Small Business Mentoring Tips from Champions of Change (Honored at the White House)

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This the National Mentorship month and the White House held an event to honor 12 Small Business Champions of Change from all over the US on March 7, 2012. I had the great honor to attend this event ( and Network Solutions, the companies I work for, were active supporters of this event and so I was fortunate to get an invitation).  I thought I would share the insights on mentoring that came out of this event.  You can learn more about the White House program at Champions of Change.

From Champions of Change 2012 – White House

The event started with a plea from an administration official asking all mentors to tell their story using all forms of communication including as he put it, when you meet people at the grocery store. This is an excellent idea. We have been proponents of story telling as it relates to small business success and you will find them in all our blogs and channels with both small businesses themselves and thought leaders participating.

During the panel discussion, the 2012 Champions of Change gave these tips to small Businesses and to mentors themselves:

Advice to Small Businesses:

  • Always network
  • Get out and see customers
  • Be humble, you never know what you can learn from others
  • Have mentors in multiple fields
  • Modify the message for the audience
  • Focus on closing the deal

Advice to Mentors:

  • Let the mentees find their own truth. The Mentor’s path may not necessarily suit the mentee
  • Have a process of mentoring based on time, urgency and issues
  • Guide them towards critical thinking skills to grow
  • Follow the “Nacho Cheese” principle – it’s their cheese not yours
  • If a customer does not see a value in your product or relationship, then it’s not a business, it is a hobby

Do you have a story to tell? Maybe you have been a successful mentor or have succeeded due to guidance from a mentor. What is your advice?

Shashi Bellamkonda Shashi Bellamkonda is CMO of Surefire Social, AKA "Social Media Swami" at SurefireSocial. Visit Shashi Bellamkonda's blog. He is also an adjunct faculty at Georgetown University. Shashi is a regular contributor to the Washington Business Journal, DC Examiner and other tech blogs like Smallbiztechnology and Techcocktail. Shashi has been in the list of Top 100 Small Business Influencer Champions list for 2011 and 2012.