You might not think of yourself as a small business expert.
Maybe you don't even feel like you have anything worthwhile to pass on to other entrepreneurs and organizations. But if you've managed to keep your business in the black for more than five years, you've done better than most entrepreneurs – and in our book, that makes you a small business expert.
The simple reality is that successful entrepreneurs aren't as common as you might think. If you have been effective as a small business leader it is your responsibility to give something back. You have skills, talent, and experience. The only question is who can benefit from your small business expertise.
- Mentoring. The most direct way to influence the next generation of entrepreneurs is through mentoring. Organizations like SCORE and SBDCs (Small Business Development Centers) are always looking for successful business owners to mentor young and/or inexperienced entrepreneurs.
- Investment. Investment opportunities provide another way for you to use your resources to help other business owners. From angel investment to venture capitalism, there are multiple possibilities for experienced business owners to help capitalize young companies. Even more, many of these opportunities allow for hands-on engagement with leadership teams.
- Business associations. Your local Chamber of Commerce or area business association would probably love to have you involved in their activities. These opportunities give you the chance to work with multiple businesses and build your local economy at the same time.
- Publishing. Published works like books and contributed articles let you pass your small business insights on to large numbers of readers and entrepreneurs. While the level of engagement with these business owners is minimal compared to other forms of involvement, it can be just as rewarding for you and just as important for the small business community.
- Social entrepreneurism & nonprofit work. Sometimes the best way to give back is to get involved in nonprofit work or social entrepreneurism (a for-profit/not-for-profit hybrid). You might be surprised how much the nonprofit world can benefit from your business experience and entrepreneurial expertise.