Would you know what to do if your competitor opened up shop across the street? Your product was featured on NBC’s Today Show? Or, what if your best employee just quit? Sometimes, an entrepreneur needs a sounding board with whom to discuss new business opportunities or looming problems.
In just 60-seconds, we’ll show you how to find, develop and nurture a business mentor that will help you through the booms and busts of small business ownership.
0:60 Figure Out What You Need Help With—and Yes, Everyone Needs Help from Time to Time
Pick out the top three challenges you or your business faces—and prioritize them in order of having the biggest impact on your business success.
0:46 Carve Out Time in Your Busy Schedule to Devote to Meeting with a Business Mentor
It’s not easy for entrepreneurs to find time to meet with a mentor when so much is happening with the business that appears to be and maybe is, more pressing. But, in order to get help, you have to commit some of your time and energy to meeting with your mentor. It’s just like exercise—you’ll be glad that you did it and will feel energized when you finished.
0:38 Find a Mentor you Click With
Visit www.score.org for an online, or “virtual,” mentor; select Mentoring. You will be prompted to ask a question, or enter a few keywords, to help you search for the online SCORE mentor with the expertise you need. When the results from the search are displayed, you can peruse their experience and, in many cases, view a biography that details career information, education and professional affiliations. Then, just select the mentor who best meets your needs.
0:20 Ask Your Question
Now you have a chance to expand on or revise your business question based on learning a little bit more about the mentor you’ve chosen. Type in your question and click "send". Your SCORE mentor will get back to you via email within 48 hours. You can search for different mentors to help you with different areas of your business and can send up to three messages to mentors each day from the SCORE Web site.
0:11 If Online Mentoring is Not for You, Try Face-to-Face
Not every small business owner, or complex business question, can be fielded properly online. Or, you might just want that in-person contact to meet with consistently—or as needed—to bat around those new ideas. If this is the case, visit www.score.org and select Mentoring. Enter your zip code, city and state and search for a small business counseling office near you—there are 389 nationwide. Contact the office to set up an appointment and you’re on your way.
0:03 Oh, Did we Mention it’s Free?
Now, that’s advice entrepreneurs can’t afford to miss out on.