Entrepreneurship offers autonomy, excitement, and the ability to build a bright, profitable future. However, entrepreneurship doesn’t come without its challenges. Entrepreneurs of small businesses often lack the internal colleagues with whom they can commiserate and bounce frustrations off of when they have problems. They may also struggle when they face challenges in areas of business where they lack experience.
Ask almost any business leader. They will admit they had mentors that helped them attain success. This isn’t serendipitous. Mentors offer concrete benefits no entrepreneur can afford to ignore.
While the internet does offer a vast amount of information, there’s no substitute for actual experience. If you’re facing a complex problem, your mentor may offer answers that aren’t online or in books and courses.
Your mentor is a trusted, reliable information source, but they’re also a third-party sounding board. They can help you determine an appropriate organizational structure, set goals for attracting investment, and help you streamline processes. However, they will also be truthful with you if they suspect your goals are too ambitious or help you see solutions or challenges you might not otherwise see on your own.
Your mentor won’t hand everything to you on a silver platter. They will challenge you to delve into issues and this may involve self-directed learning.
Yes, they will listen to your ideas, answer questions, and offer advice when requested. However, they will also expect you to solve problems and come to your own conclusions and decisions.
It’s a mistake to think that a mentor only provides access to business development contacts. Your mentor will know many people within and outside of the business environment.
Entrepreneurs must wear many hats and no one is good at everything. Sure, your mentor can help you get your foot in the door of influential people, but they may also steer you towards public speaking, financial, and marketing experts so you can overcome personal hurdles.
Entrepreneurship can be a lonely endeavour. You face the consequences of all your actions and there will undoubtedly be times when the going gets tough.
Luckily, a mentor can offer encouragement. They may share similar experiences and how they got through their business and emotional setbacks. Knowing someone’s got your back can ease the burden when you feel everything’s going wrong.
They’ll also celebrate your milestones and successes as you overcome each challenge and get closer to your dream.
Entrepreneurs decide what and when they will do things. Usually this is a good thing, but what if you hate marketing, bookkeeping, or sales? Do you put these things off until they become problems?
The mentor relationship involves setting goals and plotting the path to attain them. Each party is accountable, based on what you want to achieve. Your mentor’s focus is on keeping you on track. You focus on your deliverables.
According to a study revealed in a Forbes article, “92% of small business owners agree that mentors have a direct impact on the growth and survival of their business”. Why go against the odds, when you could benefit instead?
Kelowna Women in Business offers a mentorship program. Mentee commitment is 12 – 14 hours over a 12-week period. Please email for further information. Mentorship remains one of the most powerful ways an entrepreneur can improve their chances of success.