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(NC) — For small business owners, having a mentor to offer guidance and support is key to success. The tangible benefits of a formal mentoring relationship start from day one and translate into long-term success of the business. For example, a mentor:

• Can help set goals and provides honest and constructive feedback which helps develop business owner self-awareness;

• Has experience with the ups and downs of business – helping you recognize the right time to expand or the severity of a crisis so that you can react effectively ;

• Is a great source of business contacts immediately expanding your business network;

• Is someone who has a vested interest in your success, while maintaining an arm's length approach.

A recent survey of small business mentors conducted by the Canadian Youth Business Foundation ( found that the benefits to the mentor go beyond the obvious feel-good value to include real world personal improvement. Over 60% felt that they were satisfied with all aspects of the mentoring relationship and that they were making a difference in a small business. Additionally, more than 50% of those surveyed welcomed the opportunity to coach fellow mentors and to learn from other mentors.