Your Business Mentor: Why, What & How

Posted by on March 26, 2012 in Business Start Up Advice [ 0 Comments ]

When it comes to starting a business, it’s important that you are able to do three things at once: love your business, keep your head on straight, and bounce back from a rough spot. Emotions play a large part in why you start a business, but unfortunately are very often the root cause of failure, as well. A business mentor is important to helping you maintain these three things to achieve your success.

“Finding experienced advisors or mentors can be invaluable to helping you navigate the waters. Whether they can help you avoid unnecessary obstacles, learn more about an industry or discipline, they can be a priceless resource for entrepreneurs.”
—Why Every Entrepreneur Needs a Mentor,
ideacrossing.org

Why Have One?

Having a business mentor is like having a personal business consultant. Your mentor wears every hat. While you, as the business owner, will take on many different positions as you work to get the business running, your business mentor is your personal jack of all trades. As Inc.com wrote, “…whether they provide pointers on business strategy, bolster your networking efforts or act as confidantes when your work-life balance gets out of whack.” When all else fails, a business mentor knows how to pick up the pieces.

What Makes A Mentor?

A business mentor is important to anyone starting to navigate the rough waters of starting a business. Your mentor should have successfully started a business already, giving them the wisdom you’ll need as the going gets tough. Having been through the ups and downs, this person can see to the other side when you might not. So what should you look for in a mentor?

  • Passion: Your business mentor should have a love for the business, and see your vision as clearly as you do.
  • Resilience: When the going gets tough, a mentor can act as your anchor.
  • Logic: In the good and the bad, your business mentor should be able to keep a clear head.

How Do You Find It?

The first step in finding a business mentor is figuring out what characteristics you are looking for. You’ll want someone who is similar enough to you that they understand your business plan and can see your vision for the future. Yet, they should be distant enough to remind you when you have to get your head back in the game. There are a variety of ways for you to find the perfect business mentor:

  • Old boss/coworker: Choosing someone you’ve worked with before is always a good idea. You know how you’ll get along, how that person works, and you can relate on a level other than your new business.
  • Extended family member: This can become problematic very quickly. However, it can also be successful if you choose someone you respect, who you’ll listen to and can work as a person not a family member.
  • LinkedIn: The professional social network is the perfect place to find a successful business mentor. Consider asking someone who you look up to, even if you’ve never actually spoken before.

Starting a business is hard work; both mentally and physically. You can’t always count on your inner entrepreneur, so finding someone who has been through it once, or more, before will keep you on track. When the stress begins to take a toll on your mind, body and drive it is imperative that you have someone to push you through.

Photo credit: Theeba.org


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