A mentor is someone who is as invested in the success of your venture as you are. A business has many assets, and having a mentor by your side in your entrepreneurial journey is also one of them. The knowledge gained from years of experience, invaluable insights and industry know-how that mentors bring with them makes an entrepreneur more confident and motivated.
When starting a new venture, you are bound to be confused and curious. Books and the internet might not always have the answers to your questions. There are a few things that only years of experience can teach us. A mentor brings in the experience element to the business. Here are seven reasons why you should have a mentor to guide you in your journey –
1. Receive expert feedback: A mentor can provide you with the answers to your questions directly and clarify issues of concern. Being a young entrepreneur, receiving feedback from a mature and successful mentor will be extremely valuable for you.
2. Higher chance of business success: It is proven by research and surveys that having a mentor is vital to success. Mentorship gives the entrepreneur access to knowledge on what to do and what not to do. Valuable connections, pieces of advice and intelligence, along with the Emotional quotient provided by the mentor, will help you succeed.
3. Networking Opportunities: A mentor brings in a wealth of valuable contacts from their sectors. These contacts will help an entrepreneur build a strong network of professionals. If your network believes in your company, they will recommend it to others as well. That’s why investors usually put the most trust in companies recommended by friends.
4. Business Longevity: A mentor will help you stay in business longer. A mentor motivates the team and steers them towards focusing on their responsibilities and the ultimate goal. According to the Small Business Administration, 70 percent of mentored businesses last longer than five years.
5. Encouragement: Having a mentor in hard times is a blessing. Many young entrepreneurs go through depression when they fail to meet their goals and expectations, and entrepreneurs without mentors bear the brunt the most.
A mentor who has faced the ups and downs of running a business can give that ray of optimism to you when things go haywire. They would also provide ideas that will help you navigate your way to success. The encouragement that mentors offer can be a catalyst that inspires an entrepreneur towards taking the necessary steps to establish a robust and successful enterprise.
Where to look for a mentor?
Finding a mentor can be a daunting task. There are many places where you can search for a mentor. The most basic ones are –
1. Local networking events: Such events are hosted to connect startup founders and investors. You can attend such events or conferences for a specific industry that you serve or general ones too.
2. Professional and business associations: There are many professional or trade associations that you can join by taking a membership. The members of such associations are usually seasoned professionals in their industry who have been selected after a thorough screening process.
3. Family and friends: Have you approached your friends and family circle? Someone in your family might be a successful entrepreneur, or might know someone who is. You can easily build such connections that will help you in the long run.
4. Social media: Professional social media websites LinkedIn or Twitter are also a good place to find mentors. You should not neglect your personal network. These platforms are a great place to connect with other professionals and potential mentors.
Apart from the above ‘obvious’ tips to look for a mentor, there are also few websites that do just that –
1. GrowthMentor: GrowthMentor is a vetted mentorship platform designed for you to easily connect with seasoned growth marketing veterans. The mentors are carefully selected out of a huge number of applicants. The platform claims to accept less than 10% of the applications to ensure high standards. A number of mentors offer their time for free, and the paid ones charge a lower amount (US$ 20–50 per hour).
2. SCORE: SCORE is a part of the U.S. Small Business Association, that is dedicated to connecting small businesses with volunteer mentors. These mentors can be active and retired executives or entrepreneurs across 62 industries. SCORE has 300 chapters across the country. You can connect with a local mentor to meet in person, or set up video or email relationships.
3. Clarity: Clarity is an online mentorship platform where mentees can book calls with mentors for a specific duration. The mentee is pre-charged for the requested mentorship time. The sessions are conducted via telephone, as the final price is calculated on a per-minute basis.
4. MicroMentor: It is an open community of more than 25,000 mentors and 70,000 mentees that matches and connects entrepreneurs and mentors. Anyone can become a mentor or mentee on the platform, making the network accessible to micro, small and growing businesses. The company aims to overcome geographical limitations and deliver business resources to underserved communities around the globe through mentoring.
After you have chosen your mentor, remain respectful of their time and stay engaged. If you wish to gain the most out of it, stay invested in the partnership and keep seeking their advice on a regular basis.
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