The Importance of Having a Mentor to Help Grow Your Business
Mentors play a key role in helping teach entrepreneurs about themselves and their businesses. Having a mentor will help business owners avoid common startup mistakes, run a lean operation, set goals, and master the art of running a company. More often than not, I’ve found that established entrepreneurs love to share their knowledge and experience with other entrepreneurs. Mentors find teaching and helping others a rewarding task, which is why it is much easier than you think to go out and find a great mentor for yourself. If your business is in need of a boost when it comes to mentoring, you may want to start looking for the best mentoring software. This way, you can improve your business' mentoring system easily, and without stress.
I often wonder why you wouldn’t have a mentor. Really, why wouldn’t you want to have someone who has been around the block to help with advice, goal setting, and making you a better person? It’s like having a free chairman of the board for your company or someone to bounce ideas off and act as a “Life Line” to your business. Since starting with my mentor, I’ve learned so much about myself and how to run a business. I am learning everyday and feel so fortunate to have someone helping me along the way. Don’t feel intimidated to ask for help and advice. We all could benefit from having a mentor; I know I certainly have.
My mentoring experience began 5 years ago as a senior in college. A prominent business owner and donor to the University of Nebraska invited some of the Entrepreneurship students over for dinner. The man owned a successful nationally franchised business, traveled the world, and was to the point where he gave a lot of his time and money to help others. About a week after the dinner, I called him up and asked if he’d have the time to grab some dinner and talk about entrepreneurship. He immediately said yes and our mentoring relationship began.
The first meeting went very well and we both were excited to be learning from each other. I tried to take the bill to pay for dinner, but he said he wanted to pay and that I could someday do the same for my mentee. In addition to all the great ideas and advice he gave, the network he is connected with has proven invaluable. My mentor has been a great resource for me over the years and I continue to work with him over the phone, via Skype, and in person when we are able to meet up.
So how do you find a mentor? Great question. Get out a notebook and start brainstorming about businesses you admire or people you look up to. Create a list of these people and start trying to find contact information. If you don’t know them personally, get on Google and see if you can find an email address or home phone number. Try connecting with them via LinkedIn or Facebook. If they’ve written a book you can often find an email address toward the back. Tell them about your entrepreneurial track, commend them on their success, and play the “entrepreneur card.” You’ll get to talking and can then ask if they’d be willing to become your mentor.
In addition to seeking a mentor on your own, there are often local organizations that are great for networking and meeting your future mentor. Try out your local Chamber of Commerce Business After Hours, Young Professionals Group, and research local organizations that help small businesses such as S.C.O.R.E. The organizations know the importance of mentoring and provide help for matching mentors with mentees.
Once you are paired with a mentor, take them out for lunch or grab coffee to start learning about each other. You’ll want to pick their brain and see what works for their schedule for future meetings. Discuss how often you’d like to meet so you both have ideas of the time commitment involved. More often than not, the mentor will be able to meet a few times a month and the relationship will really help you both as a person and with your business.
For those of you who would like to become mentors, finding a mentee can be done in much the same way. Seek out entrepreneurs and businesses in the community that you are interested in and think you could help out. Get involved in business organizations or contact them to learn more about their mentoring programs. I am involved with the mentoring program through the Bozeman Young Professionals Group and we are always looking for mentors to help out with our program.
In my experience, the mentor and mentee both learn and benefit from each other. I’ve been able to teach my mentor about the online side of things and technology that I’ve grown up with. Mentors have given me more free knowledge and wisdom than I know what to do with. I think mentoring programs are rewarding and would highly recommend that you look into finding a mentor or becoming one. If you are not interested in mentoring on a business level, consider mentoring programs such as Big Brothers Big Sisters.
Volunteering your time to be a mentor or becoming a mentee will be rewarding, and the experience and knowledge gained will indefinitely be helpful in your journey through life. Thanks for taking the time to read my article and good luck finding a mentor or becoming a mentor. You will love it!