January National Mentoring Month: tap into the insight and experience of a knowledgeable small business mentor
When you start a new business, the possibilities are endless. From the type of products or services, you will sell to deciding on your company name, you have the flexibility to take your business in any direction you want.
Being your own boss can also come with challenges.
When you own a business, it’s up to you to set priorities and make decisions. Whether you’re new to business ownership or you’re a longtime entrepreneur, you may encounter situations you haven’t faced before and felt unsure about how to proceed.
Fortunately, you don’t have to go it alone.
Mentors through SCORE, an SBA Resource Partner, can provide expert guidance. Based on their business experience, SCORE mentors can provide an objective second opinion when you confront a problem or need to make a tough call.
When Abram’s Nation owner Rose Morris invented the Safety Sleeper, a tent-like structure that secures special-needs children with sleep issues, she turned to her mentor at SCORE for help getting it to the marketplace. “The education I received from my SCORE mentor was invaluable in growing Abram’s Nation to become a million-dollar company,” Rose said. In 2017, she was named SBA Exporter of the Year.
According to SCORE, 87% of entrepreneurs with a mentor are still in business after one year, compared to 75% of those without a mentor.
SBA Resource Partners helped countless small businesses–like Abram’s Nation–to start new companies, raise start-up and growth capital, and sell millions of dollars in products and services globally last year alone.
- Small Business Development Centers counseled and trained over 250,000 clients.
- SCORE helped nearly 200,000 clients.
- Women’s Business Centers counseled and trained nearly 70,000 clients.
For National Mentoring Month, take the proven approach to business success and use these strategies to secure your own business mentor:
- Connect with a mentor through SCORE. With more than 10,000 volunteer mentors, SCORE offers free small business mentoring at over 300 chapters nationwide and online via video chat. On SCORE’s website, you can request a mentor with expertise in your industry or who can answer a specific question.
- Seek guidance from other SBA Resource Partners. In addition to SCORE, Small Business Development Centers provide free counseling and low-cost training to help small business owners start and grow their businesses. Veterans Business Outreach Centers provide entrepreneurial development services to eligible veterans, while Women’s Business Centers give free and low-cost counseling and training to women entrepreneurs.
- Attend networking events. If you are in a highly specialized field and want to find a mentor within that niche, industry events can be a great place to start.
Author: Allen Gutierrez, Associate Administrator, U.S. Small Business Administration’s Office of Entrepreneurial Development
About the U.S. Small Business Administration
The U.S. Small Business Administration makes the American dream of business ownership a reality. As the only go-to resource and voice for small businesses backed by the strength of the federal government, the SBA empowers entrepreneurs and small business owners with the resources and support they need to start, grow or expand their businesses, or recover from a declared disaster. It delivers services through an extensive network of SBA field offices and partnerships with public and private organizations. To learn more, visit www.sba.gov.