The benefits of a mentor
Unless you’re an old hand at building successful companies, it can be a scary, lonely process for a sole trader. Every decision comes down to you—even people’s livelihoods, if you’ve taken on staff.
Whilst the day to day running of the business may not be too difficult, it can be hard for even the most seasoned entrepreneur to see the wood for the trees…to see beyond the daily grind for the right opportunities and the steps you need to take to grow the business.
A mentor is worth their weight in gold. And here’s why:
Been there, done that
Most people choose to mentor others when they’ve got a decent amount of experience and success under their belt. They feel they can make a difference to up-and-coming enterprises as they’ve steered their business(es) through all the pitfalls and challenges that can crop up and they can therefore save less experienced entrepreneurs from these hazards.
Advice from someone who’s been in your shoes and come out, unscathed, on the other side is more potent, useful and effective than advice from someone not in your industry, or someone who is only assuming or guessing what your next steps should be.
Free advice is never something to ignore, but more so from a successful entrepreneur.
Though you may open your office, shop or base of your enterprise every morning and see colleagues and customers on a daily basis, it can still be a lonely place for the boss. It’s difficult to enforce boundaries with your employees if you discuss all your business dealings with them, which is why it’s much better to confide in someone outside the business about your worries, your growth plans and your entrepreneurial ideas.
Sometimes, you may know the answer to a business concern, but it’s still useful to gather a second opinion from someone who’s isn’t as caught up in the day-to-day workings of the company, and who, as a result, has a much more objective view of things.
A mentor could prove the wind beneath your business’s wings. Left to your own devices, the work you need to do to move your business forwards may slip to the bottom of your to-do list if things are busy. Having a mentor makes you answerable and accountable. They can help you keep the plans you make; otherwise, you may find yourself spending decades simply fire-fighting and never growing as an enterprise.
A greater network
A mentor, having done all and seen all, is likely to have a large network of contacts they could approach for relevant opportunities and collaborations that could see you well on your way to greater success.
Typically, the reason why a mentor decides to work with a less-experienced business owner is to give something back. After all, if they’ve achieved their goals, where do they go from there? If they hit their target of being a millionaire, for example, their next target could be to become a billionaire, but this just grants them bigger, better toys. Some entrepreneurs become wise to the fact that it wouldn’t really feel any different.
Helping others further down the ladder can give mentors a warm, fuzzy feeling inside—which is not something they can simply pick up off a shelf in a shop; it only comes from doing good.
Because they’re not offering their advice in return for money, and because they’ve achieved their success, their advice is likely to be unbiased.
Simply put, their goal will be the same as yours…to help grow your business and see you succeed.
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