Why having a mentor is important for entrepreneurs

 

Mentor. We see and hear the word all the time. For many people, the word has no effect on them because a mentor may not be of interest to them. I, however, always encourage others to identify a mentor. So many of the individuals that inspire us in our businesses and careers had or have a mentor. As a small business owner, I recognize the significance of a mentor in my entrepreneur journey. In fact, I currently have two mentors, one specific to my background in writing and public relations and one that has a background in business. Both have been instrumental in my growth as an entrepreneur and they have also been guides as I journey through life as a new small business owner. I truly have a strong belief that mentors really are an incredible asset to an entrepreneur. 

1.    Building a strong network
As a new small business owner, my clients are primarily referral based. Thankfully, my mentors have referred several clients and projects to me to build my business’ database, as well as my portfolio. Successful mentors have not only effectively built their brand and business but they have also created numerous relationships that have essentially turned into their network. People tend to trust the referrals from people they know, so your mentor allowing you to utilize their network for referral sources will be a major win for you and your business.

2.    Gain professional experience
I’ve taken classes, e-courses and read books to build upon my professional experience. While I have received great ideas and important resources, my experience has grown from all I’ve learned from my mentors. What I have learned from them is invaluable, something I couldn’t have received from books or courses. One major reason is because they allowed me to work with them on projects to develop my experience and my portfolio. The hands-on experience has been and continues to be a key piece to my growth as an entrepreneur.

3.     Your business is more likely to survive with a mentor
Studies show that businesses that receive mentoring are more likely to survive than those that don’t. In a survey from the UPS Store, 70 percent of small businesses that receive mentoring survive more than five years, which is double the years of those that don’t. You and your business have a greater chance of survival when you have the support of a mentor.

4.    It’s your work with your mentor’s support
It took me a few years to decide I wanted to become a small business owner. Mostly, it was fear and worry because I had no idea where to start or if I could really do. Once I solidified my mentors, it made my journey to becoming an entrepreneur much more achievable. I knew they would not do the work for me or even make decisions for me because it was my business. What they did, however, was guide me through major decisions and support me as I worked through them. My mentors also provide their insight on my ideas for my business, helping me to avoid costly and long-term mistakes. Even though my business is just that, my business, having my mentors’ support has helped me to make better business decisions.

Becoming a business owner is a major decision and running your business takes dedication and commitment. An experienced mentor that can help you navigate through the process is invaluable and will have lasting positive effects if a mentor is utilized appropriately.

So today, check your networks, create your list and find you a mentor. You won’t regret it!