The rewards of being a business mentor

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Rapid growth in El Paso and Teller counties has meant growth in small businesses. People starting and running small businesses face a number of challenges. The mission of the Colorado Springs Chapter of SCORE is helping entrepreneurs and small business owners start and grow their businesses. The chapter seeks new members to meet the increased demand for startup business mentoring. Through our offices in Colorado Springs, Monument, Woodland Park and Leadville, we are providing free, confidential business advice to clients in much of Colorado.

To learn the scope of our services and capabilities, visit our website, coloradosprings.score.org.

Nationwide, SCORE mentors have provided guidance and resources to more than 11 million entrepreneurs since 1964. In 2017, SCORE volunteers helped create 54,500 businesses and 61,500 jobs through face-to-face, telephone and online counseling.

Current Colorado Springs SCORE volunteer mentors have skills and experience as retail business owners, marketing executives, human resource executives, construction managers, attorneys, CPAs, restaurant owners, educators and more.

Our clients aren’t the only people who reap rewards from mentoring, though.

Our volunteers also gain. Serving as a mentor enriches volunteers personally and professionally in these ways:

Accomplishment — Mentors gain a sense of achievement from helping small business owners and entrepreneurs address challenges. Mentors make a positive difference in people’s lives when they help launch a startup or offer more effective marketing guidance to a business owner. This is an effective, satisfying way to give back to the community.

Camaraderie — SCORE mentors are part of a dedicated team of more than 10,000 volunteers across the country who help each other. Mentors draw from other mentors’ proficiencies as they help clients tackle their challenges. Mentors team up to address a client’s unique needs. Through collaboration, mentors learn from each other and build lasting friendships.

Skill-building — Mentors have many opportunities to improve their ability to communicate and lead others. SCORE runs workshops and online courses that train members to be more effective mentors. Leadership skills are practiced by providing guidance and feedback to clients. Within the SCORE organization, whether at chapter, regional or national levels, members can participate in roles such as heading a committee or running a workshop for clients. These activities allow members to engage and build communication skills.

Networking — Volunteer SCORE mentors meet with a wide variety of individuals and organizations. Mentors diversify and expand their networks through working with community leaders, economic development groups and chambers of commerce, leading to new opportunities to serve their clients.

• Learning opportunities — Every SCORE client is an individual, with unique questions and situations. While mentoring clients, members learn and continually stretch the boundaries of their know-how and take advantage of the educational resources available through SCORE, the Small Business Administration and other organizations. SCORE’s webinars, local workshops and online business resources are great professional development tools.

• Your profile — Serving as a SCORE mentor will provide valuable community service talking points. Mentoring also demonstrates an ability to help others, solve problems and collaborate.

Mentoring generates positive energy for the entire community. It is a win for both entrepreneurs and mentors.

Tom Harman, a retired small business executive/owner, is a mentor with the Colorado Springs Chapter of SCORE, a nonprofit business-consulting group. He can be reached at tom.harman@scorevolunteer.org.

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