Simple definition of a mentor: A wise and trusted guide.
Why is Having a Mentor Important to New Business Owners?
When you work for someone else your job is somewhat finite. You are hired to do a job based on your strongest skills and experience. A job description spells out what you are supposed to do and how to do it. If you have questions or troubles you have a boss to go to.
Most companies even provide some sort of training or orientation program for new employees to help get them started. And best of all, you have a predictable source of income.
When you work for yourself you do not have a boss to turn to or even co-workers to discuss ideas with. Your job description changes as the needs of the business change. There is no one to train you and no matter how smart you are or how many skills you have you find you always need to learn something new.
A mentor has “been there, done that," and having already walked in your shoes as a new business owner, mentors can be very good at seeing beyond the day-to-day workings of your business and may be better able to predict where you are heading. A mentor can save you time and trouble and help you to get your business off to a solid start.
What Does a Mentor Do?
A mentor should guide you, and offer constructive ideas about how you might do things differently. A mentor should not take over your business challenges from you but should help you develop goals and strategies to overcome problems.
A mentor’s job is not to make you feel good about yourself but to help you see others ways of doing things. A mentor gives advice; you have to choose whether or not to follow it – if you are not interested in listening don’t waste a mentor’s time.
Mentor relationships are usually formal, limited to business issues and not intended to be ongoing relationships. A mentor will try to help you solve problems and answer business questions so before you meet with your mentor make a list of questions, ideas you want to discuss, or problems you are having.
Mentors volunteer their time so show respect – listen, don’t argue – and be sure to follow-up with a personal thank you note.
Take Our Poll: Do You Have a Business Mentor?
- Yes, another business professional.
- Yes, a friend or family member.
- Yes, and I am also a mentor for someone else.
- No, I am doing fine on my own.
- No, but I would love to have one.
- No, but I am a mentor for another business professional.