How to choose the right mentor for your small business
Firing your unreasonable boss and starting your own small business seemed like a good idea. After all, you’ve been successfully working in your field for years, you are a top-notch pro, and you have loads of great ideas and expertise.
However a good percentage of small startups have a very short lifespan of 3 to 5 years. What is going wrong? Are you going it alone? If so, there is growing evidence that hooking up with a business mentor can greatly improve the outlook for your company’s success and lifespan.
What is a Mentor?
A mentor is someone who has been down the road you are now traveling. A mentor comes alongside you, helps you understand the required work to succeed, then helps with your strategy and address the exact tasks to tackle. A wise mentor who has knowledge, experience, and is a good teacher is key to your support network.
Reasons Why Not Having a Mentor Negatively Impacts Your Business:
When starting out, it can seem that no one has heard of you and many are not wildly enthusiastic about giving an unknown a boost. Aligning your business with a mentor whose reputation is solid can swing doors wide open and seal deals faster. Perhaps you cannot deliver quite as quickly as another competitor. A good recommendation from your mentor can entice a prospective client to give you the opportunity to do business with them.
Choosing a mentor you would enjoy spending time with, in whose footsteps you would like to follow, can prevent you from investing in unnecessary resources. A good mentor will point you in the right direction, and allow you to learn from his mistakes instead of having to make those same errors yourself.
The advice a valuable mentor gives is reassuring when it’s time to make a change, as well as fight off the temptation to quit too soon. Business growth is rarely a predictable, straight path. What you think is a setback may just be things occurring in their own timeframe.
Benefits of Having a Mentor:
Good mentoring can help build morale when you’ve hit a wall or are just plain tired. Hearing another’s stories is very reassuring and encouraging. A mentor acts as the gardener who helps you weed out the advice that is choking you. Ever hear a good bit of advice and wonder, “Now why didn’t I think of that?” Your mentor will be coming from a different place in life and bringing a viewpoint that you might never see. Going to your mentor when you need to let off some steam can help you avoid having a negative impact on future relationships with employees, customers and even suppliers you need to deal with. The confidence boosts you get from the mentoring relationship can help you feel less lonely at the top and increase your ability to stand your ground even when naysayers are shouting.
There are different ways to access to mentoring services. Australian Government websites will give you guidance to start looking for the best mentor for your type of business.
What Makes a Good Mentor?
You will be beyond pleased with a mentor who takes your efforts seriously, who invests himself in you, takes a personal interest in your business, and displays interest in your field. Your mentor’s willingness and ability to share his knowledge, his compassion for your challenges, and his respect for your opinions and hard work will be what keeps you going many days. You will want a good communicator who can give you sound guidance as well as constructive input in a way that you appreciate. One who sets goals and sees them achieved will be invaluable in keeping your bottom line moving in an upward direction.
Signs That a Mentor is a Good Fit:
There is the feeling that the exchange between mentor and mentee is of mutual benefit. Your mentor sets clear expectations of you and holds you accountable. The chemistry between you and your mentor is obvious. Hopefully, this occurs naturally; but if not, create it by listening and then reflecting back what you heard. This activity creates a bond of mutual respect between people with very different styles and positions you to benefit from someone who has much to offer.