featured image

Small business mentoring can be invaluable for individuals seeking to enhance their business acumen, leadership skills, and overall career development. The mentorship dynamic fosters a supportive environment for learning and growth, contributing to the mentee’s professional success.

Whether you’re starting or growing a small business, you can benefit from small business mentoring. Put your business on the track toward success through mentorship!

What Is a Small Business Mentor?

A small business mentor is an experienced and knowledgeable person who provides guidance, support, and advice to someone who is less experienced or knowledgeable in the business world. The mentor shares their insights, expertise, and lessons learned to help the mentee develop their skills, make informed decisions, and navigate the challenges of running a small business.

The mentor-mentee relationship often involves regular meetings or interactions where the mentor offers advice, answers questions, and provides feedback. The mentor may draw on their own experiences to help the mentee avoid common pitfalls and achieve their professional and business goals.

Find a Local Mentor in Your Community or Industry

The best way to find an experienced business mentor is to start by looking at your personal network. However, there are other ways to find mentors in your local community and industry:

  • Network locally. Attend local business events, workshops, and networking functions. This could include chamber of commerce meetings, industry conferences, or small business forums. Look for opportunities to connect with experienced professionals in your community.
  • Network via professional organizations. Explore professional organizations or associations related to your business. Many industries have organizations that provide mentorship programs or can connect you with experienced professionals.
  • Discover mentorship programs. Look for formal mentorship programs offered by business organizations, universities, or community groups. These programs may match you with a mentor based on your needs and goals.
  • Ask for referrals. Seek recommendations from your existing network. Someone in your professional circle may know of an experienced individual willing to mentor small business owners.

It is also possible to find an opportunity for small business mentorship through cold outreach such as connecting with someone on social media. But you’re more likely to succeed organically by leveraging a local networking group or participating in a meetup or online forum. 

Connect with SCORE Mentors

Small business owners looking for a more structured mentoring relationship could consider SCORE, a nonprofit organization funded by the U.S. Small Business Administration that provides education and mentorship through a network of volunteers.

SCORE provides small business owners the support they need to launch and grow their businesses and achieve their goals. It provides an array of services, including free, confidential mentorship. 

As you enter a mentorship relationship, remember that the key to success is mutual respect and a willingness to learn. Be open to feedback, demonstrate your commitment to growth, and value the mentor’s time and expertise.

The Oregon Small Business Development Center Network

Our mission at the Oregon Small Business Development Center Network is to provide expert advice, training, and resources for small business owners. Our Centers are conveniently located at Oregon’s 17 community colleges, 2 state universities, and the headquarters of the Columbia Economic Team.

Free small business advising

One of the many benefits of connecting with your local Small Business Development Center is the free business advising services for small business owners. When you tap into the insight of our knowledgeable team of advisers, you also receive valuable small business mentorship through this no-cost service to get support at every stage as you grow your business.

Small Business Management programs

Many of our 20 regional Centers in the SBDC Network provide Small Business Management (SBM) programs. These programs provide a unique combination of classroom learning, one-on-one coaching from a business adviser, and business networking.

These programs can span up to a three-year period and cover a variety of management topics. Learn to identify and prioritize outcomes, and then develop a plan to achieve them in your small business!

Finding and securing financing

When it comes to funding, you want to ensure that any advice you receive will help your business succeed. The Oregon SBDC’s Capital Access Team (CAT) is made up of specialized advisers located throughout the state. They provide expert advice on accessing capital to foster economic growth and resilience. 

To learn more about how the Small Business Development Center Network can help you start a business or grow your business, visit OregonSBDC.org.

Share this: