With tools like my smartphone, tablet, or laptop, I basically have the collected wisdom of the world at my fingertips; do I really need a personal mentor to help me build a successful small business?
This isn’t an unreasonable question, and one David R. Bobbit, president of the SCORE Foundation helps answer. SCORE is a nonprofit small-business counseling and mentorship group that is funded in part by the federal government, in addition to private donations.
They celebrate their 50th Birthday this year and thousands of retired and active business mentors help small business owners navigate the challenges associated with rolling up your sleeves and actually running a small business.
I have to admit, the information I consume online is a very important part of how I learn new things and gather information, but the ability to bounce ideas off a mentor is still relevant to me. It takes the information I regularly consume and gives it context—making it actionable. SCORE is one place where you can find a great mentor.
Fortunately, in my opinion, Bobbit feels the same way. In an interview with J.D. Harrison of the Washington Post, he suggested that SCORE executives don’t plan to stray away from their mentorship model anytime soon while adding, “this isn’t your dad’s SCORE any more.”
The challenge for Bobbit is to successfully merge the collective value of their mentor’s experience and acumen along with the easy access to information available through the technology we all carry in our pockets. That said, I’m convinced there are some things technology just can’t replace—the advice and wisdom of a mentor is one of them.