Everyone knows that running a business is no easy task. A business owner will have a lot on his/her plate and this can be overwhelming. However, at times, when one has too much to handle, a mentor can prove to be useful.
They can guide, groom and offer valuable help to grow the business. Having someone to count on could relinquish some of the burdens of running a business.
A mentor is usually someone who is a seasoned businessman and is in a position to offer sound advice and boost entrepreneur morale. MicroMentor found that 49% of pre-launch businesses that received mentoring actually ended up starting their businesses, and 82% survived for 1-2 years.
In general, mentoring isn’t a new concept and has long existed in history. Many mentoring relationships are formed even by today’s most successful business people.
Below is a list of known mentors and mentees:
– Aristotle mentored Alexander The Great
– Socrates mentored Plato
– George Wythe mentored Thomas Jefferson
– Benjamin Graham mentored Warren Buffet
– Steve Jobs mentored Marc Benioff
– Larry Page mentored Marissa Myers
And the list goes on.
If you are considering getting a mentor, great! Below are the aspects that they can be of great help:
- Expert Advice and experience
There is a saying that “Experience is your best teacher”. Obviously, your mentor would be the best teacher as they have ample experience. Besides, for you to go through experiences in business requires time and also learning.
Experience is an expensive asset, and the cost is time and money. Business mentors have been through it, you might as well learn from them through their own experiences. They can offer insights and hacks you can’t get from books and the web. Furthermore, they have richer and deeper knowledge on how the business world works.
Business mentors have “been there, done that”. They are in a position to offer you advice and guidance based on actual experiences — successes and failures included. As a new business owner, you are more likely to get concrete advice from business mentors than you ask for from people like your family members, friends and the people who own the store next door.
You can be sure that their advice is objective, well-seasoned and based on tried-and-tested business methodologies and practices. The benefit of consulting them anytime from funding to marketing to hiring your first employee is priceless.
Sure, you can argue that learning on your own is more valuable than having someone to guide you. Don’t get me wrong, mistakes are a great way to learn, but some are so costly and time-consuming that it’s best to let someone else do the “learning” for you. Learning from your own experiences takes up a lot of time. However, learning from a mentor can boost the learning process. This is what business owners need in this competitive business world.
- Different Perspective
Sometimes to analyse and solve a problem, is to look from a different angle. When you are faced with a business problem, your friends and family’s advice can only go to a certain extent. It’s different as they don’t stand in the same shoes as you.
Having a mentor is the direct opposite. They expand your viewpoint, and help you to see multiple perspectives on your problems. That can guide you toward a long-standing solution that ultimately encourages your business to grow and succeed.
Other than that, they would be more trustable as they have gone through what you are currently experiencing, they have tested the waters, hence, advice from them would be more solid.
For example, as a new business owner, you may have trouble viewing your business through the eyes of a customer, a potential investor or a government official. A seasoned mentor would be able to tell what their viewpoints are, as he/she may have dealt with these people often, and can help you understand how your business is presented to these individuals.
It is a known fact that networking is important in growing towards success. Though it is corny, that is how the world works. Especially for business owners who are just starting out, they would not have a lot of contacts or people to go to when they need something.
A mentor is proven to provide you with access to his/her extensive network of contacts. Your mentor has a wide range of networks that he/she has collected through their years of being in business. It will be easier to meet contacts that your mentor trusts, as opposed to you trying your luck to find contacts that are trustable and responsible.
Part of your business’ success depends on the strong and productive relationship you have with other businesses and consumers in your community. Your mentor would highly likely already possessed that advantage and they can introduce you to their extensive network of contacts and associates.
It would also be easier for your mentor to quickly get you acquainted with his/her network so that you may gain many warm relationships, as compared to building up a cold relationship from scratch when meeting someone at an event.
For example, if you need a reliable designer to help set up your business website, your mentor can connect you to his designer to get what you need. Moreover, prices from your mentor’s contacts might be slightly affordable than the quoted market price due to the tight–knit relationship your mentor had with his/her contacts.
- Build confidence
There is nothing more reassuring than having a mentor validate and support your ideas and strategies. This will automatically boost your confidence in handling your business. You would also know that you are going in the right direction. Their reassurance is like an added insurance to your business ideas and strategies. This is because they would know better, given their experience and knowledge in managing a business.
When you are starting or in the midst of running a business, you have to deal with countless questions and difficult decision-making situations. Often, you would have to just dig in and trust your gut. A mentor can encourage this process.
If not, your mentor can be an extra confidante to confide in and discuss your business matters with, coming out with consolidated solutions and innovative strategies to tackle your problems.
As mentioned in the article on creating growth for your business, one way to it is by taking risks. Having a mentor by your side would also encourage this behaviour.
Your mentor can back you up and offer significant ways to bring your business back up when you faced with conflict and difficulties. This is better to when you are all alone in managing your business. That’s how scary it is not having a mentor around.
In 2012, MircoMentor.org surveyed users of their service and found that “those who received mentoring increased their revenue by an average of $47,000, or 106%,” and, “those who did not receive mentoring only increased their revenue by an average of $6,600, or 14%.”
The statistics prove that mentors offer valid encouragement during difficult times and help you weather through. In hard 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 during the initial phase. The impact of depression on entrepreneurs is often underreported. But entrepreneurs without mentors bear the brunt the most.
A mentor who has been through the highs and lows in business is the perfect candidate to give positive and soothing words of advice to you when things refuse to go your way. And not only do they have the right words to share, they would also have ideas to help you navigate your way to success.
Besides, when a business owner has regained his/her confidence to manage his/her business, he/she would be more likely to pick up the pace and save the business.
Benefits for mentors
Some of you may be in a position to be able to offer business insights to young budding entrepreneurs. Being a mentor is one of the most selfless things you can contribute to the business community!
Here are some of the benefits of being a mentor:
– You will be able to learn from each other
– The mentoring experience is mutually beneficial
– You will be able to experience the joy of bringing people up and helping them achieve their dreams
– By helping others improve, you are also improving yourself
– You may gain new inspiration, meet new contacts and learn new business strategies from your mentees
Whether you’re just getting started down the path to business ownership, or have been there for some time, a business mentor can help you along the way. Know that you’ve got nothing to lose, and a world of business insight to gain.
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