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Training, Development & Retention

The Importance of a Mentorship in Small Business Development

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melissalukepicThe United States economy is primarily driven by small to medium sized business owners who had a vision and the determination to start their own companies and work for themselves.   Currently entrepreneurial activity is among the highest in the world in the U.S. and approximately 6 people of every 100 U.S. individuals 18 years of age and older are engaged in trying to start new firms.


Statistically 10.1 million adults are attempting to create a business at any given time and the participation in entrepreneurship is as common as getting married or the birth of a baby.  

Entrepreneurs much like Mike Dell and Bill Gates who started their respective companies in a dorm room and a garage are surfacing like never before. Technology allows entrepreneurs to open the doors faster with less costs and expenses, at a more efficient pace than in past decades.  Anyone can start a company if they have the will and desire.  Studies show that the leading sources of innovation in the United States are not from larger, established companies, but from new business.

Approximately one-half of all new ventures are started by teams of people.  As an entrepreneur, one of the most difficult hurdles in starting a new business is wearing the numerous hats that owning a company entails. All facets of a company need to be addressed such as start-up costs, accounting, marketing, advertising, public relations, business plans, strategic planning, taxes, vision, leadership, management and most important, the product or service itself. 

Being a one-man show in your own business is the biggest determent.  That is why

building a solid mentorship program is necessary for success.  The mentorship process provides constant contact and communications with others enduring the same or different hardships in a small business situation.  Creating a solid network with other savvy business owners assists in forming a group of trust, and provides strengths where others weaknesses occur.

Many entrepreneurs opt to pay a company $5,000-$15,000 to build a business plan.  The problem with this route is the individual has a plan upon completion, but has no realization on how to push the business plan forward, or how to manage, market direct, or delegate. A less expensive and more productive route is to build a roundtable of 6-10 small business owners who meet on a monthly basis to discuss the details of current business issues.  

The first and fundamental step in achieving objectives is organizing to do so. Building a solid network of professionals to generate knowledge is the first step in starting any new business. Unfortunately, evidence and statistics indicate this to be the least understood and most neglected step. There is an organizational strategy in play in every start-up organization, whether by design or neglect.  In the ideal world it is the result of a top-down vision strategically executed against well-defined goals.  More often, it is the de facto result of random decisions and reprocessed information arising from below.  New companies efforts that fail to implement a strong mentorship forum are at high risk of failure. The potential for failure can be reduced significantly through others who have developed and proven effective through selective strategies

Uniqueness requires innovation, and innovation requires building off what others have done prior.  Expertise can be provided in defining the requirements, evaluating the culture and structure of existing organizations, identifying needed change, and implementing the change to an innovative environment that gets results. There are other people who have done this before; it would be in your favor to go find them if owning your own business is a plan in the near future.






Dr. Melissa Luke is a practitioner in the financial and securities markets, specializing in maintaining positive economic conditions within domestic and international organizations for maximum profitability.


Dr. Luke has directly worked with top agency authorities such as the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the National Association of Securities Dealers (NASD), and the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB) to increase knowledge base for university students and business owners nationwide.


She assists leaders in maintaining corporate vitality and economic growth within an organizations strategic structure and shareholder realm.


Melissa was a professional guest speaker, conducting seminars nationwide and in Canada on market makers, electronic control networks, arbitrage, Level II systems, technical approaches, and crisis prevention methods for corporate securities and welfare, and the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002.


She has published securities educational methods for global distribution, and has worked with several foreign governments on securities issues.


Dr. Luke beta tested the primary software systems used for many of the major brokerage houses and online trading entities prior to the inception and implementation to the general public. She also trains all levels of organizations and corporations on the identification process of corporate malfeasance and fraudulent activity, to protect the corporate executives and public shareholders.


She educates 21st Century organizations, investigates wrongdoing, conducts extensive research on the intricacies of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, and recruits knowledgeable professionals on the requirements of compliance of corporate fraud utilizing her prior experience working for the United States Treasury.


Currently, Dr. Luke analyzes corporate legal entities, methods of operation, systems, internal controls, employee management, ownership, and corporate structure to maximize profitability and provide recommendations to improve ease of operation, productivity, and profitability of small to medium sized business in the United States.


She also teaches undergraduates at Boise State University as an adjunct professor in management and doctoral students at North Central University in finance.

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Growth in women's share of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) occupations declined to 27% in 2011from a high of 34% in 1990. While women make up nearly half of the workforce, they were 26% of the STEM workforce in 2011.

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