As you embark on the incredibly exciting yet equally scary journey of starting your own business, you can use all the help and support you can get. This can come in the form of family and friends, and if you’re lucky, in the form of a business mentor as well. Having a mentor to guide you along the way, encourage you and push you, could be just the secret weapon you need to get you ahead of the rest.
As you embark on the incredibly exciting yet equally scary journey of starting your own business, you can use all the help and support you can get. This can come in the form of family and friends, and if you’re lucky, in the form of a business mentor as well. Having a mentor to guide you along the way, encourage you and push you, could be just the secret weapon you need to get you ahead of the rest. Read on to discover the importance behind having a mentor, finding the right person for the job as well as what you have to do to make it work.
How can I benefit from having a mentor?
There are many benefits to having a mentor by your side as you begin to build your business. The first is the fact that they bring something to the table that you don’t yet have – experience. They have been in your exact position and have more than likely faced similar challenges to those you are experiencing, or will experience. As a result, they can help you navigate through familiar territory and can guide you based on their own experiences. They have the gift of hindsight, something that you can most certainly use to your advantage when it comes to decision making and problem solving.
Your mentor will be a constant source of advice, counsel, knowledge and guidance, and they will be able to help you identify your strengths and weaknesses so that you can be the best leader possible. With their support and encouragement, you will be able to overcome many a challenge that comes your way and also achieve the business goals you set out to achieve from the start. Your mentor will act as a sounding board in some situations and offer moral support during difficult times – and there are bound to be quite a few of those. Lastly, they’re able to help shape your company in a meaningful way and also put you in contact with people and companies that can help you reach your objectives.
How do I go about finding the right mentor?
When looking for a suitable mentor, you want to ensure that the person you choose has expertise in the area in which you need assistance. It’s also very important that they are both willing and able to mentor you. Don’t worry if the person you approach isn’t though, chances are they’ll be able to recommend someone else. Your mentor should be someone who believes in you and your business idea, as well as a person you respect, admire and most importantly, connect with. This connection needs to be a strong one and one built on mutual trust.
I’ve found a mentor – now how do I make it work?
A mentorship is in fact a two-way street – you’re expected to put in as much work as your mentor does. In most cases, a person will agree to be your mentor free of charge so it’s vital that you show your appreciation and respect for them on a continuous basis. They are not a consultant but rather a guide, and since they can’t work their magic overnight, they’ll be with you for an indefinite amount of time in an informal manner, so it’s in your best interest to cultivate a strong, meaningful relationship with them early on.
Successful people are often busy people, so when it comes to setting up meetings with your mentor, you need to be conscious of their time. Finding mutually convenient times is what you should aim for and preparing for your meetings beforehand is key. If you come with an agenda, you’ll be able to maximise the time you have with them and get the most out of your interactions.
Down the line you may also want to consider being someone else’s mentor because every entrepreneur can benefit from the right kind of advice at some point or another.
A mentor can be an invaluable asset to any entrepreneur and business, and something that can mean the difference between success and failure. It’s admirable to want to go at it alone, but this is ultimately a flawed approach when it comes to business – having someone cheering you on can make all the difference. In the words of businessman and author Zig Ziglar: “A lot of people have gone further than they thought they could because someone else thought they could.”
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