Business leader wants to begin a small business mentorship program in Florence

Florence Chamber establishes new small business mentorship program

FLORENCE, S.C. (WMBF) - Mike Reichenbach opened his first car dealership in 2008 and faced the struggles of an economic crisis. Now he’s putting together an initiative to assist small business owners who now face similar challenges of running a business, especially during the pandemic.

“This is such a time where the struggles and trials and tribulations, especially for small businesses, have put a lot of owners and entrepreneurs in a position of needing someone to talk with,” said Reichenbach, who serves as Chairman of the Greater Florence Chamber of Commerce.

When Richenbauch took over as chamber chairman, he had ideas for two new initiatives: a mentorship program for small businesses and a financial training series for small businesses.

The mentorship program would consist of an experienced business owner partnering with a new business owner to answer important questions about things like hiring employees and stress management among other things.

“A lot of business owners contact me directly and say can we talk, and after a few conversations I realized there’s a real need for business owners either new or even those who are struggling to have someone to reach out to say can I just talk for a while,” said Reichenbach.

Reichenbach also said he began gauging interest from businesses through a Facebook post and dozens of business owners have already responded.

“Executives who’ve said I’ve been successful, let me raise my hand I’ll be a mentor, and probably 2 to 1 people who’ve said I could use that so much, I have this idea and I’d just like someone to talk with,” he said.

Laurie Crouse, owner of Top Hat Special-Teas, explained that when she started her business 20 years ago, she wasn’t exactly sure where to start.

“I had no idea how to get a business license or how to get an LLC or any of that,” she said.

Crouse believes a business mentorship program would be an asset to businesses who are trying to get on their feet, and as an experienced business owner, she’d love to be able to serve as a mentor.

“They can have someone to pair up with to get through the bumps especially in the beginning, and if anything just have someone to pair up and talk to that’s doing the same thing,” she said.

Copyright 2020 WMBF. All rights reserved.