Is it essential to have a mentor? If so, how can I find one and what help should I expect?
The practical advice and guidance a mentor can offer is priceless. Not only can they help you avoid business hiccups, they can share words of wisdom that are invaluable, be your stirrup during struggles and share your happiness and excitement during good times. They’ve been there, done that and got the T-shirt and have a wealth of knowledge for you to tap into. All in all, a mentor could be your saviour.
Mentorship is becoming more and more accessible and recognised within entrepreneurial circles these days. This is because we finally understand the importance and impact a mentor can have on aspiring business owners.
Starting up is a long process, full of highs and lows. I’ve failed many times in business – and each failure taught me a valuable lesson and enabled me to hone my knowledge and learn from my mistakes. This set me on the right path and gave me the grounding I needed to succeed. Collectively it is important to share these lessons of failure to try and steer entrepreneurs and small business owners away from the same pitfalls. This is exactly what a mentor can offer.
If you’re looking for a mentor, try to find somebody who can really understand what you’re going through. There’s no point starting off by speaking to someone twice your age with 20 years of corporate experience, because they won’t be able to immediately recognise your struggles.
Instead, look for someone of a similar age who has taken a similar path and can help you avoid the mistakes they made. Remember, finding someone you actually relate to and who shares your passions is essential – without these similarities you’re just wasting each other’s time.
Secondly, look for someone who knows your sector inside out. You want to get as much as you can out of your mentor and the best way to do this is by ensuring they have the right knowledge and can point you in the right direction.
Find somebody who can potentially open some doors for you, somebody with contacts that could help you progress – take advantage of everything your mentor has to offer. Take a good look around you – your mentor could be a parent, cousin, uncle, brother, friend, colleague, competitor – the list goes on. Don’t underestimate your options.
It is important to remember that a mentor won’t necessarily remove all the obstacles your business faces, but they can certainly show you a better route to get to where you need to go.
Typically, entrepreneurs are hesitant to ask for help because they feel like they want to do everything themselves but remember that everyone needs a helping hand, no matter who they are.
My father was my mentor. He helped sculpt my future success and, without him, I’m not sure I’d have made it.
If you find a good one, a mentor can help guide and nurture you, sharing wisdom you’ll never forget. For me, this was my father’s one-liner: “Observe the masses and do the opposite” – advice which still resonates with me today.