Excerpts from Small talk:
“…Many small-business owners believe you should never go it alone — you should always have a support system, whether it consists of financial advisers, mentors, fellow entrepreneurs or consultants, to guide you. It’s true in the best of economic times, and it’s certainly the case in the current climate.
This is an extremely difficult economy, and even veterans need a sounding board. They find it from a growing number of resources, among them peer or networking groups, mentors, professional and trade groups and government-sponsored organizations such as SCORE, an association of executives that counsels small-business owners. Very often, this help comes at no cost.
“I’ve been seeking a lot of help and advice recently,” said Jeremy Brandt, …
Brandt, who’s been in business for five years, has two main avenues for advice. He belongs to the Entrepreneurs’ Organization, which among other things helps the business owners that are its members form peer groups to discuss the issues they’re dealing with. He also has a mentor through the World Presidents Organization, an association of current and former CEOs of major businesses.
… one of the biggest problems he sees among fellow business owners is “they’re making the same mistakes made 100 times over by other people who have been in the same position.” By regularly meeting with “people who have been in economic ups and downs,” Brandt said, owners can avoid some of the pitfalls.
Business owners can find mentoring or advice in many places — starting with trusted advisers such as accountants and lawyers. Many owners swear by their networking groups, formed either ad hoc or through professional organizations, industry groups and chambers of commerce.
Federal, state and local government agencies may also sponsor counseling or mentoring. The federal government’s best known resources are the Small Business Administration’s Small Business Development Centers and SCORE.
The small business centers are often located at colleges and universities, and can be located through the SBA Web site: sba.gov/aboutsba/sbaprograms/sbdc/index.html.
SCORE counselors can be found online at score.org.”
My previous post on small business legal information included a link to the Lewis & Clark Small Business Legal Clinic.