When you’re in the day-to-day of running your business and fighting fires, it can be hard to keep your eye on the big picture and focus on your goals. Mentoring can help with this and in fact, your business has a much higher chance of succeeding if you have a mentor than if you don’t. A mentor can help to keep your business on track, challenge your strategy and support you with making tough decisions – all geared towards helping you grow your business. Here are the benefits of mentoring and how you can find yours…
What are the benefits of mentoring for business owners?
When you’ve got your head in the detail and dealing with running the show, it can be hard to step outside of it all and look at things objectively. That’s where a mentor can help you with bringing a new perspective to the table. They can help guide you through difficult decisions through giving you a point of view that comes from a place that’s not caught up in the detail yet still comes from a place of experience.
Brings a wealth of experience
You want a mentor who has more experience than you in your industry or has subject matter expertise that you may be lacking. Ideally your mentor has trodden your path before and can understand what you’re going through. They’ve most likely had successes and failures along the way. The knowledge and guidance can save you a lot of heartbreak along your journey, as they can help you navigate your way around the challenges they’ve already experienced.
Connects and open doors
Great mentors are great connectors. They will want to introduce you to the right people to open doors for your business, connecting you to the appropriate people when you need them such as investors and customers. A mentor should always be thinking about who they can introduce you to that can help to grow your business. Consider having more than one mentor is a good idea as you can draw on different types of experience and gain different perspectives and the more connections, the better.
So how do business owners find a mentor?
Start with who you know
Start by looking at who you know. You can search through your own network on LinkedIn or write down a list of people you’ve met and admired. Reach out to them to meet up and let them know that you’re seeking their expert opinion or advice. If there’s a good connection when you catch up, then formally ask them if they would be interested in being your mentor. Be clear on why you think they would be valuable to your business.
Ask for recommendations
Ask your network for recommendations for a mentor. They may know someone who wants to provide business advice and lend their industry expertise. Every connection has the potential to lead to something else, so asking people to connect you to potential mentors can only lead to new opportunities.
Research mentoring services
There are formal mentoring services such as those offered through local and state governments or small business mentoring service. It’s important you find someone you connect with, so be sure to work out what you want to get out of mentoring and set that expectation up front.
Once you have a mentor, make sure you prepare for your first meeting. Do your research on their background and work out key areas you want to focus on. Value their time by starting and finishing on time, preparing for meetings and following up. The more productive these sessions are, the more they will want to keep giving.
Great mentoring will open doors, set direction and help you achieve your goals. Get started now.
Originally published February 19 2017 , updated April 27 2017