What is a business mentor?
A business mentor is an experienced and knowledgeable individual who offers guidance, support and advice to a less experienced entrepreneur or business professional (ie their mentee). They draw on their own expertise to assist the mentee in navigating the complexities of the business world, providing insights, strategic counsel and introductions to valuable contacts.
Why do I need a business mentor?
Mentoring offers limitless opportunities and there are no drawbacks to seeking a mentor for your personal and professional growth. Here are 5 reasons why a mentor could help you and your startup:
1. They’ll push you to grow
Business mentors act as a sounding board that you can bounce ideas off of. They’ll help you realise what it is that you want to achieve and how to go about getting it. The right mentor can assist with the basics of business; something that is often missed by new businesses in the excitement of launching and initially running a startup. For example, instead of a one-year Business plan, your mentor can help you realise that a 3-year strategy is necessary to ensure scalability. A good mentor can push you to do this and help implement your plans.
2. They’re not an authority figure but a collaborator
A mentor will be there to guide you, however, the business still belongs to you. They’re not there to solve all of your problems, but to challenge you, figure out your strengths and weaknesses and suggest ways you can improve. Therefore, when choosing a mentor, it’s a good idea to make sure the relationship is not one of ‘teacher-student’, but one of collaboration and equal standing. As the owner of your business, it’s you who has to make the decisions and the mistakes, and overcoming the mistakes represents an important learning curve in becoming a successful entrepreneur.
3. They create an understanding of different perspectives on your business
Mentors have intimate knowledge of how business works. They can help you look at problems and situations from perspectives that you may not have thought of on your own, giving you an entrepreneurial advantage. For example, as a new business owner, you may have trouble looking at your business through the eyes of a customer or a potential investor. Your business mentor, who has probably dealt with these people often, can help you understand how your business will look to these individuals.
4. Networking opportunities
Mentors can put you in touch with people who can help you to make your business more successful. The greater the number of networking activities entrepreneurs engage in, the higher the chance of having a positive return in terms of profitability, revenue growth, innovation, capitalisation and talent. So get out there and network! The name tags are waiting…
5. You’ll gain experience
Experience is an expensive asset, yet crucial to business success. There’s only so much about a person’s experience that you can learn from books. Mentorship is one guaranteed way to gain experience from others.
So what are you waiting for?
It’s been proven that quality mentorship has a positive impact on entrepreneurs’ endeavours. Someone who guides you, shares your worries and placates your fears with years of experience is someone worth having around. Get started on that Business plan and navigate your way to success with a business mentor.