7 Places to Find Your Own Small Business Mentor | SCORE

BusinessMentorNo matter what type of business you run, having a “mentor” to help guide you can increase your odds of success. Having a wise, loyal advisor – especially one who’s “been-there, done-that” – is like money in the bank. Mentors can’t make decisions for you.  That’s your job.  But their expertise can be invaluable as a sounding board or reality check.  Mentors aren’t in it for the money.  Generally they work with business owners for free, for the satisfaction of helping out. So how do you find such a person? Here are some places and organizations that help match mentors with business owners or startup entrepreneurs: SCORE (www.score.org) is probably the best-known organization providing free (and confidential) mentoring to small business owners via its national network of some 13,000 retired business executives, leaders and volunteers. SCORE’s volunteer mentors share their expertise through both in-person and online counseling (via email). Small Business Development Centers (SBDCs) are another great source of free or low-cost help and advice for current and would-be business owners of all types in all locations. There are over 1,200 SBDC locations nationwide. For help locating one, visit http://www.asbdc-us.org. Women’s Business Centers (WBCs) offer business training, counseling and other resources to help women start and grow successful businesses. To find your nearest WBC check the Office of Women’s Business Ownership at http://www.sba.gov. Minority Business Development Centers, part of the U.S. Department of Commerce, offer free help to minority-owned businesses through about 40 centers nationwide.  Visit the Minority Business Development Agency at http://www.mbda.gov. Trade or Professional Associations: Many trade and professional associations operate mentoring programs for business owners just starting out. Some offer formal one-on-one mentoring sessions as well as group networking opportunities.  Check associations in your industry. Mentors for Government Contracting: If your business plans to sell to the federal government, the General Services Administration (GSA) offers a Mentor/Protégé Program designed to encourage prime contractors to help small businesses be more successful in government contracting and enhance their ability to perform successfully on government contracts and subcontracts. You’ll find it at GSA.gov. Your Own Network: Who do you know? Is there a previous boss who was very inspiring to you or a friend who is a business owner? Ask that person to be your mentor or share his or her successes and struggles. You have nothing to lose. Just be prepared to share with them why you chose them in particular, your goals and what you are looking for from them. The best way to connect these days is LinkedIn. Make sure you’re on it! Here are some tips for getting the most out of a mentoring relationship: Be organized, prepared and consistent. No one wants to waste their time if you aren’t serious about success. Plan your mentoring sessions in advance. These could be as simple as having a one-on-one consultation or lunch meeting once a month to discuss where you are against your business goals, how best to tackle business obstacles, getting advice on business processes or regulatory requirements that you don’t understand, and so on. Casual one-on-one sessions are good, but also have more structured sessions that address different aspects of starting, running, managing and growing your business. A good starting point is for you to prepare a detailed agenda of items to discuss at each meeting. Take notes, take change of your “action items” and review progress against these in your next session. Be respectful of your mentor’s time. Use their insight and apply as you best see fit. It’s still your business.

Source: 7 Places to Find Your Own Small Business Mentor | SCORE

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Mentoring to Build a Better Profession

In addition to being personally beneficial, mentoring is a way to help cultivate and improve a profession that you are passionate about. It is a means for transferring technical knowledge as well as an opportunity to model and promote your educational, ethical, and professional values to others in the field.That’s why it is great news that, in round numbers, 65% of respondents to a recent CFA Institute Financial NewsBrief poll reported that they have mentored fellow finance professionals. It’s also good news because there is never a shortage of interest from early- to mid-career investment professionals for such career support.Have you voluntarily and proactively mentored fellow finance professionals?Of those who reported mentoring experience, 15% did so as part of formal programs. Certainly formal processes abound. At times in the past, these programs were primarily designed to help the development of high-potential employees for succession-planning purposes. But companies have found that mentoring is a good recruitment and engagement tool for all levels and types of employees and have grown or launched internal programs accordingly. Moreover, many firm alumni and professional associations — including several CFA Institute member societies — run mentoring programs. There are opportunities to plug into a formal mentoring structure for those who are interested.Half (50%) of respondents  mentored in an unofficial way. This likely includes many in managerial roles who look to mentor — not just supervise — their direct reports and, in turn, build more effective teams around them. In the book Managers as Mentors, Chip Bell and Marshall Goldsmith compared this process to panning for gold. The gold is mixed in with a lot of sand and you have to patiently shake away the excess so that you can sift through for the nuggets of gold. Managers are in a particularly good position to help their reports work through challenges, patiently shaking away the sand, and then sifting for the insights that help their staff develop.

Source: Mentoring to Build a Better Profession

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How to mentor and inspire an employee – Smart Business Magazine

There are many learnable skills in the food service industry: food cost and payroll management, effective ordering, inventory and stocking techniques, food preparation and facility management. These are industry critical skills; while they do not necessarily transport to smart business in general, what does freely translate across all businesses is the ability to communicate and coordinate with nearly everyone and inspire them by being a mentor to perform, successfully, the tasks that need to be done… with a smile. When we find someone with this wonderful skill and we see it is also accompanied by other important leadership skills like discipline, hard work, integrity and “smarts,” we single out this rising star and go to work. Some folks call it the “fast track,” although there is nothing especially fast about it. The accelerated learning pace always proceeds at the speed the star can absorb the information and the experience. How fast and how well the person “gets it” is an indication of the magnitude of the star. So, let’s say you have a rising star on your hands; a real high achiever who has the potential to do big things for your team and your business. How do you effectively develop this person to his or her full potential?

