Mentoring plays an important role in helping small businesses grow. A good mentor can help you nurture and establish your business on a solid foundation and sustainable footing.
Table of Contents
What is a small business in the US?
Defining a small business is a highly subjective matter, but there are certain parameters that can be considered for flagging a business as small.
In the United States, the U.S. Small Business Administration has issued a Table of Size Standards that helps a business determine its size. However, even though this provides a high degree of standardization in a business’ size classification, the definition of size can vary by industry, revenue, and employment.
Generally, a business is classified as small if its revenue ranges from $1—40 million and employs a headcount of 100—1500.
Do small businesses need entrepreneurial mentoring?
According to Sheila Eugenio’s publication titled 7 Reasons You Need a Mentor for Entrepreneurial Success, mentoring is immensely important for small businesses and has proved instrumental to entrepreneurial success.
MentorCloud maintains in its publication titled Why Mentorship Is More Important Than Ever During A Pandemic that the COVID-19 outbreak that led to the secession of international trade at least in the initial few months made mentorship programs more important than ever before. It cites the reason that small businesses that comprise most of the US and global business diaspora were not adept at responding to pandemics in a smart and swift enough manner.
This quite clearly and understandably flashes the importance and significance of entrepreneurial mentoring for small business owners and managers, given the infrastructural and operational fragility of such businesses.
The processes, human and intellectual resources, and contingency funding and planning in most small businesses are not strong and robust enough to respond befittingly to market jolts.
Therefore, small business owners and managers need to find mentors. But, how?
Finding the right mentor!
If you are a small business owner or manager or aspiring to be one, it takes more than just searching to find the right mentor.
Let’s look at what the small business owners and managers need to do to find themselves the right mentor.
Clarity of thought
You can only find a mentor when you are clear on the need for and importance of entrepreneurial mentorship. If you are lacking in clarity, you will end up making half-hearted efforts that will prove futile.
A blazing determination is a prerequisite to finding the right mentor. Simply put, if you want to achieve something in life—be it finding a business mentor—your resoluteness will pay off.
Before you set out to find a mentor, do some soul searching: know what kind of a mentor you need. Not every entrepreneurial expert can be your mentor simply because one size does not fit all. You are unique and so is your business, and this demands that your mentor should be aligned to the heterogeneity of your person and your business.
Where to find the mentor?
Once you have established the need for finding a mentor, you need to explore and identify the socio-economic spheres where you will search for the mentor, and I can assure you that the opportunities are endless.
These include your personal and professional networks, whether in real life or on e-platforms such as LinkedIn.
Your mentor could be an existing entrepreneur who started the same business as yours a few years ago, or a subject matter expert who has gained extensive knowledge through research.
The mentor is not necessarily or supposed to be a single person, but everyone who can and does contribute to your entrepreneurial capacity building in an advisor’s capacity.
Sometimes, you come across seasoned entrepreneurs or professionals—particularly the ones recognized for their expertise in a particular niche—during formal or informal interactions, such as a seminar, a webinar, or a workshop, and end up getting valuable guidance from them.
In the case of small businesses, governments at the federal, state or the local level also provide mentoring support, one example of which is the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Free Business Counselling service.
If you are resolute about finding a mentor and mentoring support, there is no dearth of them out there.
Haroon Jafree (CPA) as Trade Promotions Management mentor
Haroon Jafree is a Connecticut-based Certified Public Accountant who is an expert in Trade Promotions Management. He has served for over a decade at C-suite levels (COO and CFO) in notable US CPGs, such as the Saffron Road, Sabra Hummus, and Hillshire Brands.
CPG stakeholders, including executives and managers, can take his mentoring for successfully designing a trade promotions management process—which most CPGs struggle with—through a free consultation.
He is the CEO of Expertise Accelerated–Connecticut-based outsourcing and staff augmentation specialist for accounting & finance services—and works in fractional CFO roles on the sidelines.
Expertise Accelerated’s service and quality set it apart from the mainstream outsourcing accounting services and staff augmentation firms.
Envisioning tactical competitive strides for US SMEs, Haroon’s formulated quality-driven co-sourcing/staff augmentation solutions leveraging offshore talent pools that proved to deliver 60 percent payroll savings.