Whether you are new to business ownership, or a seasoned entrepreneur, a mentor can help you navigate the challenges of starting or managing a business. Most entrepreneurs agree that every business owner could use a mentor. In fact, according to a Sage survey, 93% of small and medium sized businesses see the value of business mentors. And yet, in the same survey, only 28% of those businesses report using mentoring services.
Give your business an edge and take advantage of the following benefits of business mentorship during National Mentoring Month:
- A mentor can guide you through business stages you haven’t faced before. Every phase of business ownership is accompanied by new triumphs and challenges. Instead of toughing out unfamiliar situations on your own, find an experienced mentor to turn to when questions arise. SBA resource partner SCORE, for example, is a great place to start. SCORE offers free small business mentoring at more than 250 chapters nationwide and online via video chat. On SCORE’s website, you can request a mentor with expertise in your industry. In the long run, this will save you time and energy — both valuable resources for busy small business owners.
- A mentor can give you a different perspective on an obstacle. All small business owners hit a wall every now and again. Sometimes you are too close to the problem at hand to step back and determine the right solution without a second opinion. A mentor can help you look at the situation more objectively and find a fix that meets your business’s needs. In addition to SCORE, expert business advice is also available through the SBA’s Small Business Development Centers, Veterans Business Outreach Centers, and Women’s Business Centers.
- A mentor can help you expand your network. Ideally, your mentor will be able to introduce you to a variety of business contacts. For example, your mentor might point you toward someone with experience in a specialized business topic when you have a question about that subject. Your mentor can also help you get a sense of which local networking groups or industry organizations could be valuable for you to join.
- A mentor can help you identify and leverage available tools and resources. Many new business owners find themselves intimidated by the breadth of information available about entrepreneurship. It can be challenging to know what resources to trust, and busy business owners don’t always feel they have time to do the vetting themselves. Someone who has already been in those shoes could come in handy in this situation. Your mentor will already have enough familiarity with the small business landscape to equip you with the trustworthy tools and resources you need to succeed — including SBA resources.