Source: How to mentor and inspire an employee – Smart Business Magazine

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Seattle lessons for Phoenix tech startups

As the Phoenix area’s burgeoning technology sector seeks to keep entrepreneurs and investors interested in the region, startups must ponder the talent competition it faces with leading tech cities. Paul Gambill, an Ahwatukee Foothills native and Arizona State University graduate, headed to Seattle five years ago, where he has worked for several tech firms and now heads operations for Mentor Creative Group. Mentor Creative runs a tech startup atop Seattle’s Smith Tower overlooking Puget Sound. Gambill said he opted for Seattle because he wanted to live in a major tech hub other than California’s Silicon Valley. While Seattle’s technology sector has grown steadily, it’s ballooned in the past several years, and technology startups compete there with industry giants such as Amazon, Google and Microsoft. For companies hoping to attract new talent, it takes more than good compensation and benefits. Gambill and other recruits say they’re also looking at what a company offers, the office culture and if there is opportunity to make a social impact through their work. If Arizona startups are looking to hire employees and build out the sector, they’ll have to be thinking about the culture and benefits that tech industry workers have grown to value. Several key approaches are evident in Seattle’s gains.

Source: Seattle lessons for Phoenix tech startups

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UA hires ‘mentors-in-residence’ to help spin off tech startups


The University of Arizona has hired three “mentors-in-residence” to help launch new companies from UA-bred technologies. Bruce Burgess, Kevin McLaughlin and Mike Sember will be half-time UA employees and help guide UA startups as part of Tech Launch Arizona’s Commercialization Partners program, the UA said Monday. In its first three years of operation, Tech Launch has helped create 26 startup companies, and the agency has a goal of creating 13 more during the current fiscal year ending June 30, the UA said. The Commercialization Partners program was launched in early 2014 with a dozen volunteers to help advise teams of Tech Launch staffers and UA inventors. Pause Current Time 0:00 / Duration Time 0:00 Loaded: 0%Progress: 0%0:00 Fullscreen 00:00 Unmute Burgess will be dedicated to biomedical devices and diagnostics, the UA said. He has 30 years of business experience, having developed numerous medical device, diagnostic and drug-delivery products. He was an executive at Eli Lilly and later was responsible for the growth and acquisition of three early-stage medical device companies. McLaughlin, mentor for physical sciences and engineering technologies, has more than 30 years of experience in tech commercialization and executive roles, formerly working for Motorola, Cray Research, Silicon Graphics, Cisco Systems and Avid technology. Recently an adjunct lecturer for the UA McGuire Center for Entrepreneurship, has been working for nearly a year with Tech Launch license managers and is mentoring several startup teams.

Source: UA hires ‘mentors-in-residence’ to help spin off tech startups

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9 Ways to Find a Business Mentor

mentorA mentor has a huge influence on how you run your business. A mentor guides you in ways you never would have thought about, helping you make smarter decisions and connecting you with other industry experts. Finding the right one, however, isn’t always easy. Here’s how you can start: A. Keep Pitching Pitching the business idea creates a myriad of opportunities for encounters with potential mentors. On occasion, the passion behind the idea is equally met with enthusiastic yet succinct questions. Make an effort to continue discussions with those that exhibit expertise through intelligent responses to your pitch. Through continuous dialogue you will understand the fit of an excellent mentor. – Brian Chiou, Enigma Systems LLC A. Network at Local and Trade Events The best mentors for me have always been those I’ve met at trade shows or networking events through colleagues or general conversations. Getting out there and meeting people face-to-face will give you a better chance of finding someone who’s your perfect mentor match. – Jaime Derringer, Design Milk A. Reflect on Who Has Already Been There for You You might have one already and you don’t realize it. If you reflect back on your past experiences with the added benefit of time and perspective, it should be pretty clear who has been there for you beyond just getting a job done. It’s those people who take the time and patience to grow and push you into a better version of your professional self that’d I’d deem mentor-worthy. – Michael Wasilewski, Frank Collective A. Read Books A great mentor is someone who’s lived an adventurous life filled with experiences that are relatable to your journey. What is a book but a collection of an exceedingly successful person’s experiences? Reading a book by Peter Thiel or a biography of Elon Musk is the equivalent of having a rock-star entrepreneur share their secrets to success. – Zimin Hang, Ultradia

Source: 9 Ways to Find a Business Mentor

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Why every CEO should have a business coach – Insider Louisville

