many colleges and universities—and especially larger ones—have incredible networks that you should definitely tap into. From local meet-and-greets to venture investment funds. MIT’s Castor Ventures, for example, is a venture capital fund to which MIT alums have access as investors. Its sister fund, Alumni Ventures Group, is a potential starting point for MIT alums heading small ventures.

The key with any challenge you may be facing is to zero in on the question you need answered. What piece of information will allow you to progress? Then investigate who is best positioned to answer your question. Some of these organizations may be able to help you.

Women’s Net Blog

Amber Grant Finalists

Amber Grant Winners

Amber Grant Winners

Read winner interviews and see what advice they have to offer for other women entrepreneurs.

Read Their Stories »

How the Amber Grant Works

How the Amber Grant Works

  1. Apply right now by telling us your story. No lengthy, complicated forms.
  2. Our Judges pick a $10,000 Amber Grant winner each month.
  3. One of our 12 monthly winners will be awarded our $25,000 Amber Grant at the end of 2020.

Get a Women’s
Business Grant »

What people are saying about WomensNet

Forbes

“You have to be in it to win it...seize the opportunity and apply.”

Nerd Wallet

“The Foundation awards $10,000 to a different women-owned business every month. At the end of each year, one of the 12 grant winners is awarded an additional $25,000.”

Score

“Launched 20 years ago this grant honors the memory of a young woman who wanted to be an entrepreneur but died at age 19 before she could achieve her goal.”

Fundera

“The Amber Grant Foundation was launched in 1998 to honor the memory of a young woman. The grant was formed to help women entrepreneurs reach their goals when Amber could not.”