Whether you are a long-standing business owner or someone who is considering starting a business, having strong personal relationships is an important part of your success. Of particular importance is having a mentor who can help you through the process of business ownership and work with you early in your business life cycle. The following are some of the benefits and services that can be realized through working with a mentor:
Sounding Board—A mentor can give you a platform to use as a sounding board to help you collect your thoughts. Entrepreneurs often need to come to extremely important decisions quickly, and having someone available to just listen can be very helpful with the decision-making process. It’s not uncommon for you to come up with the right decision on your own, just by talking it out with someone.
Expertise—A good mentor can also bring additional expertise and knowledge to a business owner. This becomes especially important when you are entering an industry or field that requires a lot of information and data. Mentors can help ease the stress by finding solid and credible information that can help you quickly. Additionally, they can assist with developing things like processes and procedures that you may not know exist, or that you don’t have the skill set to create yourself. This type of help is even more critical during the startup phase of the business. Having a mentor with industry-specific expertise before you start your business can really help point you toward the path to success.
Reality Check—Mentors can help to provide a reality check about your business ideas or performance. Finding someone who is willing to tell you the truth can be one of the most important elements in helping you run a successful business. As a company owner, much of your time is spent working in the business, but time must also be set aside to work on the business. This includes doing things like developing future strategies and analyzing current performance. Having someone to help you look at the realities of your future strategies can help you take action in the right areas. Furthermore, a mentor can look at your business model’s performance and give you real feedback in areas that are critical to your success.
Networking—Helping you connect to people who are in your industry and with finding ways to generate leads are two other benefits a mentor can provide. Finding a mentor who has the resources available to help connect you with those who might be open to helping your business can have an immediate impact on your business. Many successful businesses have been started through the development of mentoring relationships with people who are already tied to the industry that the entrepreneur is looking to enter.
Motivation and Guidance—Mentors are known for providing motivation and guidance. It’s an inevitable fact that most business owners will go through some sort of struggle during the life of their business. Having someone available who can help guide you through those hardships and provide additional motivation can have a huge impact on your business. Being able to share frustrations and concerns may bring timely solutions to help carry you through the hard times quicker. In short, everyone needs a cheerleader.
Conflict Resolution—Mentors can help to resolve internal conflict. Many times in business, key players have disputes over important aspects of the company. A mentor can help by providing an outside perspective to help ease tension and effect a quicker resolution.
While centering on mentoring for your business success, keep in mind that the above list of benefits is not all-inclusive. But even if you can realize just one of the above benefits by having a mentor, you are still increasing your chances for success.
At the ISBDC network, part of our function is to provide clients with the above benefits. We welcome the opportunity to work with you as a professional mentor.