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Entrepreneurship can be very intimidating. As you launch an idea and develop it into an operating business, it is inevitable that you’ll face some tough decisions in which you may not have the answers or the experience to at least make an informed choice. Oprah Winfrey, who we all know as one of the wealthiest media proprietor’s and philanthropist of the 21st Century often gives the following advice “Surround yourself with only people who are going to lift you higher.” In taking that advice from Oprah, one of two African-American Billionaires, ask yourself, why take on the task of starting your business without the wisdom, knowledge and resources of someone who has been there before? We see no good reason! As we explore the importance of a business mentor, let’s examine the idea of business mentorship and why you need one now!
WHAT IS A MENTOR?
So, it’s pretty obvious that finding a mentor can have an enormous impact on the various stages of just about any business. The connections can open doors that would otherwise be closed and their experiences can save entrepreneurs from suffering from the same mistakes they’ve already made. So let’s start by defining what a mentor is:
A mentor is an experienced individual, not necessarily in the same field as your business, who utilizes their own knowledge and resources to help guide you through the obstacles of entrepreneurship. Providing criticism that’s constructive in helping you make informed business decisions is one of the mentor’s most valuable contributions. You want to be asked a lot of tough questions that challenge you to exceed your goals and the occasional “you’re out of your mind” should be received with open arms as it may save you time, money and resources down the road.
It is important to remember that your mentor is not your business partner; you need an objective view from outside your organization in order to truly benefit from this type of relationship. Another key point is that the relationship has been mutually agreed upon and that they have the time to give you a steady and consistent relationship.
The best mentors shouldn’t tell you exactly what to do. They understand their role as an advisor and that it’s your company, not theirs. Mentors who tell you what to do, and become upset when their instructions aren’t followed, often cause more damage than good.
TOP THREE BENEFITS OF HAVING A MENTOR
There are many benefits to the relationship; we’ve identified the top three as follows:
MAXIMIZING THE MENTOR/MENTEE RELATIONSHIP
THE IMPACT OF NOT HAVING A MENTOR
You should strongly consider having a business mentor no matter what type of business you have or are trying to pursue as the benefits immensely outweigh the drawbacks. The impact on your business of you not having a mentor can lead to a waste of time, money and resources. As you strive to execute on the goals you’ve set for your business, the value of having a second opinion, reducing the possibility of wasted time and making uninformed decisions can be detrimental to any business, especially a new start-up that’s trying to gain traction.
You should never hesitate to ask someone who exemplifies your version of success and can challenge you to maximize your potential. Be proactive, and get a mentor as soon as possible. The sooner you get a mentor, the sooner you can learn from their knowledge and experiences to help aid in the elevation of you and your business to new heights. Listen, ask lots questions, implement what you learned and watch your growth.
What are you going to do today to find a mentor? Let us know any successes that you’ve encountered from having a relationship with someone who has advised you and your business in the past.