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Finding a Mentor: The Secret Weapon to Boosting Your Business
An entrepreneur should always be prepared to meet the challenges when they least expect them to show up. These unforeseen challenges make the whole process more exciting and are what defines the entrepreneurial journey. It is our reaction to problems that defines our success, not our creative ideas when things are running smoothly. Saying this, these are also the same challenges that can lead to ruin if not carefully managed.
Finding an appropriate solution can seem impossible in many instances. The fact is that we don’t have the answers to all of life’s problems. A wise entrepreneur knows that he cannot face all the issues alone and needs the assistance of specialists now and again. A balance needs to be found between independent creative thinking and accepting external advice.
That’s where the mentor comes in, a person with knowledge, someone who has already faced your dilemmas in the past. The right mentor can enhance the performance of your business significantly and critical pieces of advice can get you out of trouble when you are in a dire situation. Even then, the perks of having a mentor are often overlooked.
The Qualities Of A Mentor
A mentor is a seasoned business professional who has had the opportunity to do it all. Their expertise in the business realm enables them to see opportunities that you would otherwise miss. They are also able to spot lucrative opportunities and point you in the right direction. The knowledge they have acquired throughout the years can play a huge role in making a successful entrepreneur.
They understand the consequences of your decisions and can see indirect effects as a result of their extensive experience. As veteran business people, they can also foresee the eventualities that can favor the future growth of your enterprise. While the benefits are undisputed, the hard part comes in finding the right mentor.
Garth Vickers, business mentor and CEO, has gone through these issues and knows how to help a young entrepreneur to find the right path.
How To Identify Your Mentor?
The first advice would be to find a person that you trust. A mentor/mentee relationship works best when both sides feel comfortable sharing information in a comfortable relationship. It can be as complicated as finding a best friend and requires effort on both parties.
On the other hand, you can also find mentors online thanks to social media platforms and other outlets. However, it’s up to you whether to choose between a paid solution or find an alternative route. The second method is suggested.
As a less seasoned entrepreneur, you’re in need of somebody that you can speak up if things are amiss. The last thing that you want are people who are simply there to keep their heads down and collect a paycheck. The key to building a successful relationship is honesty. You are looking for their honest advice, so never bury your flaws and fears.
As a business mentor, Garth Vickers thinks that finding the right one is critical to keep your business successful and prosperous. “Often businesses fail because people didn’t want to search for a mentor”.
The second piece of advice is to find a mentor that you look up to, a person who you admire and respect. This person should be someone who you want to emulate in the future. It’s even better if he/she is working in the same field as you are. Such relationships can benefit you immensely.
Where To Look For In A Mentor?
The chances are that you are already in contact with the right individual. It can be someone from your workplace, your boss, a relative, your professor or teacher, or a friend of yours. Explore your circle before you expand your search, it will help you find the right match.
Still can’t find one? There are plenty of other places to look for a mentor. You can opt to attend networking events, fitness classes, volunteer events, and industry meetups; these are places where you can meet up with the right individuals. Or, as always, there are online mentorship networks and social media platforms to help you out. You can look for a successful CEO or business person and try to reach them via email. Remember that you may need to offer them something in return or at the very least demonstrate they you value their time and expertise. However, business veterans generally enjoy passing on their expertise. It's more the case that younger entrepreneurs seem intent to do it all on their own and learn the hard way.
How To Have The Right Communications?
The most common mistake that we all make is being too formal in the interaction with the mentor. They are genuinely helping entrepreneurs and they don’t always ask for a payment. In fact, the good ones never ask for a reward. They are just happy to aid the newcomers and pass on their insights in the industry.
Garth Vickers thinks the best way to treat your mentor is as a friend and with respect. There are different ways to approach a potential mentor. You can discuss your thoughts and concerns over drinks by keeping in touch, or you can find something that works for both of you. However, don’t be in a rush and run to them for all your queries. Nothing will annoy them more than having to constantly babysit all the time. You could consider a network of mentors for alternative streams of information and to spread things out.
Business mentors are nearly always successful individuals with busy schedules, so make their time worthwhile when you land the opportunity. A good mentor is a great listener who will contemplate your input and generate alternative solutions. Their experience will come in handy while assessing the situation and turning it in your favor.
How to Get The Most Out of It?
As a mentee, it’s evident that you’re going to get the most out of this relationship. But instead of firing queries all the time, show them your appreciation by valuing their time and advice. Prepare the questions that you want to ask so that they know you appreciate their time. For instance, if you were to go on with that deal, would it benefit the business? Do we have the resources? Are there any hurdles in between?
[Garth Vickers] - “Meaningful questions never tire business minds... the whole point of seeking advice is to have a significant awareness of advancing your business”. Therefore, it’s also crucial for you to have a grasp on the situation.
Mentors expect nothing in return, hence, make the meeting schedule more convenient for them. You can arrive early or adjust your time for their convenience. Remember that mentors are never shy to share inside information. Acknowledge their help and thank them.
Having a mentor can aid you in acquiring business insights. They are familiar with your struggles as an entrepreneur and their experience will come in handy while finding solutions for your business. However, the real battle lies in finding the right mentor. Seek out someone that you trust and respect.
This article does not necessarily reflect the opinions of the editors or management of EconoTimes.