When you start a small business with little or no experience in doing so, it can be difficult while you are getting your feet wet and learning all of the details that are new to you. One way to make your entry in to being a small business owner easier is to find a mentor who has far more experience than yourself. But where can you find a mentor?
The natural first place to look is your social network of family, friends, former colleagues, business contacts and acquaintances. While you may or may not find a mentor to help you among those people, you will certainly find an experienced business person to help you through the Small Business Association.
The SBA exists to support and encourage small business owners, whose businesses actually make up a large number of all businesses, from start-up and beyond. Getting in touch with a local chapter of the small business association in your area can do wonders for you and your businesses growth. Through the SBA you can participate in SCORE to get free counseling, mentoring and advice from more than 12,400 retired business people.
Meet with one of more of these mentors either in person on online to gain the knowledge and support that you need. Often the mentors are specialists in one area such as human resources, accounting or business planning and you’ll end up with several mentors who do one thing, and do it well. You will have a primary counselor who will help you to find mentors who are best suited to help you with your specific business.
Remember when you meet with a mentor to take the relationship seriously. You are receiving a great favor from them; their time and the wealth of their years of business experience. Set up meetings well in advance, take excellent notes and follow through on their suggestions. Always ask lots of questions. Learn everything you can from them so that you don’t have to waste time making mistakes that they’ve experienced. Then, after you’ve grown your business and have something to share, give back by mentoring the next generation of small business owners.