By Robert Heiblim on Dec 13 2010 - 10:00pm


CEA Mentor Program

Surviving as a small consumer electronics business in today’s economy is not an easy task. With increasing competition, limited resources and technologies continuously evolving, small CE businesses seem to have the odds working against them. However, two qualities seem to exist in every successful business; the ability to embrace change and a willingness to ask tough questions. Embracing change is often the more transparent of the two.

Quickly it becomes apparent that your business is struggling, or is not doing as well as previously planned. What does your business need to change? Hence, the process of asking the tough questions begins, in order to find a specific solution for your business. Now the next question is where to look for the right answers?
As the former President of Denon USA for 13 years, I have navigated through two recessions and many of the problems businesses face on a daily basis. Today, as a co- founder of BlueSalve Consulting, I take pride in being able to work with small businesses to help them succeed and reach their potential. I have been in their shoes and now have the knowhow to guide them through their ambitions. In particular, a passion of mine is being able to assist small businesses through the Consumer Electronics Association’s (CEA) Mentor Program.
The Mentor Program is a service provided by the CEA Small Business Council, designed to help business owners and entrepreneurs address specific issues related to their business, or improve upon their own business intelligence. The program allows mentees to access advice from experienced CE professionals in a safe and productive environment. Mentees can feel comfortable asking the tough questions and the mentors give honest feedback on topics such as your latest business idea or advice on how to find financing in a down economy.

I consider the CEA Mentor Program to be a largely untapped and extremely valuable resource for business owners and entrepreneurs. Imagine being able to access the answers to your most difficult business questions with little to no cost. The secure environment provides mentees with advice from people without ulterior motives, only the desire to guide the business leaders of tomorrow. The mentors draw from their own extensive experience in the CE industry and are able to provide the mentee with their own personal analysis of the business owner’s situation. Who better to ask? A quick meeting could provide you with the answer or guidance you need to make the tough decisions and changes to survive in this ever-evolving industry.
In order to participate in CEA’s Mentor Program, you must be a CEA member. During your meeting, you will have one-on-one time with one of our seasoned CEA veterans to ask the questions you find important to your own business. These meetings can take place in person at specific CEA events or by phone. Mentees will even have the opportunity to schedule private 30-minute meetings at the International CES, with up to three scheduled meetings per event
Are you willing to ask the tough questions of the right people? If you would like to get involved in CEA’s Mentor Program as either a mentor or mentee, please contact Deborah Kassoff at DKassoff@CE.org or 703-907-7655. To view mentor biographies, areas of expertise and to schedule a one-on-one meeting, visit members.CE.org/CEAmentors.

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