Pro bono mentor program help
small businesses succeed.
By Nikki Golden
With a low threshold for entry, many people who wield a
hammer also think they can wield a sales and marketing
wand or don’t realize all of the office administration that
goes into making a small business run.
Having a solid business plan, as well as an
understanding of all facets of running a small business, puts
a company on solid footing to be successful.
SCORE, a resource partner of the U.S. Small Business
Administration (SBA), is a non-profit association that offers
free business mentoring to entrepreneurs either starting or
looking to grow a business.
Having a great idea and being successful are not
mutually exclusive. SCORE bridges the gap from idea to a
functioning business, by offering one-on-one counseling with
a mentor to discuss anything about your business that you’d
like, as often as you’d like, for free.
What can be gained
When Mina Fies and her husband Mark decided to start a
remodeling company—Synergy Design & Construction, dba
Synergy D&C—in 2008, they wanted to make sure they
started on the right foot. After writing a business plan, the
next item on their agenda was to meet with a SCORE
mentor, who could look over their business plan and
examine their competition in the marketplace.
“When you’re in the business, it’s hard to see the larger
view,” Mina Fies says. “[Meeting with a mentor] you can say
anything. As business owners, you have a mask on that
Meeting with a SCORE mentor allows the Fies to have a
safe place to take off that mask and discuss the items
they’re struggling with without fear of judgment.
The Fies found their mentor through the local SCORE
chapter in their area of Reston, Va., and got matched with
Fred Glave, a retired executive from the telecommunications