You most probably have a mentor. Others use the term “life coach”. Mentors could be our teachers from the university or secondary school whom we have grown fond of and serve as our coaches in our career path and even personal lives. They may have various attributes, but one thing is for sure: mentors make us live better lives. This goes the same for businesses. Other people, most especially startups, feel independent enough to build the business from the ground up on their own.
You are probably puzzled and find yourself asking: What do we need mentors for? What can they give us? Well, allow me to enlighten you through this list of what mentors can give businesses.
1. Relevant Knowledge
Mentors have been there and have done that, as they say. They know the ins and outs of launching a business and making it grow. If you are starting up as an entrepreneur, it would be an advantage if you have someone to help you out with the essential steps in creating your business, especially crafting a business plan, budget management, marketing strategies, and even how to conduct your daily operations in the first few weeks. The time you expect to spend learning about these things could rather be allocated to other activities because you already have a mentor to guide you through these things. Likewise, having a mentor serves as an assurance that you would not forget to consider the important little things of the business.
2. Immense Experience
Mentors have consummate experience. They are who they are today because of what they had undergone in the past. With their experiences, they have the foresight to prevent future mistakes, know several creative ways to troubleshoot a problem, and understand what works and what doesn’t. Their experiences are more valuable than those you find in self-help books which give you a lot of theories you never get to apply in real life.
3. Expanded Network
A networking circle is indispensable for a business. Here comes another advantage of having a mentor. Because they have the skills and expertise in the field, mentors have a large network which they can share with you. This way, you can easily find the people you need for investment, marketing and promotion, outsourcing, and so on.
4. Positive Encouragement
Mentors are also like cheerleaders. When something goes wrong or when you just feel hopeless and frustrated, mentors offer encouragement. They do this by tapping into your self-confidence, which is an important trait of competent entrepreneurs. Since mentors have already experienced both the highs and lows of businesses, they are the ones who can provide the best words of encouragement.
5. Areas for Improvement
Mentors are a lot like our teachers in school. If we want to go to specifics, mentors are like our English language teachers who have an eye that easily finds our spelling and grammar mistakes, encircles these mistakes with their red pens, and comment on the rules of writing we ought to have followed. A mentor for business does the same. He points us toward our mistakes and gives us feedback on how we can correct and improve. With an exhaustive understanding of the business, a mentor can easily spot our weaknesses, provide us with constructive criticism, and help us improve.
6. Personal and Professional Growth
Contrary to what you may have in mind, mentors do not just coach us on what to do. Instead, they tell us how to do something and let us take it from there. Again, they are like our teachers in school who will give us a group work, sit either in front or at the back, and observe how we go about the activity. This way, teachers and mentors aid in our development as learners and entrepreneurs. We become independent and we become more acquainted with our abilities.
7. Unparalleled Trust
Mentors could be like our best friends. They have full trust in us, and in return, we can put our trust in them. Hence, we can share everything with our mentor because we are confident that whatever we share will be confidential, especially in the world of business where it is difficult to identify who to trust.
8. Unfiltered Opinion
Since their role is to guide with the business, mentors will not hesitate in giving unfiltered opinions whenever we raise an idea. They are people who know what will work and what needs to be scrapped. Most importantly, they do not keep their thoughts to themselves but share it with you so you can both think things through.
9. Needed Boundaries
Mentors could be disciplinarians, too. In other words, they give you what they call “tough love” as they want you to understand that there are boundaries or limitations in doing business. When you understand your boundaries, you become more focused on your priorities as an entrepreneur.
10. Priceless Access
Mentors usually offer free services. They give priceless access to their vast knowledge, skills, expertise, and experiences to help you grow your business. Usually, they only want to pay the deed forward since most often than not, they also received mentorship as they were starting out.
Having a mentor is like providing yourself an encouragement to go through every step of the entrepreneurial process. As Jim Rohn said of his mentor: “My mentor said, ‘Let’s go do it,’ not ‘You go do it.’ How powerful when someone says, ‘Let’s!’”
This is Joey Gurango, your Business Technology Coach!