Lifelong Learning Ensures Success for Small Business Mentors

To succeed in small business, entrepreneurs must be committed to learning throughout their careers. That learning doesn’t stop once they gain the expertise and confidence to become business mentors.

A few months ago, we welcomed 420 SCORE volunteers from all over the country to our National Leadership Conference, where we focus on one of our core values: lifelong learning. Over the course of three days, volunteer mentors learned new ways to best serve and reach their mentoring clients.

Mentors also take this time to learn about the topics about which their clients most frequently seek advice: finance, marketing, and technology. By bringing our volunteers together at this annual event, they’re not just able to hear from some industry experts – they’re also able to engage from various chapters to learn how their fellow mentors are serving small businesses in their area.

Because there is so much information out there, mentors can struggle with knowing what sources to go to and which are most reliable – just like our clients. That is why SCORE has our Learning Management System, so we can sift through all of the information and share what makes the most sense.

Mentors Share Diversity in Learning

I always enjoy hearing from mentors, who radiate enthusiasm whether they’re talking about their clients or attending a seminar to sharpen their skills.

“My experience with SCORE is that you never stop learning, ” reported mentor Mary Jane Good from the Greater Cincinnati chapter told SCORE in a recent profile highlighting her successes. “You learn from other volunteers, your clients and National. SCORE's Mission on supporting and growing small business keeps me involved in the organization. It is a sincere pleasure seeing a client come to SCORE for counseling and with our input and their hard work, a new business is started and we, in our way, had a hand in it.” Good, who spent 24 years in leadership at a human resources and staffing firm, was recognized with the “Excellence in Leadership” award last year from the Columbus district office of the Small Business Administration.

Roberta Fleischman, who volunteers in Northeast New Jersey, came to SCORE after early retirement from her service at a large pharmaceutical company. She’s brought her financial and management skills to the table as she serves clients in various stages of business development. “I’m learning so much about running a small business, ” she told a regional magazine this summer.

Just as each aspiring entrepreneur who comes to SCORE is different, so are the goals and growth of our mentors. “I have learned to be a better listener, ” Michael Fisher, who has served as a volunteer mentor for four years, says. “I have gained knowledge in new areas, such as social media and how to be honest with someone, yet still encouraging them in their quest. One of the best things I have learned is to have more patience and understanding.”

Small business owners who are lifetime learners adapt to change more readily and are more successful. Volunteers as lifelong learners remain relevant, achieve personal satisfaction and growth. Together, they both contribute to a strong small-business landscape.

How can you commit to a lifetime of learning? Learn more about becoming a SCORE mentor and the ways you can give back to your local small business community.

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