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The Benefits of a Small Business Mentor

Is your small business still in its infancy? You’d probably be the first to admit, then, that you’ve got plenty to learn. But if you’ve been in the game for five, 10, 15 years … chances are good that you’ve jumped over enough hurdles and through enough hoops that you think you have a pretty good handle on how to run a company.

But the truth is, no matter how much field experience you have, you can always use more. And a small business mentor can help deliver it.

A small business mentor can provide valuable advice, insights and experience that you can’t find in a book or a class. The following are some of the benefits of a small business mentorship, and some tips on where you can find a mentor.

3 Reasons to Seek Out a Small Business Mentor

1. Real-World Experience and Expertise:Yes, you can probably take a course or two on subjects such as accounting, supply management, or even how to be an effective leader. But a mentor is much more likely to have real-world experience actually operating a business, which means they have the ability to tell you how everything they learned worked once they had to apply it outside a vacuum and in a real business.

Better still, a (good) mentor will give you the unvarnished truth. A classroom setting is typically going to be sterile and designed to avoid anything controversial. But if you talk to a person who has actually run their own shop, you’ll likely learn about some of the more unsavory but very real conflicts you run into as a small business owner – vital lessons every entrepreneur can take something from.

2. Networking:The primary benefit of a small business mentor is knowledge of how a business is run. But there’s another type of knowledge you can gain from: who your mentor knows. An established businessperson who’s qualified enough to dole out regular lessons about the business world likely has made a few connections in his or her life – and those connections can be valuable for any number of reasons. Those connections may be other valuable sources of mentorship, or they could be potential business partners, as vendors, suppliers or otherwise.

3. Cheerleading:The psychology of every small business owner is different, and some people can go a whole career without so much as a pat on the back. But trying to start a company from scratch, then growing it on a threadbare budget while outsmarting competitors and sidestepping calamity, is mentally exhausting and will test most people’s limits. A truly involved small business mentor can help you learn … but they can also provide a sympathetic ear when times are difficult, and provide encouragement when you hit important milestones along the way.

How to Find a Mentor

The first place to look if you’re interested in finding a small business mentor is Score.org – a nonprofit “dedicated to helping small businesses get off the ground, grow and achieve their goals through education and mentorship.” They help pair entrepreneurs with mentors via email, video or even in-person meetings across the United States.

The U.S. Small Business Administration also has a list of Small Business Development Centers that offer different types of assistance to small businesses, including advice and consulting.

Mentors can be found in a number of other ways, such as on LinkedIn, at networking events and by simply picking up the phone and calling business leaders in your field.

McManamon & Co. knows the importance of expert advice. Our specialists – whether they’re delivering service in accounting, mergers & acquisitions or just general consulting – bring decades of assistance to the table. In other words, you’re not just getting the 101 class; you’re getting real-world knowhow.

If you need an experienced hand to guide you forward, get in touch with us today. You can reach McManamon & Co. at 440.892.9088 or contact us online.


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