At SCORE, the power of mentor and mentoring relationships is easy to see year after year.
More than 10,000 professionals with a passion for helping small businesses across the US serve as SCORE volunteer mentors.
Locally in Chester and Delaware Counties, SCORE has more than 70 mentors and subject matter experts (SMEs) supporting small business owners, nonprofit leaders, and aspiring entrepreneurs in person, by phone, via video chat, and by email.
Every day, SCORE mentors provide confidential mentoring at no charge to strengthen our local business communities. According to the U.S. Small Business Administration, small business clients who receive three hours or more of SCORE mentoring report higher revenues and increased business growth.*
*SOURCE: SCORE Foundation annual research survey, client engagement 2020.
What is Mentoring?
Mentors, both retired and actively employed business professionals, share their industry-based knowledge and expertise to help clients solve problems, get a business up and running, increase business efficiency, and assist with developing long-term business plans.
Mentors often have significant experience within their field, using their excellent communication skills to advise how to lead people, manage projects and share practical tools and templates to help clients put their ideas into action.
The ultimate goal is to help business owners and entrepreneurs develop key skills to make informed decisions, lead and succeed.
A SCORE business mentor will dedicate the time needed to address the business owner’s needs, whether that’s one or more sessions, to provide personalized professional support. Most important, they will meet business owners ‘where they are in their vision to start, grow, develop or transition a small business or nonprofit.
Mentoring allows people to grow and improve themselves. Goals are so much more attainable with mentorship and will leave a lasting impact on your business progress.
How can a Subject Matter Expert (SME) help?
Mentors will invite one or more SMEs to a session to provide specialized guidance and insight when the small business leader needs to take a deeper dive into a specific topic. Lately, topics of particular interest following the pandemic crisis include (but are not limited to):
access to capital website design and development
financing strategies social media and digital marketing skills
cash flow e-Commerce
taxation IT, technology, app development
hiring/training/developing associates business planning
What is the Client’s View?
Julie Sebastian, Softball and Fitness Instructor in Newtown Square shares her story.
2019 SCORE Small Business Achievement Award Winner
SCORE Chester and Delaware Counties
“My goal is to teach this amazing sport to young girls, while helping to mold them into model athletes.”
How to find a Mentor that’s right for you
The ideal mentor is empathetic, flexible, and resourceful. In your search, look for an experienced business professional who is open-minded, someone who will listen to you and seek to understand your specific challenges.
A good mentor will help you to assess and analyze your situation, to figure out what actions you need to take to succeed. He or she can connect you to the right resources, identify key issues or problems and provide clear feedback.
Your mentor will ask many questions that will help you to think together about your next steps at every session. Here are some thought-starter questions you may discuss together:
- “What would you like to accomplish today?”
- “Tell me about your business.”
- “Describe your target market and typical clients.”
- “What are your differentiators?”
- “Who are your direct competitors? What are their strengths and weaknesses?”
- “What is your biggest impediment to growth?”
It can be helpful to find a mentor who has experience in your category of goods or services, but it’s not critical. Many business opportunities and issues are similar across industries or market segments. You will be looking for help with the ‘big picture’ as you get started. SMEs can join your discussions to get into functional or industry details as needed.
Len Feehan, SCORE Mentor, and Subject Matter Expert,
shares his experience with Annette Pyatt at CCIP,
2021Small Business Achievement Award Winner
“My role was to advise Annette on ways to strengthen the Chester Community Improvement Project’s digital marketing and online communications as well as rebuilding their website.”
Make 2022 your best year yet for your small business or nonprofit organization.
If you work with a mentor, take time this month to say “Thanks!” Send them an email or pick up the phone to touch base again.
If you haven’t met with a SCORE mentor, what are you waiting for? Find a mentor who can help you and start working toward your 2022 business goals together.