As a budding entrepreneur, you can easily have access to a steady flow of information regarding business news, industry developments, and opportunities. All thanks to search engines such as Google, online coaches and experts, family and friends, publications, whitepapers or even casual acquaintances.
There are also industry analysts, consultants, employees, and good networking contacts that share their expert knowledge with you regarding particular situations and needs you may encounter. However, I believe that only a business mentor can provide you with information and nuggets of wisdom you need, and the deliberate emotional and physical investment of time, energy and resources to propel your growth.
While the information a publication, report, industry expert or causal acquaintance will give you can be generic or open to the general public, a good business mentor starts from where they stop. A business mentor is someone who has “walked the talk” – someone who serves as a trusted confidant and has more entrepreneurial business experience than you.
How do you know if you need a mentor?
Let me ask you this:
Who do you turn to for advice after launching your business? Unlike when you are an employee, launching your business means that you don’t have a boss or colleague to turn to for directions when you have a problem. Even if you don’t have employees (yet) to ask questions, nothing stops you from asking for help. We all need a good and reliable board, fresh pair of eyes (and brains), second opinions, or sometimes, emotional support when the going gets tough (and, trust me, it will).
So, why should you get a mentor?
Here are my top five reasons:
You don’t want to make mistakes/you want to shorten your learning curve
If you don’t want to make the same mistakes you see many business owners make, especially in their first four years of establishment, then you need a business mentor. Your mentor does not need to have experience in your particular industry. But if they do, you will be able to maximise your opportunities to leverage key relationships. They don’t have to be up on the latest trends or technology – you’ve got other sources for that. Your mentor’s role is to share with you lessons from their experience in the hopes that you can learn them quickly and easily.
You want to develop stronger EQ
Emotional intelligence is one of the biggest players that determine a business’ success. When a young entrepreneur has a mature and successful mentor, they will learn how to gain mastery over their emotions.
You need a “shoulder to lean on”
Being an entrepreneur means that you will fail (countless times, maybe). However, how you stand up instead of whining or getting depressed and how you learn from your failures plays a big role in your business’ success. Enduring the consequences of failure on your own can set you back and impact your productivity. During tough times, having a mentor will help you keep your head high. Young entrepreneurs often deal with depression when they are unable to meet their goals and expectations. A mentor who has experienced the highs and lows of running a business will tell you positive and soothing words of advice when things don’t go as expected. Additionally, not only do they cheer you up with positive words of encouragement, but they also share ideas that would help navigate your business to achieve success.
You want to expand your social network
Your mentor, being an experienced business owner, is likely to have an extensive network of people and can offer you access to far more senior decision-makers and business opportunities than you currently have. They will also be far more willing to open that network up to you than some casual acquaintance or someone who you don’t know from a networking event.
You want a trusted, long-term relationship
You want to be able to have a business relationship (which could transcend to a personal one) without having to worry about the person’s ulterior motives. Since most mentors offer free advice, they have no ulterior motives — no service or product to sell you. Thanks to their experience and other qualities they have, the relationship established with them also builds a good foundation for trust. As the relationship progresses over time, that trust can grow even stronger. Your time with them becomes more efficient as they become invested in you and your business’ growth.
You can see how beneficial having a mentor can be for your business’ success. Since the risk is non-existent, you have nothing to lose and everything to gain by finding a good mentor. Every entrepreneur should have one. You should have one.
Found any of these reasons useful? Do you have a mentor? Share your experience with me.