Business mentoring project expands

If a group’s success can be measured by its attendance, then the Princeton Area Chamber of Commerce’s business mentoring program might be called successful.

Titled the Business Success Group, it is a program that chamber board president Scott Berry initiated early this year.

Longtime local business owners Lee Steinbrecher (Steinbrecher Painting) and Dan Erickson (Erickson Asphalt) are the mentors. Both were co-mentors for the program’s first group of participants until the number got so large the chamber started a second group, or class.

The one group has four participants and is being mentored by Erickson while the other group is being handled by Steinbrecher.

Each group has an approximately two-hour session every other week. The sessions start with an analysis of the business situation of each participant. Later a SWOT test is given to each to determine their business’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats.

It is important, Steinbrecher said, for a business owner to “fully understand” the break-even point of their business, or how much it costs to run it.

“A lot of people have a passion for things,” Steinbrecher said. The problem that can occur with that, he explained, is that they might just not face the facts of their situation.

Berry, who owns and operates the Scott Berry Law Office in Princeton, is a participant in the program, and says it has been more beneficial for his business than the coach consultant was that he had used before.

“It’s great,” Berry said. “I’m really impressed with it. It’s done things for us. It’s identified things for us to work on.”

The group structure is that each participant helps analyze the  business situations of the others, making it a type of support group.

The program is “pretty successful,” Steinbrecher said. People from other communities have looked at the Princeton program to see about starting one in their locations, he noted.

There is a fee to participate and anyone interested in more information can call either the chamber office at 763-389-1764, or Berry at 763-389-0178. More participants are wanted, Berry said.

Steinbrecher noted how one person decided to drop out of the program, Steinbrecher indicating that it was because the person realized through their business analysis that it would be better to work for someone. A business owner may not only be better off financially working for someone as opposed to owning a business, but they also may have less stress, get more sleep and enjoy more family time, Steinbrecher said.