For any entrepreneur getting into a new venture the learning curve associated with it can usually be a difficult one, especially for those new to entrepreneurship. You’re pretty much guaranteed to accumulate many failed attempts until you eventually get it right. As an aspiring entrepreneur, I understand there is much for me to learn but so little time to gain the knowledge and experience I need. Although failures can prove beneficial in providing us the knowledge necessary to be successful, many times the time and money spent can be discouraging. If only there was a shortcut that could not only save you time in the long run, but maybe even ease financial woes and heartache…
That shortcut is a mentor.
What is a Mentor?
The Balance describes a mentor as someone with more entrepreneurial business experience than you who serves as a trusted confidante over an extended period of time, usually free of charge.
Why is a Mentor Beneficial?
Mentors have the knowledge and experience needed to get you started and on your way to success, and can save you time and money from repeating the same mistakes they have. They provide guidance, helpful feedback, and have the benefits of an established network you could tap into. The Balance’s “The Value of a Business Mentor” expands on these points and gives five reasons why they believe having a mentor is important.
- Since you’re the boss, there is no one you can turn to for guidance and questions. A mentor can be that for you
- Mentors have the battle scars to prove their service on the entrepreneurial battlefield, and can lessen the trauma when you go into combat
- It’s usually free. Who doesn’t love free?
- Mentors typically have an established network of other entrepreneurs that you can tap into and connect with
- Mentors’ main objective is to help and guide you to your destination, and can be a great support system in the process
When Should You Get a Mentor?
Last week would be the most correct answer, but as soon as possible is also a great choice. The earlier in the startup phase you can find a mentor the earlier you can begin reaping the rewards of having one. You’ll wish you had someone who could have advised you not to order that 30-foot banner until you were 100% positive there would be no name change in your corner.
Where Can You Find a Mentor?
Finding a mentor isn’t exactly the easiest thing to do but if you’re immersed in your local entrepreneurial community odds are you already know of a great candidate. You just have to ask. For those whose network isn’t quite as filled out there are alternatives. Alison Doyle, author of “How to Find a Career Mentor” suggests these tips:
Tips for Finding a Good Mentor
- Research the field and find out about the people who are in it.
- Create a list of people who seem like good fits with you
- Start contacting them slowly at first – a polite and formal email, for example – and see who responds.
- Try to form a relationship, and get to know their personalities even as you try to exhibit yours. Like so many other things, when you find the right mentor, you’ll know it.
Whether you realize it or not, having a mentor can make or break your chance of survival in the initial startup process and prove vital in those tough to call moments. Not only can a mentor save you time and money, but mentors can get you involved and acquainted to your local entrepreneurial community. Gaining a connection with someone who has the same passion of owning and creating their own future not only helps your business grow, but helps you blossom into the best entrepreneur you can be.
Note: Mentorship is a two-way street. Make sure you’re someone people want to mentor.
Until next time,