Start a business Mentors

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With 9 out of 10 new businesses failing in the first 18 months of inception, it’s tantamount that people considering opening a business get some sort of guidance. 

I might add, and don’t throw money away getting this guidance from people that talk a good game yet haven’t navigated the proverbial arena you are about to enter. Namely the arena of “successful business owners” instead of the taking a spot in the failed-business Hall of Shame.

There are many “how to” start a business courses available on-line and in venues ranging from small to large. Since most of these programs require a potential business person to pony up the funds they will need to start that very same business, one should make sure they are getting their monies worth.

I find the large venues with famous celebrities and motivators focus more along the lines of motivation then the actual mechanics of how to start a business. So if funds are limited, and usually they are, shop the description carefully. You may already have the motivation needed and probably do!

There are very few classes on actually starting a business and most of the programs I have seen aren’t worth the money. The reason being is if a business person is excellent at running an actual business, they usually doesn’t have the time to teach a class. They are too busy running their business. 

How do you spot those that actually know how to start and RUN a successful business and those that don’t?  

First off, avoid those that talk a good game but basically have seldom if ever done what you are about to try and accomplish. 

Truth be told, those that really understand how to start a new business and want to help you will know that new business owners will need all the money they can muster so they shouldn’t be taking some of it from you right at the time you need it most. 

In a nutshell, the qualities you want to look for in a business mentor are people that have started and probably OWN more than ONE business and that those businesses are still in existence and thriving. 

On the flip side you may want to avoid those that claim they have “had many businesses” but now their only business is taking your money.

Some resumes’ might show many businesses to sound impressive but these businesses are actually kaput, faked, embellished or supposedly sold. Especially be wary of resumes that list previously owned businesses that are unrelated and hodgepodge in their theme. The same goes with employment history. A mish-mash history of employment moves and businesses on ones resume’ demonstrate this person may tried his or her hand at everything they could, only to fail and move on to the next thing. 

The bottom line is Investigate their claims before you pony up your hard earned money.  

On the flip side, look for people that get up early, work late, answer phone calls and texts promptly, and know the value of a buck and the hour it takes to earn it. 

An easy test is call them at 8:00 am and see if they answer. Any business person worth his salt is well on his way at 8:00 am and the really good ones are up and at ‘em at 6:00. 

It sounds odd but if possible investigate their personal net worth. 

Successful business owners are at least comfortable and the better ones usually have a higher net worth. I once had a guy try and sell me on financial mentoring but he was in debt up too his eyeballs. 

And now for the good part. The best mentors just want to help. Usually their on the older side of things as well. After all, you’re probably going to learn more from a 65 year old retired businessman or woman than some 35 year old trying to sell you a start-up program whose instructors are part time handyman or people with mile long resumes who nap till noon and spend half their time hiking in the Himalayans.

The good news is you may not have to spend money on some sort of school or class on how to start a business. You can find real business mentors at SCORE, MICROMENTOR or DIGITAL BOOST. Google ‘em up. They are experienced, have been there and FREE at the above entities.

Which means they’re not trying to charge you up the wazoo in exchange for advice from a room full of part timers, job hoppers and wheel spinners who pretend to know what they’re doing. 

Trust me, they probably don’t. 

“Watching the markets so you don’t have to”    


This article expresses the opinion of Marc Cuniberti and may not be the opinion of this media outlet, its staff, members or underwriters. Mr. Cuniberti holds a B.A. in Economics with honors, 1979, and California Insurance License #0L34249. His insurance agency is BAP INC. services and is an approved Medicare agent. Email: [email protected] 

Marc Cuniberti

Marc Cuniberti

Marc Cuniberti
Host of Money Matters Radio on 67 radio stations nationwide, Financial and insurance columnist for the Union and 5 other statewide newspapers, owner BAP insurance and registered financial advisor representative at Vantage Financial. California Insurance License OL34249 and feature on ABC and NBC television and a host of TV documentaries on his financial insights.