How A Mentor Can Help You Start And Grow Your Business

As an entrepreneur, you are tasked with endless responsibilities that pull you, mentally and physically, in every direction. It is easy to get lost in your to-do list rather than staying focused on the bigger picture. Having someone who has been in your shoes before and is willing to guide you through the ups and downs of entrepreneurship is invaluable.  

Why are mentors so important to your business? In this article, we dive into why you need one and how to find one.

Mentors Help You Set The Right Expectations

According to research, first-time entrepreneurs often go into business because they want the freedom that they believe comes with being their own boss. While technically you will be your own boss, you now have customers and/or employees relying on you. This means being open and available during set hours, meeting deadlines, and managing different personalities. 

Plus, starting a business requires long work days, and often you will be earning less per hour than you were at your “traditional” job. In order for entrepreneurs to reap the benefits of running a successful business, they need to make their business successful. This requires discipline in their daily endeavors in order to make it to the level where their business is a well-oiled machine.

Having a mentor will help you set realistic expectations on what it’s truly like to be your own boss and the amount of hours you will need to put in during the start-up phase. Not everyone is cut out to be an entrepreneur and that’s okay. The more you talk to your mentor, the sooner you will be able to decide if this path is right for you. Your career and happiness will be better for it.

Mentors Improve The Success Rate Of Your Actions

As an entrepreneur, you touch every aspect of your business from marketing to legal to accounting and everything in between. Dealing with so many areas of business can lead to tunnel vision or focusing on the wrong things at the wrong time. Entrepreneurship requires you to be thinking of the overall strategy for your business constantly.

Through years of experience, mentors know the right things to focus on and what should be outsourced or be given less of your time. They are great sounding boards and help you develop ideas or suggest strategies that you hadn’t thought of. Mentors help you remember the big picture of your business by having done it themselves in the past. Successful entrepreneurs work on their businesses and implement strategies and/or employees to work in their businesses.

Mentors Help You Build A Network For Career Success

Creating a successful business is not something that can be done solo. The entrepreneurs who build lasting businesses are also part of a community of individuals equally committed to creating their own success. 

Mentors can help you make these connections. Through their own networks, they can introduce you to other entrepreneurs, potential partners, investors, and others who can assist you with your current business and your journey as an entrepreneur.

Mentors Are Ambassadors For Your Business

Because your mentor is someone who is investing time and energy into your business, they have an emotional and intellectual investment in its success. This makes them great ambassadors for your business. They can amplify the reach of your business through their own connections and social circles.

Mentors Can Assist In Building Your Company’s Culture

If your business will require having people work with you and/or for you, establishing the type of company culture you want is essential. Your employees should feel excited to come to work with you and want to share your business with the people that they know. 

In order to build a team that meets those standards, you need to ensure you are tapping into your best management skills. Becoming a leader and a good manager of employees is not something that happens overnight, nor is it something that comes naturally to some people 

Your mentor can help you build these skills by showing you how they manage their team and suggesting resources for you.

How To Find The Right Mentor

Finding a mentor isn’t always easy, and it can be an uncomfortable journey until you find the right fit or even someone to say yes. Don’t get discouraged on your path to finding a mentor. You will encounter far more no’s than yeses when seeking a mentor.

Here are a few ways to go about finding a mentor:

Seek Out Successful Entrepreneurs

Put yourself in situations where you will be in contact with entrepreneurs that you look up to. This means volunteering for organizations, attending networking events, and participating in functions where you know potential mentors will be involved. 

Remember, your ideal mentor will have successfully started, managed, and grown a business with a positive exit event.

Be Proactive

Mentors can tell when you are passionate about your vision. They are attracted to entrepreneurs who are proactive, ready to learn, and will value their time as a mentor. Show your potential mentor that you are dedicated, willing, and eager to learn and would appreciate any assistance they can give.

Leverage LinkedIn

LinkedIn is a great source to find successful business people in your line of work. As one of the top social media platforms for professionals, it provides you with the opportunity to network with individuals across the globe who share similar connections with you. LinkedIn will drastically increase your opportunities to find a mentor.

Join a Local Entrepreneurial Community

Boone County is home to hundreds of entrepreneurs who have been in your shoes, either just starting on their path to entrepreneurship or working to figure out how to grow their business. Throughout the years, BCDA has played a part in many of their journeys. We are happy to facilitate introductions for you if you have a specific mentor in mind. 

We strongly encourage all entrepreneurs to join BCDA’s Emerging Leaders Academy. This high-quality leadership training puts you in the same room as your peers across the county and is an excellent chance to start building your network. Throughout this program, you will learn about your leadership style, how to develop it, and how to use it when working with a team.

Final Thoughts

When seeking a mentor, remember that you want someone who has been in a similar position as you are now and has reached a level of success that you find inspiring. Be careful of who you take business advice from when starting your entrepreneurial journey. The path to finding a mentor may not be easy, but the right mentor can have a large impact on your business success.