The good karma of being a business mentor

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Business Columnist

Monday, May 7, 2018

April was National Volunteer Month, a time to recognize the people who give their time and talents to benefit others.

At SCORE, volunteers are our lifeblood as they enable us to fulfill our mission of helping entrepreneurs and small business owners start and grow their small businesses.

SCORE’s 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. Our clients aren't the only people who reap rewards from mentoring, though. Our volunteers also gain.

Consider the following ways mentoring enriches volunteers personally and professionally:

■ Sense of Accomplishment: Being a mentor brings a sense of achievement as you help entrepreneurs and small business owners address challenges. Whether you're assisting an individual to launch a startup or offering guidance to a business owner to market itself more effectively, you gain the satisfaction of knowing you're making a difference in the lives of people in your community.

■ Camaraderie: As a SCORE mentor, you are part of a dedicated team of more than 10,000 volunteers who help each other. Mentors draw from each other’s’ proficiencies as they help clients tackle their challenges. SCORE has 300+ chapters across the United States where mentors collaborate, learn from each other and build lasting friendships.

■ Skill Building: As a mentor, you have many opportunities for honing your ability to communicate and lead others. Not only can you develop your leadership skills by providing guidance and feedback to clients, but you can also participate in other roles such as heading a committee or a workshop that allow you to engage and build communication skills.

■ Networking: Mentoring opens the door to meeting a wide variety of individuals and organizations. From community leaders to chambers of commerce to economic development groups, you’ll diversify and expand your network, which could lead to new opportunities.

■ Learning Opportunities: Every SCORE client brings unique questions and situations to the table. While mentoring, you will learn and continually stretch the boundaries of your know-how through your work with clients and the educational resources available through SCORE, SBA and other organizations. SCORE’s webinars, local workshops and online business resources are marvelous professional development tools.

■ Your Profile: Serving as a SCORE mentor will give you valuable community service talking point for your resume. Mentoring demonstrates an ability to help others, solve problems and collaborate—traits employers value in job candidates.

Mentoring generates good karma. It is a win for the entrepreneurs and the volunteers who enhance their knowledge, skills and connections through the experience. Learn more at www.score.org.

Dr. Mark Frohman is the owner of Frohman Consulting Corp. and a counselor with SCORE, a nonprofit business-consulting group.