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Tips for Young Entrepreneurs During National Mentoring Month

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Tips for Young Entrepreneurs During National Mentoring Month

By kmurray, Contributor and Moderator
Published: January 8, 2014

As a young entrepreneur, you may be looking for advice or guidance as you consider starting your own business. A great place to turn? A mentor.

And January is National Mentoring Month. Every year, this month highlights the positive role that mentors have in helping shape the success of young people – from the classroom to the working world. Read on for more about why and how to get started with a mentor.

Why should I have a mentor?

According to the Startup Genome Report, statistics show that entrepreneurs and startups are more likely to succeed with the help of an effective mentor. That may not come as a surprise – a mentor brings with him or her a wealth of knowledge, experience and insight that you won’t find anywhere else.

  • An insider perspective

Aside from the “been there, done that” know-how a mentor can pass along, consulting with one can be a great way to gain a fresh perspective and broaden your outlook. Especially if you’ve been developing your ideas solo, having a sounding board in a business mentor can offer a sanity check or an outlet to help focus your ideas.

  • A sophisticated skillset

If you feel that you’re struggling with a particular task as you’re trying to start your business, a mentor can help. From accounting to technology, many mentors have a particular area of advanced skills. So as you gain high-level industry insight, you can also further your technical abilities essential to your future business.

  • A vast network

With years of experience, a mentor likely has an enviable network of industry connections. The importance of networking can’t be understated, so expanding your network with the help of a mentor can be a great way to meet potential partners, customers and decision-makers in your target market. A personal introduction can strengthen that new tie when compared to meeting someone randomly at an event.

How can I find a mentor?

Two great options to consider for mentorship are SCORE and Small Business Development Centers.


Sponsored by SBA, SCORE is a nonprofit network of retired business executives, leaders and volunteers who provide free and confidential counseling, mentoring and advice. It has more than 358 chapters with 13,000 + volunteers who share their expertise through in-person and online mentoring.

SCORE counselors often have a specific area of expertise for all stages of business. While your primary counselor will be your main point of contact, he or she can help identify and introduce you to other specialists – from accounting and marketing to management and technology.

In addition, the SCORE website is chockfull of great resources, including how-to guides and tools, online workshops and more. You’ll also find a listing of its local branches that operate in-person workshops.

  • Small Business Development Centers

Also sponsored by the SBA, Small Business Development Centers (SBDCs) are partnerships primarily between the government and colleges or universities that provide educational services to small business owners and entrepreneurs at any stage of the business process. They offer technical assistance through confidential one-on-one counseling, training seminars, assistance with SBA loans, business plan guidance and more.

Find your nearest SBDC.

So if you’re getting started with ideas to start your own business and are looking for some guidance, consider reaching out to a business mentor to help you succeed.

Additional Resources

About the Author:

Katie Murray

Contributor and Moderator

I am an author and moderator for the the SBA.gov Community. I'll share useful information for your entrepreneurial endeavors and help point you in the right direction to find other resources for your small business needs. Thanks for joining our online community here at SBA.gov!


Great article on mentoring. What so many people don't understand is that a good mentor can save you years and years of toil in one sit down session with a industry specific mentor. They will know a great deal about things to avoid and what works and doesn't work, shaving years off your learning curve.
An extremely useful post. Thanks for letting us know about SCORE. This organisation could help us work wonders. Also,Small Buisness Development Centre could servce both as our sounding board as well as our guide.
Both great resources! Young entrepreneurs in the San Diego, CA area can also receive no-cost training on starting and running a business through the Youth Entrepreneurship Program.
This was a very informative article on the role of a mentor in the success of an entrepreneur. Providing insight and experience lends to the vicarious nature of passing wisdom, to upcoming entrepreneurs.
Very great post and comments. I started working for myself as a window cleaner at the age of 17. I wish I had a mentor at the time to tell me these things.
Starting a business is very difficult. Especially if you have never engaged in business. Thanks for the useful article and information. It helps me.
Mentors/business coaches are must for a start-up. The mentors have gone through the new entrepreneur stage a long back and know how to proceed with a limited resource to stand and run the business. But one thing the start-up entrepreneur are always advised - Try to avoid investment on credit.
Mentors are required in every path of life, if one is getting the service either from SCORE or SBDC. Then i believe there is nothing to stop anyone from getting the required height in any form of business.
Very informative and descriptive article on the role of a mentor in the success of an entrepreneur. A mentor is a sure-shot way to get a defined track to crack achievements.
Absolutely right on these attributes of a great mentor. Let me add that any mentor needs to be a truth teller. Steve Reinemund, former CEO of PepsiCo talks about the need for a truth teller in the short video at the link below. But I would suggest its something critical for leaders and entrepreneurs at any stage! (This post was edited to remove a link. Please review our Community Best Practices for more information about how best to participate in our online discussions. Thank you.)

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