Let's go back in time to high school or college days. Did you ever have a mentor who was responsible for "showing you the ropes"?
They may have given you advice on the best classes to take, where to eat lunch or which teachers gave the least homework. No matter what age you are, having a mentor can benefit you, especially if you are a business owner or entrepreneur. Are you still unsure? We’ve outlined a handful of benefits to having a business mentor below.
- Little to No Cost. Budgeting is key for businesses and while professional coaching services are awesome, they can also be quite expensive. Luckily, most mentors are free and may only cost you the price of lunch or coffee when you meet up. If your mentor is giving you free advice, it’s always nice to treat them to a meal or a beverage.
- Advice from Experience. As a new business owner, you are just wading out in the business world and are most likely in need of some guidance and expert advice. A mentor has been in your shoes and can help steer you in the right direction. While books on entrepreneurship are great, nothing replaces the personal advice you can receive from a mentor.
- A Sounding Board. Do you have a lot of ideas and are not sure where to start? Mentors can help with that too! Your mentor can offer you a fresh perspective on the ideas and issues you are dealing with. While they have been in your shoes as a new business owner, they also are not as involved in your business as you are. Bounce your ideas off them and get their opinion on what they think will work or not work. Knowing you are not alone and having someone to lean on is a definite benefit of having a mentor.
- Networking Opportunities. One of the most powerful tools in your business owner toolbox is your network, and your mentor can help you start and expand your network. Most likely, your mentor is already plugged into entrepreneurial networking groups or has recommendations for the groups and people you could be networking with. In addition, most of the business conducted today is based on recommendations from word of mouth. Your mentor is already invested in you and will most likely recommend you to their network.
Now that we’ve discussed the benefits of having a mentor, you are probably wondering where to find a mentor. Often, local chambers of commerce or networking organizations offer mentorship programs. Groups or trade organizations related to your industry may also have suggestions for entrepreneurs or new business owner mentorship programs. Alternatively, you may make a connection on your own with someone who you feel could be a good mentor for you. In these organic situations, do not be afraid to reach out to that person and ask if they would be willing to mentor you. You will never know until you ask!
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