When you start a business, a mentor is a highly invaluable asset. Many people struggle when first entering the world of business. We know that a ton of businesses fail in the first three months. Why does this happen? Do they not have someone to guide them to success? Do they need a mentor?
Everyone starting a business should have a mentor who is experienced in both success and failure. When things are going poorly, the business owner must act upon the recommendation of the mentor to save the business.
Mentors can answer questions and give advice. As a new business owner, you will get advice from friends and family. The problem here is that most of that advice is biased, whereas, a true mentor will give very honest and direct advice. In addition, the mentor will be versed in more complicated business matters.
Mentors can look at the business in a different light from a different perspective. As the business owner, you may find it difficult to look at the business through the eyes of the customer, a potential investor, or some other entity.
The mentor, however, can easily analyze and evaluate based on their experience in the industry. Because of their position, a mentor will give an unbiased and informative direction to the business owner through their own perspective.
Unlike investors, mentors care about the whole scope of the business. Investors are interested in one thing: profit. There is nothing wrong with a person who is directly responsible for the money inside the business being interested in their return.
However, a mentor is interested in the entire business. Their focus will be on the business, how it is managed, what direction it will take, and the impact of the business upon the investor. The mentor helps develop the business as a whole.
A mentor can serve as someone to vent to, someone you can trust to tell the truth about how you really feel. Chances are, they have been in your position more than once and they can approach with empathy towards your concerns and any other obstacles the business may be running into. Business owners are limited as to who they can vent to; they cannot vent to their partners, investors, or customers.
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A good mentor will take the time to listen to your concerns and approach them with an even mind, with the stability and growth potential of the business at the front of their mind and in the heart of their intentions.
When it comes to networking, a business mentor is a key to finding and realizing other business leaders, potential investors, and even more customers. A mentor has worked in the business for a long period of time and, therefore, will know a lot more people than a new business starter. They can connect you with the minds and knowledge of other business leaders.
Potential investors will gravitate toward something they see as stable and growing. A business with a mentor is something they love to see. They want the stability and growth potential, and a mentor provides exactly what they are looking for in the business. It shows with the customers as well. With a mentor, you can come up with ideas that will make the customer experience better and will, therefore, inhibit repeat customer usage.
A key component to having a mentor is communication. Communication must be open and forthright, never allowing barriers to come between you and your mentor. A mentor is there to keep the lines of communication open so that there are no sudden surprises in terms of how the business is managed.
Likewise, your lines of communication must be open, direct, and honest. If it is not, then the chances of your mentor not helping and becoming more of a hindrance are increased. Therefore it is best to build a rapport with your mentor that is not unlike an honest friendship.