No matter whether your business is a start-up or has been in the industry for years, everyone can benefit from having a good mentor. As we become more experienced business owners, we may feel that we don’t need mentors any more; what we fail to realize however is that there will most probably always be someone more experienced than us. This means that there will always be something to improve on and something which we can learn from someone with more knowledge and more experience.
Statistics to Look At
There was a study conducted recently by the UPS Store which perfectly proves this point. Granted the study was aimed mostly at small business owners, but there are some very important statistics which we can take a look at. For example the study indicates that 88% of business owners would say a mentor is “invaluable”. In addition to this, the majority of small business owners that have a mentor survive for at least 5 years. This proves that a good mentor can be a huge advantage to your business whether your a start-up or a highly experienced entrepeneur.
Delving Deep in to the Industry
So it’s clear that mentors are invaluable especially for start-ups; however it could definitely be argued that they are even more important when it comes to a more mature business. This is because as our business gets more developed and we start to take on new ventures, we come across obstacles which we haven’t experienced before. When you have a start-up these obstacles are generic, there will be an abundance of people who have been through these, and you can easily overcome the obstacle with a bit of research. As we delve deeper into our industry however, we come across things that can’t be solved as easily, so a good mentor can be a huge asset as they can guide us through difficult periods or help us plan for future development and growth.
What Qualities Does a Good Mentor Have?
Realizing that you need a mentor is only half of the battle, the next half being that you have to find a good mentor who has all the qualities needed to take your businesses to the next level. A picturesque smile and great charisma just isn’t enough, you need to find a mentor who has been in your position, or a similar one, before. Now that your business is more advanced and dealing with more complex solutions to your clients’ problems, you need to find a mentor who has dealt with the same difficulties which you are trying to overcome.
Above all, ensure that your mentor is easy to work with, as it’s difficult to take advice from a person whom we don’t like. Your mentor doesn’t necessarily have to be in the same industry as you but it would definitely help if they are in a related industry, for example if your business is a manufacture of gym equipment, finding a person who has been a mentor to sports supplement companies may be a good fit. The chemistry and the philosophy have to fit. It’s no good employing someone who is, ofr example, not interested in being a good corporate citizen, if that is a very important aspect of your own business philiosophy. On the other hand, if you find someone who’s ideas are an exact match with your own – what is that person bringin gto the party that’s new and fresh?
In conclusion, there are many reasons why experienced business owners can benefit from having a good mentor, and mentors aren’t only useful for start-up companies.
A mentor can hold your hand in a way that say, your board or your bank manager can’t. It’s a more personal relationship, it’s about you and your company, your hopes, fears and dreams, your own strengths and weaknesses, things that you wouldn’t want to reveal to just anyone. This trusting relationship can be worth its weight in gold, both professionally and personally.