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The Importance of Business Mentors
  • 18 October 2016
  • Elvis Michael

The Importance of Business Mentors

Unbeknownst to many, some of the biggest entrepreneurs in the world have relied on a mentor for ongoing guidance, including the likes of Richard Branson and Bill Gates. Even if you have a respectable understanding of your target market, a mentor is often crucial to your personal and professional growth. Mentors can serve as a beacon of light into your life and guide your business to new grounds, helping you succeed in ways you never thought possible.

Experience

Experience is obtained in one of two ways: by making mistakes firsthand or by learning from the mistakes of others. While you are never truly free from potential failure, a mentor can increase your chances of success thanks to their wisdom, knowledge, and insight. This person is there to show you the ropes and help you prevent mistakes you might otherwise fall victim to.

Highlighting Hurdles

Regardless of your experience, there are always certain skills you could improve. This is sometimes the toughest step for both mentors and business owners to overcome, as many are accustomed to performing their job a certain way. A mentor can see your blind spots. Seek wisdom and be open to feedback. You may even add to their experience through the hurdles the two of you face along the way.

Solidify Your Strengths

Eliminating your weaknesses will allow you to zero in on your strengths and help your small business thrive. In some cases, talent is practically useless without the help of a great mentor. An emerging singer can clearly have talent, but a vocal coach can sharpen natural skills and bring the artist's career to a new level. Likewise, a mentor can assist in enhancing your strengths and bring out hidden or unknown traits in the process.

Greater Social Networking

Thanks to years of experience, a mentor will often have a vast network and know many businesspeople in your field. They can connect you with key players and make introductions. This will expand your social network in the event of a satisfactory working relationship. In addition, a mentor can open the doors to potential business partners and customers. Because you come personally recommended, the mentor's connections will most likely be much more receptive compared to if you introduced yourself on your own.

A Fruitful Working Relationship

A great aspect about mentorship is the fact that a mentor does not have an ulterior motive other than your success. There is no catch or hidden agenda. Seeing eye to eye forms a foundation built on trust. In time, business planning becomes more efficient as your mentor grows more acquainted with your goals and ambitions, often leading to a strong friendship along the way.

Honesty

With a good friendship and professional relationship comes honesty—and sometimes this can hurt. Understand you may not always be in agreement with your mentor, but remember that their primary objective is to be your teacher. While a friend might tell you what you want to hear, it's a mentor's job to tell you what you need to hear. They may occasionally push you during frustrating or difficult situations, but only because they want to see you succeed and are genuinely interested in what you can achieve.

A Mentor Is (Usually) Free

Mentors are typically happy to give back to others and the community by lending their expertise at no cost. Organizations like SCORE—Service Corps of Retired Executives—can connect you with the person who best matches your needs and target market. While this might be favorable to some, your business may be more suited for other highly reliable coaching services depending on your overall goals.

Though your small business could certainly thrive without the added assistance, a mentor's extensive education and experience can help you become far more successful in the long run.

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