If you are planning to start a business and are unsure about how to proceed, you might want to consider Local Business Mentoring. With the help of a mentor, you will have access to valuable knowledge and advice about running a business. Whether you are new to the business or have been in it for years, you can get a fresh perspective from someone who has been in the same shoes.
When choosing a mentor, be sure to choose someone you feel comfortable talking about your business with. While direct competitors will probably hesitate to offer advice, indirect competitors are a better choice because they have long experience in the same industry. You may even be able to find a mentor from a different industry, which will provide you with an invaluable perspective. Another option is to volunteer your time with other organizations in your area. These organizations will likely have a wealth of information on how to run a business and how to improve your reputation.
A local business mentoring program is often free or low-cost. In New York, for example, the Small Business Mentoring Service provides services to businesses with no upfront costs. It has a network of more than 200 volunteer mentors in all different fields, from accounting to law to marketing to branding. Many of the mentors are experienced business owners or have strong connections to small businesses.