Have you ever wondered how many times you could have avoided tough situations by having someone to offer you advice?
Recently, this topic came up in a conversation with a young entrepreneur that I used to mentor. This got me thinking about the time I started my first company and how much I needed a person to ask questions that would relieve all the headaches.
Friends, family, the Web or even newspapers can offer your daily flow of information while analysists, consultants, employees can share their knowledge in the field regarding situations you may encounter. However, only a mentor is able to give you an insight on how you can run your business on a regular basis.
Mentors are usually people with a vast entrepreneurial experience, who play the role of a trusted confidant over a long period of time and free of charge. So that begs the question: Why do they do this?
First of all, they consider this a way in which they can give back to their community. Also, other reasons may be the skill development as a manager, teacher, consultant. If the mentoring process isn’t a two-way street, it means that something is just not clicking. During the mentoring process, the mentor will learn new ideas from you just in the same way you learn fresh and new perspectives from him.
When you are in the position of being your own boss, to whom are you going to turn? There’s no boss, and maybe there aren’t even any employee as we speak. You’re on your own but you shouldn’t feel overwhelmed. Every young entrepreneur needs a reliable and valid second opinion.
Mentors have done almost everything there is to do in the business environment. You should learn from their mistakes and past accomplishment even if they haven’t really had much experience in your industry. The role of a mentor is to share his or her life lessons so that you can hopefully learn how to deal in a tough situation.
If you’ve just managed to create a small business, you’re probably low on cash. The good news is that mentors are usually free while consultants may offer advice or tips at a price. If you have difficulties in finding the right mentor for you, there are countless organizations out there like xervice Corps of Retired Executives (xCORE) that can help you. However, even if mentors come free of charge, you should at least take him or her out for a lunch or a coffee.
Moreover, by having a network you will be able to expand your social network more than you might think. Given the fact that your mentor is an experiences businessperson, most likely he has a vast network that can open th gates to more decision-makers than you currently have. Also, take into consideration that the mentor is more likely to offer up his network than an acquanintance you know from a networking meeting.
By having a mentor you will forge a long-term relationship based on trust. You know there is no secret reason behind his willingness to help you make good decisions. Over time, the relationship will flourish and develop into a thing of beauty. With the passing of time, the mentor will become even more efficient and familiar with you and your work.
The good thing about having a mentor is that the rewards are plenty and the risks are scarce if any. Having a mentor might be the thing that’s missing from your business. Rest assured that you will have nothing to lose, rather everything to gain if you will find a good mentor.