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Who is “In Your Corner”? -The Importance of Business Mentorship

December 16, 2015

sveta3A few years ago, I was assigned a mentor through Duquesne’s Small Business Development Center.  Sveta Mahoney.  She is leaving the Center and I wrote a note of gratitude for her this morning and I wanted to share it here.  I am truly thankful that she has been “in my corner” in these last few years.

I also wanted to write a post about having people “in your corner” as a business professional.  Who is “in your corner”?  Whose corner are you in?  Do you have anybody?

As many know, I just finished a round of marketing events for my firm.  Open House (Flickr Album).  WVU Tailgate (Flickr Album).  Halloween Parade (Pittsburgh) (Flickr Album) and Light Up Christmas Parade (Weirton).   It takes guts to have any kind of party and to invite people.  You hope people will come.  I had canker sores for a few weeks worrying about these events.

It was all about STICKING OUT MY NECK, which is an uncomfortable place to be.  But as business owners, we have to be comfortable being uncomfortable (as my yoga teacher says).  Having family/friends/colleagues/mentors support you can make a world of difference.  So to SVETA and my handful of other business colleagues who continue to support me in all that I do, I am sending forceful vibes of gratitude in your direction this holiday season.  My children and I both thank you for your continued support.  I could not continue to do this without you.

BUSINESS OWNERS: If you do not have a group of people/business colleagues who are “in your corner”,  find some.  Call or email me and I can try to help you connect.  Get set up with a mentor via Duquesne’s Small Business Development Center.  Join a BNI group.

Speaking first hand, I know mentors are all-important.  They guide us.  Pick us up.  Give us a reality check.  If you are like me and try to be as autonomous as possible (most entrepreneurs are that way), make mentorship a priority instead.  NO MAN IS AN ISLAND.  DO NOT OPERATE IN A SILO.  REACH OUT.   The fruit of your efforts will be returned to you triple-fold.

Here was my letter to Cynthia  (with the Duquesne’s Small Business Development Center) on Sveta’s behalf:


Thank you. I wanted to write a letter about Sveta’s support and how much it has meant to me over the last few years.

I am a business lawyer. I started my own law firm 6 years ago. I write blog posts about the importance of obtaining business advisors or creating an advisory board for your business. It wasn’t until a few years ago that I took the steps to contact the DSBDC in order to obtain formally an advisor of my own.

I really appreciated Sveta’s outside perspective on my business. We were able to vet ideas about what I needed to do in order to take my business to the next level. With her support and connections, I was able to obtain a business line of credit. She introduced me to a local banker with whom I have nurtured a relationship; I was recently invited to speak at the banker’s action meeting.  Sveta gave me feedback on my website revisions. She met with my new employee when I expanded my office. When I had my marketing event/open house, Sveta reminded me to invite public officials, which I did.   She often emailed me marketing events that she felt would be of interest and assistance to me. I was on her radar screen and I was always delighted when I would receive an email from her often unexpectedly.  She did all of this at no cost to me.

When you take the daring leap from the security of the corporate world into the turbulent waters of entrepreneurship, having someone “in your corner” who wants to help you succeed means a lot.  She recently came to my open house with her husband and was friendly, supportive and a pleasure. I am very grateful for her constant support as my business has grown. Thank you very much to those that make this program possible.


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