They can chuckle about it now.

But a couple of years ago, when their small businesses were in jeopardy, their lack of basic business knowledge was no laughing matter.

Fortunately for them, they found SCORE Lancaster, a source of free, expert mentoring and instruction that turned their businesses around.

“Instead of losses, now I have a self-sustainable organization,” said Maryanne O’Neill, executive director of Mom’s House of Lancaster.

O’Neill was among seven small-business owners honored Thursday by SCORE Lancaster with business development awards.

The awards were presented during a luncheon at Four Seasons in Landisville. Some 250 people attended.

Every recipient who spoke showered praise on SCORE Lancaster for opening their eyes to actual or potential pitfalls.

In many cases, SCORE Lancaster taught them business basics they never even knew existed.

Nichole Kambesis, owner of MaidPro of Central Pa., said the financial-management education she received taught her how to grow her business profitably.