If you have a small business or want to start one, then you probably want to put yourself in the strongest position for success.
One of the ways to do this is to get a mentor. In fact, according to a survey of over 20,000 businesses from the Service Corps of Retired Executives (SCORE), entrepreneurs who have a mentor are five times more likely to start a business than those who do not have a mentor. SCORE is a nonprofit that works closely with the Small Business Administration (SBA) to place volunteer retired business executives with small businesses seeking experienced advisers and mentors.
What’s more, 87% of businesses with a mentor are still open after one year in business, compared to 75% of businesses without. So, getting a mentor makes business sense and will often make your journey as a small business owner more successful and less stressful.
Finding a Business Mentor Through SCORE
There are several ways to find a business mentor—including making connections yourself with executives you admire. But this can be difficult to find time for if you are already running a business.
One of the most reliable ways to find a mentor is with SCORE. They’ve been around since 1964 and donate their expertise in over 600 areas of skill to entrepreneurs across the US.
These mentorships are typically one-to-one sessions to advise new and experienced business owners on different aspects of running a business and cover a full range of business topics.
How Much Do SCORE Services Cost?
Because Service Corps of Retired Executives receives funding from the U.S. government and because the over 10,000 mentors are volunteers, the program is free to small business owners and those planning to start a business.
SCORE’s Free Webinars and Courses
SCORE offers more than just one-to-one mentoring. They also offer a wide variety of live and recorded webinars and courses on demand.
These can include subjects like:
- Marketing plans
- Business planning
- Profit and loss projection
- Keeping up with trends
- Licensing requirements for food trucks
- Hiring an accountant
- How to get clients to pay you
- Cash flow pitfalls
- Email marketing
- Managing your business assets
These resources are all offered at no charge. You just need to sign up for the webinar, class, or resource you want.
Who Qualifies For SCORE?
If you own a business or are trying to start one and live in the U.S., then you qualify for SCORE. That’s it.
How to Find a SCORE Mentor
You can find a SCORE mentor by filling out a form. Once you fill out the mentoring request form, the people from SCORE will attempt to call or contact you at least three times in the two weeks after you filled out the form.
Normally, business owners and mentors connect within a few weeks, but if you don’t, you can contact SCORE at firstname.lastname@example.org.
You will be assigned a mentor and how that relationship goes is up to you. Some people talk to their mentor on an ongoing basis, while others reach out for specific questions.
What Kind of Help Can SCORE Mentors Provide?
Mentors can provide expertise across a wide variety of areas, and business owners may seek help from more than one mentor depending on their needs at the time.
Areas of expertise include:
- Business strategy and planning
- Human resources
- IT services
- Intellectual Property
- Legal services
SCORE is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization and it operates as a resource partner of the US Small Business Administration (SBA). The Small Business Administration administers a Congressional grant which provides SCORE with its funding.
How Does SCORE Compare With the SBA All Small Mentor-Protégé Program?
The first difference between SCORE and the SBA All Mentor-Protégé Program is that SCORE is open to all kinds of U.S. based businesses and the All Small Mentor-Protégé program is specifically geared toward government contractor businesses.
The other main difference is that SCORE provides you with a mentor or mentors while you have to come into the All Small Mentor-Protégé program with a mentor already identified.
The Bottom Line on SCORE
Many business skills are things you have to acquire with experience, and it’s a lot easier to avoid mistakes and get the right experiences when you have someone pointing you in the right direction.
The SCORE program has been proven to help give businesses an edge and help them succeed. It’s free to US based business owners and those who want to start a business and is worthwhile checking out.