January is National Mentoring Month, established to encourage all walks of life to seek out beneficial mentoring relationships. In light of that, the Small Business Association has recently posted the article “Tips for Young Entrepreneurs during National Mentoring Month.” Here are the three things they suggest mentoring can provide entrepreneurs like you:
1. An inside perspective. Mentors can offer seasoned insight on your industry, helping you “gain a fresh prospective and broaden your outlook.”
2. A sophisticated skillset. Mentors should be experienced in their field, exposing you to an advanced skillset that will enable you to refine your expectations and set higher professional standards.
3. A vast network. As the article explains, “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 decisions-makers in your target market.”
Where to Find a Mentor
You may be surprised to find that there are many services and organizations through which you can find a mentor. Here are a few:
Government Programs. Specifically the Small Business Association and its affiliate group Score, offer entrepreneurs free advice and consultation services. Their volunteer counselors are often retired executives more than willing to offer extensive advice. Chapters of both organizations can be found throughout the country.
Respected Community Members. Often young entrepreneurs look up to respected community members who have started and maintained successful businesses. These individuals, when approached correctly, make great mentors.
Trade Associations. There are many accounting and bookkeeping associations that can help small business owners find good mentors. These associations also sponsor many conferences and workshops. Attend these functions when possible so that you can network; this way, you’ll have a greater chance of catching the success bug.
Business Groups. Communities often sponsor groups that enable local business owners to network. Join your local Chamber of Commerce, Rotary Club, or Toastmasters and attend meetings. Meet as many people as possible in attempts to grow your business and find just the right mentor.
Alumni Associations. Your alma mater may provide special programs enabling you to connect with other alumni. Universal Accounting Center has an accounting and tax forum that enables UAC associates to interact with one another in an online community environment.
Nonprofit Organizations. There are some nonprofit organizations designed specifically to help small-business owners succeed. Check local listings to see if there are such nonprofit organizations in your area.
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kmurray. “Tips for Young Entrepreneurs during National Mentoring Month.” 8 January 2014 sba.gov