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How to Find a Mentor in DSM USA for Your Small Business

Small Business Mentor

July 11, 2018

Earlier this spring, SCORE — a resource partner of the U.S. Small Business Administration that provides free one-on-one business counseling and advice to small businesses — conducted a survey of more than 20,000 business owners. The survey, for a report titled “The Megaphone of Main Street: Women’s Entrepreneurship,” reached out to male and female business owners at all points of the business lifecycle: Pre-start up, start-up, in business and transitioning out of the business. Among the finding of the survey, was the impact that mentoring has on small business success.

There was no statistically significant difference in responses between male and female entrepreneurs regarding mentoring, but mentoring’s impact is significant. Entrepreneurs with a mentor are five times more likely to start a business than those without one. And mentoring leads to a greater chance of weathering the challenges that come with that first year in business. Of the small businesses started by SCORE clients within the last year, 87 percent are still in operation. This compares to 75 percent who are still in operation who didn’t have a mentor.

The top concerns of small businesses in the pre-start phase included:

  • Obtaining start-up assistance (31%)
  • Writing a business plan (12%)
  • Human resources issues and business growth/expansion (tie at 10%)

The top concerns of small businesses in the start-up phase included:

  • Start-up assistance, human resources issues, business growth/expansion (tie at 19%)
  • Marketing strategies (18%)
  • Writing a business plan (7%)

For small businesses in operation for more than a year, top concerns included:

  • Human resources issues (32%)
  • Business growth/expansion (30%)
  • Marketing strategies (17%)

These concerns at these stages are all areas that SBA resource partners such as SCORE, America’s Small Business Development Centers (SBDCs), the Women’s Business Centers and the Veterans Business Outreach Centers can provide free, one-on-one mentoring in. Take advantage of mentoring and give your small business a better chance for success.

Learn about other “How to Start a Business” resources, as well as events and networking information in The Partnership’s Small Business Resources Hub or Sign up for the small Business Resources Newsletter and stay connected for information about upcoming events, other resources and the latest announcements in the small business community in Greater Des Moines (DSM).

Dave Lentell

Dave Lentell is the lead lender relations specialist with the U.S. Small Business Administration's (SBA's) Iowa District Office. He helps coordinate SBA's small business loan programs in the state of Iowa and promotes SBA's programs to the small business community. He has been with SBA since 1993.