Javed Khan, A 22-year-old young entrepreneur , used to be a pizza boy at Dominos in Hackney East London. His father was a minicab driver and he lost his three close friends in knife crime at a very young age. He says,” It was my father’s entrepreneurial spirit that led me to believe there was more in life than this, and the graft was in myself, I had to do this alone.”
Javed says a business mentor is someone with more entrepreneurial business experience than you who serves as a trusted confidante over an extended period of time, usually free of charge. Does this sound a little too good to be true? Well, first and foremost, being a business mentor to an up-and-coming entrepreneur is a great way of giving back to their community, and to society at large when their advice and guidance can have a measurable impact helping their mentees. Would-be successful business owners need assistance from others who have an intimate knowledge of how business works. Many small business owners try to get that information from business books and classes.
While these can be helpful on their own, they are more helpful alongside business mentoring. Many business mentors may advise people in order to develop their skills as a teacher, manager, strategist, or consultant. And a true mentorship relationship also works in both directions—your mentor gets to learn about new ideas, strategies, and tactics from you, just as you’ll learn timeless wisdom from them. A great mentor is someone who offers objective advice, provides counsel from a fresh perspective, is willing to collaborate, listen and learn, as well as helping you stay focused on your goals, your purpose and what you’re working so hard to achieve.
Finding a mentor is an investment in your business and your personal development. You will avoid common industry pitfalls, excel over your competition and develop important connections. Hopefully, the skills you learn as a mentee will allow your business to flourish, so someday you can pay it forward.
Asking Questions and Getting Advice
The biggest benefit of having a business mentor is having someone you can ask questions and get advice. As a new business owner, you are likely to get more advice than you ask for from people like family members, friends and the people who own the store next door.
Improving Key Skills
Mentors are not like advisers and consultants, who care only about the business venture. Instead, business mentors help you develop your business skills. For example, if your employees are constantly complaining that they don’t understand project directions, your business mentor can work with you to help you improve how you communicate with your staff.
Cultivate community to really succeed
Entrepreneurs often reference their hustle and grind, in which sleep is a luxury and working all hours is the norm. However, this is a huge mistake for long-term success.
It’s important to be surrounded by like-minded individuals to truly grow your business and achieve your goals. If you don’t have anyone to bounce ideas off of, you’ll get stuck in an echo chamber. Being around other, more experienced entrepreneurs will inspire you to achieve your dreams, instead of that empty “hustle” that many entrepreneurs constantly find themselves striving for.
Expanding Your Network
Business mentors can put you in touch with contacts who can help you make your business more successful. The more networking you do, the more people you meet. And the more people you meet, the greater the odds are that you will have someone in your rolodex who can help you solve business problems. For example, your business mentor may introduce you to another of his mentees, an award-winning recent college grad who is looking for an entry level position in web design.
Mentors. They’ve been there, done that and have seen it all. Yet, a woeful number of entrepreneurs start their careers without one. In an age where instant gratification is glorified, it’s unsurprising that many entrepreneurs and young founders do not seek out a mentor as hard as they try to find a co-founder.
While arguments abound on why entrepreneurs do not need mentors but should only follow their own instincts and gut feelings, most successful tech titans have founders who had mentors.
In reality, finding an appropriate mentor is not as problematic as recognizing the need for their guidance! If you don’t already have one – now is a good time to reach out.