After my speeches I get this question all the time: "What advice do you have for me if I am starting my own business?" In 5 years of speaking not ONCE has anyone ever heard of this organization. So it appears to be a best kept secret.
The organization is the Senior Core of Retired Executives or SCORE. Not to be confused with the popular NYC strip club of same name SCORE consists of a bunch of retired executives (lawyers, accountants, CEOs, CFOs, marketers, PR experts-everyone) They offer free (yes FREE) advice to entrepreneurs. SCORE has offices in most major cities. You can make an appointment with say a former CEO and ask him to look at your business plan. They also have a nationwide business plan library. Want to start a pizza shop? They have a pre written biz plan for that? Want to be a wedding videographer. Got that too! They also have a network where you, living in say Akron, OH, can talk with a biz owner, successful in the very gig you want to enter from Tempe, AZ.
If there isn't an office within catapult firing distance of your house just go to www.score.org. They can help over the web.
If you had your sites on running your own shop, SCORE.org is your first stop. (I seriously didn't realize that sentence would rhyme until I typed the period.)