When you were growing up, if you had an older sister who helped you with your homework, a trusted aunt who you could vent to about anything, or a teacher who was always there to answer your questions about biology (and life in general), you already know how amazing it is to have a mentor.
Now that you’re a new business owner, a business mentor can help you succeed—similar to how your relatives and teachers did back in the day. Here’s how:
Mentors Offer Real World Advice
If you are opening your own company, you may feel a mixture of excitement and isolation. You probably feel like you have the weight of your company on your shoulders, and that you have nobody who can advise you, like a manager or boss—because you are both! This is where a business mentor comes in. He or she will be the person you turn to for second opinions, emotional support and real world business advice.
Mentors Can Keep You on Track
Sometimes business owners don’t succeed because they focus too much on one thing (like their products) and let other issues (like their budget) fall between the cracks. As Forbes notes, a good business mentor will help you set goals and not become complacent about what you need to do to help your company thrive. Your mentor can help you create lists of goals, which will help you to stay on track, accomplish everything you need to do and push yourself to be the best entrepreneur possible.
Mentors Have Experienced Success … and Failure
One of the best parts about working with a business mentor is learning from their successes and mistakes. As a bonus, your mentor does not have to be from the same industry—she can provide broad examples about lessons she’s learned along the way in running her company. Take your mentor out for coffee and ask her to share some stories that illustrate how she’s grown her company, or how what she thought would be an awesome idea turned out to be a major flop—you will probably find nuggets of wisdom that you can apply to your own business.
Mentorship is Valuable in Any Industry
There are a number of companies that encourage mentorship as part of their business model. Glassdoor lists seven companies that have made it a priority to develop mentor/mentee programs that allow their employees to flourish. This includes USAA, which offers military mentorship and training programs, and Bain & Company, which provides coaching, mentoring and professional development. Amway is another company that places a strong value on mentorship; the company encourages new Independent Business Owners who are just learning about the direct sales model to work with a mentor. The mentor can help answer questions about the company—everything from how and why becoming an IBO is a great route to making money with Amway to tips on selling the company’s many products.
Just like your amazing sister, aunt or teacher was always there for you, your business mentor will be the same way. By being a sounding board and a source of wisdom and encouragement, business mentors can help you go from dreaming about being an entrepreneur to actually owning your own company.