Top Reasons You Need a Small Business Mentor

Being a small business owner means being a go-getter, an organizer, an employee, and a manager who assumes the risks of a business. Someone who’s not sure what the day will bring, but who is excited to meet the challenges and find solutions.

This can be exciting and rewarding, overwhelming and stressful, tiring and time-consuming....and sometimes even discouraging.

According to the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Office of Advocacy, 30% of small businesses will be out of business in the first two years.

Here are some of the ways engaging a small business mentor can help:

1. A mentor is a guide, a trusted advisor. There is no coaching or consulting.
They are there to be in the moment with you and focus on your specific problems and needs. Listening is a big part of their job. They want to totally understand what is really going on or not going on. They want you to succeed and they want to be a part of your success, whether it be starting, maintaining or growing your business.

2. Mentors are experienced. They have seen ups and downs, successes and failures. They can draw on this experience to help you through the good and bad times. They can dissect a problem and advise you on many complicated matters. They know what issues must be dealt with immediately and which ones can wait. They may even have to push you out of your comfort zone.

3. Small business owners are rarely experts in every area of their business. A good landscaper is not always a good manager, and a good fisherman is not always a good bookkeeper. Your mentor will work with you to gain and/or strengthen those skills to better run your business overall.

4. Small business owners wear so many hats it can be difficult to keep things straight. Your mentor can help keep structure in both your business and personal life. They can be your sounding board. Venting to your family or employees is never beneficial. Not everyone realizes the amount of stress you are under! Your mentor has been there and understands. They can give you the confidence you need to make those difficult decisions and make you realize how important they are.

5. Mentoring is all about the small business owner and their needs. Whether it be writing a business plan, handling an employee matter, controlling cash flow, advertising, social media, customer service, business development, inventory, sales or any issue that may come up during your day, your mentor is prepared to work it through and come to a resolution with you no matter how many meetings or how long it takes.

Free, confidential mentoring is offered by Coastal Community Capital, 5 Patti Page Way, Centerville, MA 02632, 508-362-3755; SCORE of Cape Cod, 270 Communication Way #5a, Hyannis, MA 02601, 508-775-4884; and Masschusetts Small Business Development Center, 200 Pocasset St., Fall River, MA 02721, 508-673-9783.

About the blogger: Marcia Gaudet is SVP Lending/Portfolio Manager of Coastal Community Capital. Email her at mgaudet@coastalcommunitycapital.org.