Being an entrepreneur is one of the most challenging, demanding jobs there is. If you need an advantage to get ahead of your competition, one of the most powerful things you can do is find a good business mentor. They are likely to become a lifelong friend and adviser, but their best attribute is the benefits that they can provide for your business. In fact, mentors can prove invaluable in each of the following areas:
Some Experiences Can Only Be Taught
Many entrepreneurs enjoy reading about the business world, and there’s certainly no shortage of business books and how-to guides on the topic. They often provide valuable advice, and you would be a fool to ignore the wisdom they provide.
Yet there are some things that no book can teach you. Practical experiences often carry more weight than ink on a page can hope to, forcing entrepreneurs to learn as they go. While this will always be true to some extent, somebody else’s practical experiences told in a voice you’ve come to trust can help you dodge the occasional bullet.
For example, growth is a key issue every entrepreneur must grapple with. Business guides often use it as a focal point, but offer conflicting advice that may or may not prove applicable to your industry. If you have a good mentor in your field, their experiences of growth can guide your own ambitions. Did they try to grow too quickly only to take a step backward? Perhaps they delayed growth too long and lived to regret it? Either way, your mentor is likely to have firsthand knowledge more beneficial to you than anything you could read in a book.
Mentors have generally been involved with their industry for a long time, meaning that they know all of the people worth knowing. You need to know the same people to get your concept off of the ground, so your business mentor can do you a huge favor by introducing you to them.
To be fair, a business mentor is not the only way to approach networking. In fact, it’s important enough that you should try to tackle it from multiple angles at once! However, no business has ever been damaged by a strategic recommendation from a leading figure in its industry.
Likelihood Of Success
Many entrepreneurs are plagued by common pitfalls that have vexed business owners since the dawn of capitalism. Is the market ready for my new idea? How should I launch this service? An experienced business mentor faced all of these challenges before and successfully overcame them, possibly requiring multiple attempts in order to do so.
Those attempts were likely costly, so getting it right the first time could really help your business. Armed with a seasoned mentor’s practical experience, you are more likely to succeed where others have failed.
Everybody needs a pep talk now and then, including entrepreneurs! You might be able to get this from friends or family, but words of encouragement often carry more weight if they come from a source that knows what it’s talking about. A business mentor can therefore be an ideal place to get the encouragement you need when things get rough.
Experienced business leaders also tend to be good listeners, as it’s tough to reach the top without stellar communication skills. This can be helpful when you just need a shoulder to lean on, as you can trust that they are really paying attention to whatever you need to get off of your chest.
Best of all, this is one area where even experienced entrepreneurs occasionally need help. As time goes on, you may be able to encourage your mentor in the same manner that they encouraged you. Your relationship will have come full circle, ultimately benefiting you both!
The benefits of a business mentor above only scratch the surface on what you can gain from an experienced individual in your industry. Honestly, you won’t appreciate the full spectrum of what a good mentor can provide until you have one yourself!