Research shows that businesses receiving three or more hours of mentoring have witnessed a boost in revenues and market share. In fact, 70% of small businesses that gained mentoring survive more than five years, double the survival rate of businesses that don’t receive such counseling. Moreover, 88% of business owners with mentors maintain that having one can prove to be invaluable. Learning from their mistakes and rebounds offers insight and guidance on making more informed business decisions.
Know the Score
SCORE,Â a national nonprofit dedicated to mentoring small business owners,Â is probably the best known organization providing free (and confidential) mentoring to small business owners via its national network of some 13,000 retired business executives, leaders, and volunteers. SCORE’s volunteer mentors share their expertise through both in-person and online counseling.
SCORE has received a grant from the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation to study the impact of video conferencing technology. This project will help SCORE reach more small business clients through more convenient and engaging experiences.
David R. Bobbitt, President of the SCORE Foundation, described the new services, “SCORE mentors helped 350,000 small business owners last year to start or grow their business. Nearly all of these activities were face-to-face. Video mentoring is designed to appeal to small business owners who want advice in a method convenient to their lifestyle, and it reaches geographic areas with little to no SCORE presence. It eliminates travel time and connects small business owners with mentors who live in different parts of the U.S.â€
Virtual Business Guidance
The virtual face-to-face connection is intended to build the same meaningful, long-term relationships between mentors and small business owners that are the hallmark of SCORE’s in-person mentoring services. Chris Harris, Senior Program Officer for entrepreneurship at the Kauffman Foundation said, “We are pleased to support this innovative pilot, and look forward to learning how video conferencing services can lead to more mentoring opportunities.â€
Through this pilot program, SCORE will evaluate demand for video chat and measure its effectiveness compared to in-person meetings.
“SCORE’s vision is that every person has the support necessary to thrive as a small business owner, yet time constraints prevent far too many people from fully taking advantage of a service like SCORE,â€ said Steve Records, Vice President of field operations at SCORE. “SCORE video mentoring means help is now just a few clicks away, at any time of the day.â€