Networking events are a great way to expand your professional network. Talk to as many people as you can and wait for a possible connection to appear. The Small Business Development Centers (SBDC) are independent organizations that provide resources, experience and advice to entrepreneurs. With federal funding from the Small Business Administration, state and local governments, and private sector resources, you can get a free consultation at a nearby SBDC.
SCORE is an organization devoted to helping people start, manage and grow their own businesses. There are currently more than 11,000 volunteers in the program, with 320 chapters across the country. Through SCORE, you can request a free in-person meeting with a mentor to discuss your business idea and potentially form a lasting partnership. The perfect mentor can be found in many places, so don't limit yourself to your current workplace.
Look for mentors in business and women's associations, non-profit organizations, your school or university, family, church groups and even community groups such as business chambers of commerce. Surf the Internet, comment on startup forums and articles, and collaborate when you have questions. This will help you make contacts and friends that could eventually lead to the perfect mentor. In addition, contributing to the community can help improve your company's reputation.
If these companies have been in business longer than you have, they will have considerable wisdom to offer. The Chamber of Commerce can help your company grow and thrive in today's rapidly changing business environment. SCORE focuses on helping small businesses grow and offers “volunteer mentors” who share their experience in 62 industries. This organization can connect you with a qualified business mentor to help you get through the early stages of building your business.
No matter what type of business you run, having a “mentor” to guide you can increase your chances of success. They can provide practical advice on how to manage your company from employee management to accounting.