Through virtual mentoring, entrepreneurs can make a connection online with someone who can help guide them in their business journey. Let's explore the big benefits for entrepreneurs.
What is Virtual Mentoring?
Mentoring is a program that brings people that have a common background together in a formal or an informal partnership where one receives guidance and coaching from experienced professionals to help pursue their goals. Virtual mentoring is a mentoring session that typically happens by phone, video conferencing or email.
With many professionals working remotely, virtual mentoring creates an accessible space where entrepreneurs, regardless of location, can receive strategic support and valuable guidance from business mentors.
Knowledge transfer is a great way to pass on useful strategies, skills and ideas to the next generation of entrepreneurs.
A well-organized virtual program serves to benefit both mentees and mentors by empowering them with resources such as forums, mind-mapping techniques, plan templates, online courses and an accessible platform to reach out to mentors situated anywhere in the country.
For instance, you might have heard inspiring success stories of other small business owners and want to follow in their footsteps. Take Damian Sanchez, for example, who started up the D.C. Mosquito Squad as a part-time venture. He then grew the business exponentially and now has over 40 employees, serving 3,500 customers across the city. This doesn’t mean you have to drop everything, move to D.C., and start your own mosquito-treatment home-service agency. You can learn from the experiences of small business owners and entrepreneurs like Damian by signing up for a mentoring program.
Benefits of Virtual Mentoring
Setting up a business can be an isolating experience where you might feel like a lone sailor on a treacherous expedition. A business mentor can help empower you in your entrepreneurial journey. And the mentor doesn't even need to meet you in person. There are many benefits to getting guidance virtually.
Flexibility and Convenience
Thanks to video conferencing technology, you can meet business mentors at a time convenient to everyone involved. This is a great benefit for startup business owners who may also be juggling another job or family caretaking responsibilities.
A tremendous upside of virtual mentoring is that it is not restricted to a specific location. In the past few years, many people have relocated from urban cities to the suburbs or rural communities. If you are one of them, virtual mentoring can provide greater flexibility in accessing leadership and business-building advice, making location no longer a factor.
Accessibility to More Mentors
Virtual mentoring also encourages more mentors to sign up for business mentoring programs. That's because while mentoring requires a certain commitment of time and energy, business experts who are still working professionals or busy in retirement can better manage their time with a flexible virtual program. More mentors mean more experts for you to work with.
You may have several mentors. Perhaps you work with one mentor on starting your business and general business questions. You may also want to work with an expert in your particular industry, one who knows the licenses you need or effective marketing campaigns for your type of business.
Builds Relationships and Networks
A remote setting provides a sanctuary to participants that help foster quality relationships underscoring honesty and trust. This inspires authentic relationships between mentors and mentees, creating an environment conducive to open communication and building mutual trust.
Mentors have often amassed a network of important business connections--investors, suppliers, industry experts--who can help open doors for you. Build a relationship with your mentor, and you could be introduced to their network of movers and shakers in the business world.
Solves Traditional Challenges
The nature of products or services might have changed, but the path to business ownership has some of the same challenges from decades ago:
- How should I attract investors?
- How do I set up a sales pipeline?
- How do I perform a vendor review?
- What are some effective PR tactics for a startup?
Consulting with a business mentor can be an effective way to learn tried and tested strategies to resolve these traditional challenges of becoming an entrepreneur. It’s easy to get caught up in your head. A business mentor helps you get out of the rut and gain a fresh perspective by being a sounding board for ideas, questions, doubts and concerns.
Free or Low Cost
Through many local communities and leadership organizations, like SCORE, business mentorship services are usually free, so cost is not usually a barrier.
The mentor-mentee relationships should be mutually beneficial. It’s important to remember that while you are seeking guidance and knowledge from them on your journey to business ownership, they are looking to gain something from it too. You can explore each other’s goals from such a partnership in the initial phase of introductions to ensure you’re a close match.
Virtual mentors can be a valuable part of your support system--whenever and wherever you need them. Whether you're just starting, growing or ready to exit a small business, explore SCORE's mentor program today.
Copyright © 2023 SCORE Association, SCORE.org
Funded, in part, through a Cooperative Agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration. All opinions, and/or recommendations expressed herein are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the SBA.