5 Ways A Good Mentor Can Help You Become A Better Entrepreneur
It’s no secret that the greatest entrepreneurs of our age were mentored at the early stages of their businesses. You might recognize some of them. The likes of Mark Zuckerberg (Facebook, now Meta) and Larry Page (Google co-founder) received mentorship from Steve Jobs and Eric Schmidt, respectively. As such, we can assume a mentor can help you become a better entrepreneur.
But how exactly? A mentor is a person you can trust and seek advice on specific topics. While a mentor is almost synonymous with the entrepreneurial world, that doesn’t have to be the case. But when starting your entrepreneurial journey, a mentor can offer so much value. As such, young and aspiring entrepreneurs should get in the habit of seeking a mentor to become better at starting and running their businesses.
Here are the five ways a good mentor can help you become a better entrepreneur.
1. A Mentor Teaches You About Entrepreneurship
When first starting a business, there are plenty of uncertainties. Even more so, you’re entering into something you have no experience in whatsoever. You might have a brilliant idea but lack the knowledge to monetize it. A mentor can help with that by teaching you all there is to know about entrepreneurship.
This person will give you the ins and outs of what it means to be a business owner. They will offer advice on specific topics and give their two cents about your business. You can confide in this person and discuss topics related to your business. Simply said, a mentor will be with you on your way to the top.
A mentor is so crucial for entrepreneurs that 71% of Fortune 500 companies have mentorship programs. By passing down previous experiences, these companies make it possible for aspiring entrepreneurs to come up the company ranks and eventually run the company. More so, 89% of mentees will go on mentoring others. So in a sense, these companies make it a habit to “develop” in-house executives and run the business more efficiently.
Considering that most mentees are inexperienced entrepreneurs, a mentor will teach you about being an entrepreneur.
2. A Mentor Offers A Different Perspective
Mentorship is a noble cause. Throughout your time as a business owner, you’ll face an untold number of problems that could potentially destroy your business. What better way to navigate the dangerous sea of the business world than by seeking a mentor?
One of the biggest challenges new business owners face is a lack of funding. This challenge is so difficult that 38% of businesses fail because of it. While other problems are equally challenging, what you need to do is look at each problem from a different perspective. That’s precisely what a mentor offers.
It’s no secret that business mentors are more experienced than you are. They have done it and look to offer their wealth of knowledge and experience to aspiring entrepreneurs. With an abundance of experience also comes an ability to look at each situation from a different perspective. If you have trouble raising capital, a mentor will help you understand the issue and provide a different outlook.
3. A Mentor Helps You Improve Your Business Skills
A business mentor isn’t necessarily interested in your business. While the goal is to succeed, a mentor will look to improve your business skills, rather than the business itself. Business skills are essential when running a company. You might have excellent business skills, or terrible. Let’s say you’re an excellent problem solver, but a terrible leader. You’re constantly at odds with your employees, who tell you that they don’t understand your directions.
A mentor can help you improve your leadership skills to make it easier to communicate with your employees. Everyone knows that the employees are the heart and soul of the company. So a mentor will teach you how to manage employees and be a better leader. Leadership and problem solving are just two business skills every aspiring entrepreneur must have. Like any other skill you’re lacking, a mentor will work with you to make you a better entrepreneur.
4. A Mentor Expands Your Network
Nowadays, networking is just as important as doing your taxes. Having people to help with problems can be extremely valuable. In business, the more contacts you have, the more people you can turn to when trying to solve a problem. A good mentor has an unlimited network of people that can help your career. Let’s say your company needs to improve its marketing. A mentor might have an aspiring digital marketer who happened to be looking for job employment. This person might be the solution to your marketing problems.
But a mentor doesn’t only recommend people to solve a problem. All the contacts in your mentor’s Rolodex effectively become yours. You can get in touch with these people, grab a coffee, discuss business, and benefit one another. By seeking a mentor, you’re not only getting the benefit of one-on-one sessions. You’re getting access to people from many industries that can benefit your journey to becoming a great entrepreneur.
However, you shouldn’t rely on your mentor’s network of contacts. While they become valuable assets, you should start building your own network. A mentor is the first person that goes into your network. You will need to learn how to build a network of professional individuals through time.
5. A Mentor Will Help You Survive
As mentioned previously, being a first-time business owner means going into uncharted territory. You might’ve read hundreds of articles on the subject, but your personal experiences aren’t comparable with others. You will face unique challenges and obstacles that require a hands-on-deck approach. Chances are, some of these challenges will keep you awake at night for days.
A mentor will support you through the most difficult times. They will offer support and advice since they’ve gone through a similar experience. By offering a different perspective for each obstacle, a mentor will help you survive the difficulties. When in these situations, it’s not uncommon to doubt yourself. Entrepreneurs will always have second doubts about what they’re doing. But self-belief is what will get you through the tough times. A mentor will instill a sense of self-belief and guide you.
At the end of the day, you’re still the person in charge, and you’ll be making the final decisions. A mentor is simply a rock that understands what you’re going through. Once you overcome the challenges and obstacles, you will become a better entrepreneur.
How To Find A Good Mentor?
With all that said, how do you find a good mentor? A good mentor will make all the difference between making it and failing. Remember the networking part? One of the best ways to find a mentor is by networking. There are so many mentors looking for aspiring mentees. But to find them, you need to make yourself visible. One way to do that is by networking hard. Becoming great in networking takes dedication and commitment. So, here is how to do it.
Start With Your Personal Network
If you already have a network of contacts, there isn’t an easier place to start. During your time as an entrepreneur, you’ll come across different individuals. These individuals might be looking for a mentee themselves. In many cases, the best mentors are the successful people you know. But don’t think that they will be the right fit for you. Your goals as an entrepreneur need to align with theirs.
To find a good mentor, you need to show the person that you are worthy of their time. First and foremost, a mentor willingly gives up their free time to help you advance your career. So you need to ask yourself, do you even want it? Most importantly, are you showing it? If you’re not showing that you’re hungry, why would the mentor give up their free time to help you?
In the beginning, you’re solely dependent on the generosity of this person. But that’s only because you’re not showing them how hungry you are. You need to prove to the mentor that you have what it takes to succeed, that you want to learn, and that you’re fully committed to doing so. But before you prove it to the mentor, you need to prove it to yourself.
If you don’t believe in that, then neither will the mentor. It’s a common misconception that you need a mentor to start your entrepreneurial journey. That couldn’t be further from the truth. You need to show that you are a worthy candidate for them. A mentor takes great pride in a successful mentee. So you need to be hungry and show them you are a person that someone wants to mentor.
That concludes our list of the five ways a good mentor can help you become a better entrepreneur. We’ve also given you two tips on how to find a good mentor to help pave the way for success. As always, a business mentor won’t solve all problems that life throws at you. But one thing they can do is help you become a better entrepreneur.