I am new to the site and like many others don`t wish to interject my opinions if I don`t think I have anything to offer so I will only make two observations in this post.
The biggest complaint I have about trying to find funding or advice on the Internet is the vast proliferation of junk advise. By that I mean people and companies who only want to get your money. As most small business people just starting out, there isn`t much money to spare. These low life vultures will be glad to relieve you of any spare cash you can produce. If I sound bitter, you`re correct. I have never given these types a penny but I know that a lot of people are suckered in every day. No site, not even this one, can keep these snakes from slithering around the forums. What I would suggest is it that anyone thinking of hiring a company or person to promote, evaluate or make a business plan, first post your intention and see what kind of comments or suggestions you receive.
I do have one other suggestion for those seeking funding of any kind. Check out the person or company thoroughly. I have a close friend that had a great idea and went to some people who supplied a lot of promises and then took his product and used it to scam investors. They made millions, he got nothing. These type of people operate on the gray side of the legal line and usually on a scale that keeps the justice department from going after them. They target small unqualified investors who most often give their life saving over for the idea of making ten times their money in very short periods of time. After the money is gone, so is their ability to sue. There isn`t any easy way to become successful without a lot of long hours and hard work.
There is still a lot of opportunity in this country and that will always be for those with the drive to make it.