Building a small business can be lonely. Wouldn’t it be great to have another brain to pick, a willing ear to listen and someone to point you in the right direction?

There is, if you make the time to talk to a mentor — someone who has “been there, done that.” They don’t make your decisions but listen and offer insights plus alternatives that can help you make better decisions. So, how do you find one?

  • SCORE provides free mentoring to small-business owners via in-person and email counseling. Mentoring locations are
  • located
  • on West Speedway, in east Tucson, Marana, Oro Valley, Green Valley, Vail and Sierra Vista. See
  • Small Business Development Centers offer low-cost help for current and would-be business owners. Contact the Tucson center:
  • Women’s Business Centers offer business training and counseling to help women start or grow successful businesses. Contact the Tucson Center:
  • Minority Business Development Centers, part of the Department of Commerce, offer free help to minority-owned businesses. Visit
  • ; the closest center is in Phoenix.
  • Trade or professional associations: Many industry associations operate mentoring programs for business owners just starting out. Search for associations in your industry.
  • Mentors for government contracting: If your business plans to sell to the federal government, the General Services Administration (GSA) offers a mentor/protégé program to help small businesses be more successful in government contracting.
  • Your own network: Do you know a previous boss or a friend who is a business owner who you can ask to be your mentor? Tap the network you’ve developed on LinkedIn or check into

Diane Diamond is the vice president of media relations for SCORE Southern Arizona, a nonprofit group that offers free small-business counseling and mentoring by appointment at several locations. For more information, go to, email or call 505-3636.