Posted by Paul Crossman
Recently the future usefullness of Business Clubs and Community Service Clubs has been the discussion of a few of the meetings I have attended.  There seems to be a growing gap between the current members of these clubs and the potential new members they would like to bring into the group.  Much talk about the age and the attitude of what should be a potential new member has been harked on as the cause of the decrease in club involvement.  The atmosphere and changing work environment and business structure is also a big hurdle to get over.  Outside influences from family and a non business oriented social interaction also comes into play for the new work force.  Social media and the internet offering quick answers and solutions without time commitment is often the choice today.
What could a small business club like ours offer to entice this younger generation of entrepeneurs to attend a monthly lunch meeting?  How about experience, guidence and advice to help calm and center and individual?  Free, Open and Honest Mentorship.
Mentors provide business advice, as well as support and encouragement, to help young entrepreneurs remain focused on what is important for the success of their business.  We as experienced business people have all made life decisions for the good and the bad. We have all received advice and guidance that has helped us along the way.  We have all learned life lessons that have caused set back and financial and personal loss.  If we decide that others should benefit from our school of hard knocks and become open and honest business people we could offer our experienced ‘filter’ to listen and question members in their business decisions to help guide them into sound decisions in their career and life. To ask the awkward question that is in their thoughts but they are avoiding the answer.   I understand we are not trained advisors or life coaches. I would not suggest we pretend to be. I truly believe others should learn from my mistakes. I have been more than willing to tell others in the automotive field of those mistakes to keep them from repeating them in their own career path.  This has not cost me added competition but gained me trusted allies.
Our network of experienced and honest business contacts may not be the source of the new members we need but could be a resource of knowledge to help elevate new members in their field of employment.  I recently referred a young man coming out of University and looking for his first car to a client that owns a body shop and buys cars at auction.  He cleans them up and sells them to the public.  I know his work and was confident that he has a good product to sell.  A young man starting a house painting business that purchases his paint from a big box store I referred to a local paint supplier that helped him with his cost and product knowledge. 
            I believe we are all Mentors in some way. Every day of our life we teach someone something in our business practices, our actions and our interactions.  We can be a positive force in our local community just by being ourselves and encouraging others in the local economy.