Dennis Zink: Dick and Charlie are SCORE mentors and have been for many years and we're going to ask them … We're going to start out with what is a mentor?
Dick Radt: That’s kind of a two part question, at least in my mind and I always ask people, "Who was Mentor?" and hardly anybody knows. Mentor comes from Greek mythology. If you remember reading the Odyssey in high school, you'll remember that Odysseus went on a great odyssey … and are you ready for it? He said to his friend Mentor, "I want you to bring up my son and teach him all the things he needs to know." That’s the classical Greek definition.
If you look in the dictionary for the other one, a mentor is somebody who counsels people that are usually new in a business or an industry or a company.
Dennis Zink: What would be some of the reasons to have a mentor?
Charlie Sax: Well not only if they're new, but if they're doing a … if they've been operating before and have certain questions and needs, if you call a mentor in, he can look at the whole situation and see how he might help you improve your business.
Dennis Zink: What does it cost to have a mentor?
Dick Radt: Okay, you remember the old real estate adage, "The most important thing is neighborhood, neighborhood, neighborhood (location, location, location)?" The biggest advantage in cost with a SCORE mentor is it's free, it's free, it's free.
Dennis Zink: What exactly does a mentor do?
Charlie Sax: A mentor works with you to find out all he can about your business and to find out how much you know about the specialties of your business. Once he has gathered a lot of information, he will make recommendations to help you improve your business or even to start your business.
Dennis Zink: How does someone request a mentor to work with?
Dick Radt: Well typically it's done online and here's the magic entry, www.SCORE.org. There's another way and I've been fortunate enough to have some people call on a word of mouth referral. If you know somebody who has had good success with a counselor, why don’t you see if you can connect with them and get a name of somebody to work with?
Charlie Sax: When you get online, your information will go to a case assigner which is an experienced professional with SCORE. He will see what type of information might most benefit you and he will assign this to one of our experienced mentors.
Dennis Zink: How do clients generally work with mentors?
Dick Radt: Well there's several ways. One, by going to one of our workshops, you can meet a mentor or a coach and you could work with them during the workshop. Two, you could do it online, but the preferred way is face to face meetings and those are usually arranged by a quick telephone call to find out when it's convenient for you to get together with your counselor.
Dennis Zink: At what point in business development should someone seek a mentor.
Charlie Sax: It can be if you're just starting a business because you'll have to have a business plan and if you don’t have one or you don’t know how to develop one, you want to get together with your mentor. If you have a business and it's operating and it has some problems, you might think of getting together and developing some ideas to improve.
Dennis Zink: What are some of the advantages of working with SCORE mentors?
Charlie Sax: SCORE mentors are experienced. SCORE mentors know business. We have such a wide variety of SCORE members that their experience can help almost everyone.