Being an entrepreneur is an exciting adventure but it also comes with challenges. Not only is it an uphill battle to start up your business – finding capital, convincing investors, hiring the right people. It’s also a battle even after you’re up and running. You need to have a lot of belief in yourself and your business idea in order to do this but it’s not enough. Most start-up ventures end in failure.
Richard Branson once said,
“LEARN FROM FAILURE.
If you are an entrepreneur and your first venture wasn’t a success, welcome to the club.”
If you already have a business, you’ve probably already had moments when you’ve questioned yourself and the true value of your business. The key is finding ways to work through these moments and knowing how to handle every challenge that leads to them. That’s where your business mentor comes in.
1. A mentor will provide you with guidance
In business, there are often moments where you are unsure of what your next step should be. Maybe you have a problematic staff member you‘re not sure how to manage, maybe you’re not sure which of your potential investment is truly the most valuable. This is when a conversation with your business mentor is vital. And in the current digital age, a face-to-face conversation isn’t even necessary – you can easily schedule an online conference call or an informal chat with your mentor on the many social media platforms available.
You may find that you are on the right path and all you really need is a dose of self-confidence to remove the doubt causing you to question your direction. On the other hand, you may find that you truly may have lost direction. It is easy to get caught up in the ins and outs of business on a daily basis. This can cause you to lose track of the bigger picture especially if you are a business owner that also works as an employee of the business. It’s great to be as involved as possible in your business – knowing the daily functions of your business may be beneficial to you and your business. However, you may also need an outside perspective to remind you of your ultimate goals, aims and the purpose of your business.
2. A mentor is the best source of encouragement and motivation
Being in business is exhausting. Sometimes you can simply just be tired and drowning in the constant challenges. You may begin to question the value of your business. You may even consider quitting. If you’re overloaded with challenges, it is hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Having an objective, outside perspective on things will help in these situations. Facing challenges in business that seem insurmountable is actually normal – you may need someone who has been through this to remind you that challenges are normal and you have to manage them in order to succeed. An experienced mentor will be able to tell you the difference between a challenge you have to face head-on vs. a challenge that could mean the end of your business.
3. Your mentor can be the foundation of your network and valuable connections
“It’s not what you know, it’s who you know”
– One of the expressions you’ll hear in business many times.
The expression is, of course, highly debatable. Many don’t believe that connections truly trump knowledge, skills or experience. But any business professional will tell you that a good network is essential to keeping a business alive and thriving. A mentor is the greatest connection you can have because not only is their main purpose to assist you in making your business great – they can also be the key to unlocking the rest of your business network. If you have a good, trusting relationship with your mentor they are most likely to connect you with other people who can be useful to your business. This can be an investor, a partnership, a source of useful resources, or just like-minded people in your field. Your mentor, therefore, becomes the most important foundation to build your network on.
4. A mentor gives you access to the valuable experience you don’t have yet
There is certain knowledge, especially in business, which is not available to you in the form of textbooks or internet searches. But it is important that you are open to the knowledge your mentor can provide you. Be prepared to learn, adapt and change as necessary for your own growth as well as your business. You will often have to be open to constructive criticism, constant judgment and facing the harsh realities of business. Be ready and remember, it’s for your own good and the benefit of your business.
5. Your mentor is the trustworthy perspective you can always go to for help
Make sure that the mentor you chose is a person you can trust your business with. You’ll need to have a very open dialogue with your mentor in order to acquire real, valuable knowledge from them. If you are not fully comfortable with your mentor, not only will you not be able to take their criticism, but you may not even be able to ask that they provide you with the criticism or advice that you need in the first place. This defeats the whole purpose of having a mentor at all. There is no room for pride or overconfidence in business – the naked truth can only benefit you.
Finding a mentor is easy, but you need to find a valuable mentor in order to succeed. You may even need to have many different mentors that you go to for different aspects of your business. That’s because having a mentor is about having someone more knowledgeable, skilled or experienced around to benefit you and your business. Business mentors will come in many different shapes and sizes – it’s your job to find the right fit for you.