I spent the day volunteering with the Arizona Small Business Association (ASBA) at their annual signature event trade show held at the Princess Hotel. There were over 120 exhibitors showcasing mostly services and products for business owners and well over 1,000 attendees. They had great breakfast and luncheon speakers, including the governor and very informative break out educational sessions.
Within the ASBA framework we have a group of experienced and dedicated mentors who volunteer their time to mentor businesses of all sizes on a weekly basis for a period of four to six months. The cost to the mentees is but a fraction of what it would cost to hire one of our mentors outside of ASBA. Our goal at this trade show was to introduce our Business Mentor Team and to let them know the quality of support we can offer a business.
During the day we offered a free, one half hour mentoring sessions during which we asked them what their most pressing business issue was and the spent the rest of the time addressing that issue. We had time to work with 24 business owners and I am sure that the majority of them will sign up to participate in our program based on their short mentoring experience. In addition we had another 25 business owners leave their names to be contacted with more information about our process.
My lesson learned today was that most business owners did not take the time to learn how to take their business to the next level or what benefits they could obtain from a mentoring process. With less than a 5 % active response to our efforts, (we had signs and offered many opportunities for everyone in attendance to learn about mentoring) perhaps business owners have a fear or lack of understanding of how a mentoring process works.
Should we change our “mentoring” signs to read “marketing and business planning support for a profitable and sustainable business”? Is there a lack of education that needs to be shared with business owners as to what types of support are available? I believe that by helping business owners understand what mentoring does, we can change the nearly 85% failure rate among businesses in the first few years to perhaps an 85% chance for success.
Lessons always raise more questions than answers; I have a lot to learn.
The past is yours, learn from it. The present is yours, fulfill it. Walter Fauntroy
Nick J. Petra CFP if you want profitability and sustainability for your business, call us today.. www.strategicduck.com