Novel entrepreneurs have many business ideas but zero confidence to implement these ideas in a timely manner. This is where a mentor comes in. He/she will play a key role in building confidence in the concerned entrepreneur and his business. They help a business owner succeed. However, both the mentor and mentee is terms of experience. As per the survey by The UPS Store, conducted in 2014, 70 percent of the small enterprises that had a mentor survived longer than five years. This is double the survival rate of a business that was non-mentored. The same survey also revealed that 88 percent of the small business owners agree that having a mentor is important for the progress of the business.
According to W.Kenneth Yancy, CEO of SCORE, a non-profit mentoring and business counselling organization,
” A mentor can help navigate the complex challenges that often come with being a business owner, and the guidance from someone who has been there themselves can be a real asset.”
Advantages of having a mentor:
- Adviser and life coach- A great mentor is a valuable resource to any business. He or she may have the expertise to guide you in and help you to take the business to the next level. Common mistakes and pitfalls that can be a business disaster can be avoided. A good mentor will be able to help you draw your learning curve.
- Support system- A mentor can aspire you to push yourself to give your best to the business. He/she would act as a support system for your business by motivating and counselling you when you are facing a crisis.
- A sounding board- Every new entrepreneur is bound to make mistakes. Every idea you put forward need not be great. Discuss your ideas with your mentor and do not hesitate to ask for his lucid opinions. Talking about your ideas with your mentor can help better your ideas and also make the required changes in the business.
- Makes networking easier- A greater mentor has decades of experience and he makes use of this to mentor you. Along with the experiences, mentor also has a vast network that he must have procured over the decades. These connections can be valuable to your business.
Engaging The Right Advisor:
- Choose a mentor or an advisor based on his area of expertise- It’s a fact that it’s not possible to hire advisor for every need. Instead, hire a mentor for those areas where you lack confidence and require advice of an expert.
- Tell the mentor about your expectations up front- When you hire an advisor or a mentor, you need to put it into writing the frequency of phone calls, meetings and number of hours that you expect the mentor to put aside for your needs. Also mention the compensation, and the expenses that you would meet.
- Have an exit strategy in place- Mentoring is a two-way street. However, if you are not happy with the mentoring methodology of the mentor or if a mentor flakes out or is simply too busy to help, it’s in the best interest of your business to define the terms and conditions when either you or your mentor decides it’s not working out.
You need to choose your advisor wisely to ensure that they are productive to you and your enterprise. As a small business owner you should a mentor for the right reasons, engage, manage, and utilize them consistently.