Imagine sport without any coaching.  No guidance, no structure, no discipline: a free for all. Without wishing to disparage the average high school, college or even pro athlete, at best most games would end up as chaotic screaming matches, at worst all‐out brawls. Amusing though the idea may sound to some, even an improvement, sports without coaching would make political debates sound more like afternoon tea at Downton Abbey. The idea that any athlete could climb to the pinnacle of their chosen sport without coaching is unthinkable to the point of being absurd. And yet, amazingly, in the business world many owners and executives decide that coaching is surplus to their requirements. A significant proportion of business owners and executives believe that they either cannot afford a coach or, more likely, do not need one. Is it any wonder that running a business can often feel (and often is) slightly chaotic? Don’t just take our word for it Just for a bit of fun, take a minute to Google the words “everyone needs a coach”. The first hit is a short video featuring Bill Gates, founder of Microsoft and (usually) the world’s richest man, and Eric Schmidt, the former Chief Executive of Google and himself worth $11 billion. Take 86 seconds out of your day to watch it – if you run a business and don’t have a coach, at the very least it should give you pause to ponder why you think you know more about it than Gates or Schmidt. Schmidt himself is a particularly interesting example of someone who appreciates the value of a coach as well as having performed that role himself. “Getting a coach is the best advice I ever got,” he says, and perhaps those were the words he used when he was tapped to run Google after its founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page felt that they needed a more experienced hand at the helm.

Source: Why every CEO should have a business coach – Insider Louisville

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Why successful leaders have peer mentors – Business Insider

The concept of soliciting feedback on your performance at work might sound strange. Mandatory performance reviews are stressful enough — it seems almost masochistic to subject yourself to hearing about your failures and “areas for improvement” when it’s not required. Yet experts say the most successful leaders are often the ones who actively seek feedback and advice from the people they work with. According to Suzanne Bates, CEO of Bates Communications and author of the new book “All the Leader You Can Be,” successful leaders often have peer mentors, or coworkers who they regularly exchange feedback with. Bates says seeking feedback on your performance is a critical step on the path to developing executive presence, which she defines as “the qualities of a leader that engage, inspire, align, and move people to act.”

Source: Why successful leaders have peer mentors – Business Insider

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My Mentor, My Mensch –

A MENSCH, dictionary-wise, is person having admirable characteristics, such as fortitude and firmness of purpose. A person of fundamental decency. A MENTOR is described as a sponsor or supporter. I don’t like either of these definitions. Here’s what a mentor and a mensch are in the real world. A mensch is a stand-up guy. A guy you’d trust with your wife, or your sister. A mensch will bail you out of jail, back you up in a bar fight, commiserate with you when your girlfriend runs off with your tax guy, and a mensch will co-sign a loan, or a lease. Most importantly, a mensch will NOT ask for anything in return. A mentor is a guy who takes the time to show you how to do something that you want to do, but don’t know how to do it. It’s usually an older guy, but not always. My mensch I had a mensch in my life. His name is Dave. He stood by me and my family. He did something for us that was selfless, and he did it because it had to be done. When I thank him (which I do profusely, and often), he shrugs it off… My mentor I had another mentor in my life as well. A guy who helped my get ahead in my career when I was young and dumb. I went to work in an office that was a real shark tank. I nearly got myself fired on day #1.  The reason I survived was due to the patience and selflessness of my boss, who would sit with me late into the evening and gently guide me.  It must have been a trial for him–I was so full of crap–but he listened and smiled. – See more at: http://goodmenproject.com/featured-content/my-mentor-my-mensch-snsw/#sthash.sWQFMcVy.dpuf

Source: My Mentor, My Mensch –

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Study finds mentors ease stress, burnout

When Lebena Varghese arrived at Northern Illinois University as a doctoral candidate in 2013, she received a message from her program director asking what she was looking for in an academic mentor. Male or female? Someone a year ahead of her in the psychology program? Or perhaps someone with more experience? Did she prefer a mentor in social psychology or one who shared her own specialty of industrial-organizational psychology? Now, Varghese is mentoring a student who recently transferred from clinical to the industrial-organizational side, and she finds her role is mainly providing reassurance that her mentee isn’t behind as a result of switching from one focus area to another. Such emotional support is a key to good mentoring and helps employees — or even graduate students with heavy research workloads — reduce stress and burnout, Varghese said. She and three colleagues at NIU conducted a study that found mentoring is especially effective for individuals vulnerable to severe stress because they don’t feel capable of handling some job tasks or feel overwhelmed in the job environment. For those people, whose personalities may include “trait neuroticism” characteristics such as powerlessness, anxiety and sadness, there’s a greater chance of job burnout, Varghese said. “When a mentor is present, that positive relationship gave those individuals a boost,” she said in a phone interview from the NIU campus. The study, conducted in spring 2014, included responses from 325 individuals who participated on MTurk, a crowdsourcing tool on Amazon.com. About 62 percent of those surveyed were male, 74 percent were white, and their ages ranged from 18-73. Stress and burnout in the workplace have been well documented, so Varghese and her colleagues wanted to determine how mentoring might help alleviate those conditions. Mentorship, she said, “is basically having people there that guide you in the right path and are constantly there in your realm.” Formal mentoring programs can help employees at-risk of stress and burnout obtain more confidence and feel more engaged in the organization, Varghese said. Such mentoring is common among Fortune 500 companies and usually involves matching employees based on career aspirations or interests.

Source: Study finds mentors ease stress, burnout

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