Almost anytime Brandon Shults makes a decision about his start-up communications company he has a real-life, business version of "What would Jesus do?" behind him.

Shults has connected with many of the nation's top CEOs on LinkedIn, and following the suggestion of his SCORE mentor, asks them no more than two questions a month.

By limiting his interaction, he can tap their expertise for free, said Shults, a resident of rural Asotin County and founder of Ion Integrated Systems.

"It's great," he said. "You have guys who are huge successes helping you."

Shults is one of more than 200 individuals in the region who have received no-cost pointers from SCORE since the Tri-Cities chapter extended its reach to north central Idaho and southeastern Washington this year. Among them are people like Shults with new inventions and owners of existing businesses.