When you start a business, nothing can match the reassurance of having an experienced entrepreneurial business mentor by your side. The calming effect alone is enough reason to take steps to find a mentor. You will get the chance to grow, rethinking your assumptions and developing the patterns that make business leaders, well, leaders.
If you want to find a mentor, you are already on the right track. The most successful business owners can attest, mentorship is a necessary and worthwhile endeavor for anyone starting a business.
Why You Need a Mentor
Really, it’s simple – when it comes to running a business, your gut-feeling cannot equate to decades of experience.
Sure, there are the oddball cases of inexperienced self-starters whose first business goes on to claim riches, but you can be sure of two things:
- As soon as those people started to see real success, they invested in consultants and advisors to oversee business strategy and decisions
- Those few people are the exceptions, not the rule
Incubators and accelerators may sound like made-up terms, but those are often the sites of the world’s greatest innovations and most outstanding startups. These are businesses that offer new entrepreneurs funding and hands-on mentorship. By pairing these ambitious entrepreneurs with experienced mentors, incubators and accelerators have proven themselves to be incredibly successful in growing major global brands in the 21st century.
Why? Because they offer mentorship and guidance that helps entrepreneurs avoid pitfalls that plague new business owners. You don’t know what you don’t know, and that’s why mentorship is so essential to growing a new business.
"If you've got an idea, start today. There's no better time than now to get going. That doesn't mean quit your job and jump into your idea 100 percent from day one, but there's always small progress that can be made to start the movement."
Kevin Systrom, Instagram
If you are still undecided, let’s take a look at the numbers. Only one-half of new businesses are still standing after just five years. At the ten-year mark, that’s down to just one-third of all new businesses. The reason? For most, it’s a lack of profits or funding.
A business is always an investment. Even if it is not your money going into the business, it will still be a time investment. Cutting your risk down should be the first order of business for an entrepreneur. Finding a business entrepreneur who has done it before (ideally in your field) is going to literally double your chances of succeeding.
Mentorship for Experienced Business Owners
Yes, even if you already have your feet underneath you as a business owner, mentorship is still worthwhile. Branching out of it will require a lot of stretching.
By partnering with a mentor who has succeeded in the industry of your next business venture, you will have guidance on the processes, available services, best practices, and common mistakes that you can overcome.
"All good leaders should be invested in the career growth of their team members, but don’t always look high when creating your mentor network. Colleagues have great insights about you that you may have overlooked.”
It is easy to see how business entrepreneur mentors not only ensure your business is successful but how to set it up for long-term growth into the future.
The Types of Business Entrepreneur Mentors Available
Surviving in a competitive market takes a keen understanding of the competition. Without experience in that arena, you will be at a distinct disadvantage. That is why you should seek out a mentor who is already succeeding in your industry.
There are a few major types of mentors who will assist you in reaching your goals:
- Direct mentors
These are the types of individuals who see the value in what you are trying to build and want to be a part of it. They are similar to investors, insofar as they will want some form of compensation for their involvement in your business. The difference though is that they will (and should) have the experience and expertise to aid in your business planning and goals. Entrepreneurial business mentors fit into this category since their interest is to help entrepreneurs succeed in their field.
- Indirect mentors
When a mentor has an arm’s length relationship to your business, they are generally considered to be indirect. Although they may not be reviewing your actual plans and directions, they still want to share their knowledge and personal experiences with you. This means that it is up to you to actually apply that information to your business case.
- Incubators and Accelerators
This form of mentorship involves entering into a program with other startups and new businesses. They help test the viability and quality of the business before entering the market. Programs are typically led by a handful of experienced business leaders that help guide the applicants run their business successfully. Do you have an ingenious new idea to bring to market and not much funding? These programs can often help you to find venture capital investments.
Where You Can Find Business Entrepreneur Mentors
When you start searching for a mentor, the first question to ask yourself is what type of advice you need. That means a bit of soul searching and self-reflection. To understand what you need to know, you have to accept that you do not always know what’s best.
That’s the hard part.
Once you have narrowed down what type of advice you need in your business venture, then you are ready to begin your search.
- Industry events and networking
Wherever you live, go and find the next major business convention open to the public in your area. Before you come up with 10 excuses not to go, instead spend 5 minutes coming up with a handful of questions to ask the people you meet at the convention. Get the ball rolling and connect with the people in your industry – it’s essential.
- Social media
It’s fairly obvious, but you should be following your business idols online. The best ones are going to be offering up more free advice than you can handle. You will still need to separate the wheat from the chaff. While this is great for generating new ideas, having a hands-on business mentor will be more beneficial in the long run.
- Coworking spaces and startup hubs
These are cropping up all over, and they usually have their own events. Hop on their mailing lists and get involved. Surrounding yourself with like-minded individuals is always a good idea. Plus you’ll be the first to hear about mentorship events and when they’re happening.
- Professional development organizations
Take a look at your local listings, search around online – odds are there are already organizations set up in your area to help mentor entrepreneurs on how to run their businesses. Sometimes these are publicly funded, meaning you can get a consultation on finding an entrepreneurial business mentor without paying a dime.
- Who you already know
This is a big one. It sounds exciting and fantastic to get guidance from a big name hot-shot. However, your local community and the people you already know are actually the most vital to your growth as a business owner. As important as it is to know what to do, it is equally (if not more) important to know what not to do. Beyond that, you have probably already met successful business owners, or had the opportunity to and passed it up – don’t miss those opportunities, grab hold and don’t be afraid to ask for help.
Now get started by searching for an entrepreneurial business mentor who can help grow your business!
Making the Most of Having a Mentor
Once you have found a mentor who is willing and able to offer insight, it’s time to plan out that relationship. A good mentor is successful, and that typically means they are busy. Making effective use of their time will be essential in building a lasting relationship.
Mentors can be pivotal in two key ways: helping you navigate new terrain and helping you flesh out new ideas.
In either case, you should come to each conversation armed with your most pertinent questions. Rank these questions based on how essential they are to your project. Work through each one receiving everything your mentor has to say – listen to understand.
Mentors and Difficult Situations
You may find yourself in tricky situations where you feel there is no good option. Such a situation is the perfect time to consult your mentor.
Rather than explaining your situation, ask them how they would handle the situation. Odds are they have been in a similar circumstance. This opens up the discussion – instead of asking leading questions, your mentor will be able to provide their insight unbiased.
As you work through problems or ideas with your mentor, don’t just take notes. You need to set tasks and reminders, then actually follow up and report back your experiences to your mentor. A good mentor will want to see you succeed – it’s a rewarding part of your relationship.
As you embark on the journey of becoming an entrepreneur, having a good mentor can be the deciding factor in your success.
Getting out there, being vulnerable, and taking opportunities as they come your way will ensure that you find a valuable mentor. Managing that relationship is key to your growth, so make effective use of your time to drive results.
Interested in a mentor that can take you from 0 to 100 with passive income from a piece of digital real estate? Sirius Design Group is eager to help you become an online entrepreneur, and we will mentor you every step of the way.