by Jim Martin
An entrepreneur I met at a Chamber-of-Commerce mixer told me that his business was running smoothly, that he had no real need for a SCORE mentor. I had heard that line before. After thinking about it for a while, I decided it was a rather narrow viewpoint. Consider a few questions: Would Jesse Owens have set the records he set without Larry Snyder? Would Harold Abrams have medaled in the 1924 Olympics without the help of Sam Mussabini? The answer might be found in his ending up 20th in the long jump in the 1920 Olympics, and failing to make it past the quarter finals in either the 100 meter or 200 meter races. Would Nadia Comaneci have thrilled us all with the first Olympic 10 if she hadn’t trained under Bela Karolyi?
The message of that little bit of sports history should be obvious. Champions fuse a combination of innate talent and good coaching into their best performance. Could that combination turn your business into a champion? I have personally met with several clients who had very efficient, profitable businesses. While I didn’t lead them to an incredible break-through, I did find areas in which they could streamline one or two processes. The one exception was a gentleman who had been in business for twenty five years. During that time, he had put in place some systems that were so elegant he could have moved to Hawaii and it would have been several years before anyone noticed. (That was still a worthwhile session because I was able to steal a few good ideas from him. I’ve since passed those on to other clients.)
Do you think everything is perfect in your business? Call in a SCORE mentor to perform a thorough health check. The result will be one of two things: either some useful tweaking of your good systems or braggin’ rights when you run into your competitors.
If your business is perfect (or if you’ve already retired and you’re getting bored), you could make productive use of the experience that let you make it perfect. Become a SCORE mentor. Your only pay will be the satisfaction of helping others, but that’s great pay. Like the Marines, SCORE is always looking for a few good men and women.