While starting and running a business I have found that unlike some people believe there are many people out there who are willing to help you. Whether that is your friends, your family, neighbours, old employers or work mates, your hairdresser, loads of people.
Then you can gain information and advice from all of these people, alongside the Web, business magazines, and even casual acquaintances whether this is in relation to news, industry developments, or opportunities.
You can get industry analysts, consultants, employees, and even good networking contacts to share their expert knowledge with you in certain situations when asked.
However having a mentor who can truly share wisdom with you on an ongoing basis, is indispensable.
A mentor is someone with more entrepreneurial business experience than you, someone who serves as a trusted associate over an long period of time.
A mentor will bring many benefits to your business and also your life:
1) Advice & Experience
This is an obvious one, but the advice you can gain from someone who has already been there and done it in business in priceless. They don’t even have to have worked in the same industry as you, they still know how to deal with clients and business.
A mentor can give you advice on any aspect of business, whether it is your pricing, schedule, marketing, etc. It is effectively a shortcut around a few of the mistakes that you may go through as a business owner, they have “been there, done that”.
As you are running a business there are certain to be times in which you are confused with how to handle something or someone, maybe someone challenging your prices, maybe when you cant think of a new way to attract clients. Your mentor has been there, been through that experience, they will have ideas or a solution to your problems. They will have dealt with similar people / problems.
They might be the difference between you closing a deal and losing one.
2) Success leaves a trail
When you are meeting with your mentor or speaking to him you need to be a sponge and absorb every single piece of information that you can, from the advice he gives, to the way they communicate and think. If you can learn the methods that someone else used to succeed, then you can do the same thing.
Ask questions, listen to their advice, read the books that they have read, if you want to be successful this is a major way to develop.
Imagine having Lionel Messi showing you how to dribble or Usain Bolt teaching you how to run faster, the lessons would be irreplaceable and you need to treat each meeting with your mentor the same.
3) They can even get you new clients
Your mentor wants you to succeed a lot, probably more than you appreciate, they give up their time (sometimes for free) and put in a lot of effort to meet up with you, give you advice and research things for you.
But not only this, they will actively market your business if the opportunity arises, speaking from experience my mentor has passed me strong leads that have led to sales and long term clients. When you have someone who is willing not only to recommend you as a business they know but as a friend and associate of theirs, it is such a strong message to the prospective client.
It massively increases your credibility and your rapport before even speaking to the prospect.
One perhaps undervalued qualities that a mentor can offer to you is just some of their contacts, even unlike for the last point to be of any kind of monetary gain for you or the business but they may able to get you invited to certain events.
One of my mentors introduced me to one of his children, who also owns their own business, again in a completely different industry to both my mentor and myself however he was able to give me some advice and tips as well as a book he thought would help me.
He also helped to get me invited to a Google event in which i met with some people in huge business’ such as Kodak and Rothschild.
5) A friend
One thing I have from my mentors is that they are all friends too, regardless that some have had different upbringings, different hobbies and all are older than me, I have actually become friends with each of them.
If you have the right mentor you will enjoy spending time with them and actually look forward o your meetings. You will be able to discuss your personal life with them, holidays, their families etc.
This not only improves the personal relationship but also the business relationship.
As you can see there are many rewards to getting a mentor, and the risk is non-existent. I truly believe that every entrepreneur should have at least one, if not more. They can take you to the next level in business or really help you to take off.