Customer service, marketing, Small Business

Free (and reputable) Business Mentoring

Are you a business owner struggling for help and not sure where to turn to? That is, besides my brilliant website and videos? If you need help, you can email me too. If I don’t know the answer, or can’t find it, then I’ll find someone that does.

Besides that, there may be several local resources that can help you. There are government and other organizations that are designed to help small businesses succeed. There are some that are FREE too! Check out the free services, ones paid by local or federal governments, rather than watching some random video on YouTube or reading a blog post from random people that claim to be experts. For the record, I am not random. I have 3 college degrees from real universities and a published doctoral thesis that you can read and judge for yourself. I guess my education IS my gimmick and not just a sassy name for a website/business.

If you are a small business owner and face a problem, or struggling to run your business, need counseling, advice, or other assistance, there are free and good resources available to you. Stop struggling and get the help you need! Remember, the government wants your business to succeed too. They like taxes and employed workers. As a small business, you pay taxes, you hire employees, and then the employees pay taxes. It’s all a good cycle so it’s to the government’s overall benefit to help small business owners from going under.

Specifically, you can contact the U.S. Small Business Administration office and SCORE. You can also reach out to the local Entrepreneurship Center, Entrepreneurship or Business Department at a university, the Small Business Development Center (SBDC), the local Chamber of Commerce, and perhaps even the local Economic Development person with the mayor’s office. You can usually google and find the local branches and offices. With technology today, you can possibly find a mentor to talk to you via phone or online without having to physically drive to an appointment too.

Why do I bring this up? Because I have seen several businesses close and could have asked for help. For example, there was a take and bake pizza franchise near my home that I went to. It was a husband that owned it and worked it in a small strip center on a busy road. The grandfather also worked the store making pizzas and filling orders. It seemed to be in a decent location on a busy, two-lae road for commuters, but nestled among neighborhoods. The price was under $10 for a pizza that they make but I take home and bake in my oven. One summer day I went in and it was hot. There was a portable air conditioner but it could not keep this little store cool. Having worked in commercial real estate and leases, I asked about the air conditioning and explained my current career and offered to look at his real estate lease and see if there was something he could do with asking the landlord to fix the AC. To end the story, I gave him my number. He never called. The AC never got fixed and customers were sweating for the 5 minutes waiting fo rtheir pizza. The franchose closed by the end of the summer.

That’s a lot of personal money to put into a business to close in less than a year. Perhaps he did reach out to someone to help him and I don’t know. I can only hope the corporate office at the franchisor tried to help as well. Now, a few years later, there is a Domino’s Pizza in the same space and seems to be doing well. So, I think one can honestly conclude that a pizza business was viable for the location, street traffic, and demographics, just not that particular business model. Don’t be that person or business!

Reach out for help if you need it. Here is the link and a brief description for the USSBA and SCORE. Let me know if you have some geat recommendations for others too!

U.S. Small Business Administration

The U.S. Small Business Administration has delivered millions of loans, loan guarantees, contracts, counseling sessions and other forms of assistance to small businesses. The SBA offers all kinds of free resoures to plan, start, manage, and grow your business. Plus, you may be eligibile for a Small Business Loan through the SBA. 

SCORE

SCORE, the nation’s largest network of volunteer, expert business mentors, is dedicated to helping small businesses get off the ground, grow and achieve their goals. You can find local mentors to help you by proving free consulting advice. This is a great resource if you are cash-strapped or need an outside view of your business! 

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