THE REASON EVERY ENTREPRENEUR NEEDS A MENTOR
Life can be very challenging, especially if you are an entrepreneur starting a new business. As an entrepreneur, you never quite feel like you have the hang of things during your first two years in business. You are in survival mode. You are forced to learn on the fly and analyze your mistakes, looking for clever ways to become more efficient. Long story short, business can be hard and extremely difficult if you don’t have access to the right people who have been exactly the same as situation as you.
This is why it is very important to make certain that you seek out a mentor, especially in the early stages of your business life. You will discover that mentors can alleviate a lot of stress and point you in the right direction when you feel unsure about business situations. Here are four benefits that having a mentor brings to the table.
1. They provide firsthand experience of decision-making
The reason they are able to offer such great decision-making advice is because more often than not, they have been in your exact position before. Nothing is ever really new to them except if you are dealing in an industry that they may not be well acquainted with. I remember the first time my business partner and I had to draft a service proposal to a multi-national, we had no idea where to begin because we had never been a position like that before.
I reached out to my cousin who had over fifteen years of business experience and he walked us through things like down payments, hourly rates and taxes. It is not to say that I would not been able to figure out how to create a coherent proposal, but the direction he gave reassured us that we were making the right decisions. The next time you need to make a major business decision, try to get input from someone who has the experience to help you and your business.
2. Get back to the basics
One of the hardest things to overcome as a business in its early stages is gaining access to contacts. If you don’t have contacts, it can be very challenging to get started as a business. Luckily for us, we have access to a business resources that our university provided in the Institute for Entrepreneurship. The Institute gave us vital advice as far as business strategy and putting us in contacts with well-established entrepreneurs and businesses around Italy.
For example, they put us in contact with John Cabot University Alumnus Andrea Di Rocco through their mentoring program that connects past and present students who need business mentoring from entrepreneurs in order to kick-start their businesses. This experience gave us an edge and enhanced our eCommerce marketing strategy.
Sometimes the answers you are looking for can be directly in front of you without even noticing it. We recommend to build relationships with your peers and professors during your time in college that can be re-established when needed as you seek to develop your business in the market. Of course, when you are established, look to see how you can assist those coming up behind you. They will also be able to give you fresh energy and insights.
3. They know when to give you well needed reality checks
One of the problems that many entrepreneurs including myself have is romanticizing the process of business. Many of us tend to believe we are always one big hit away from our businesses exploding and being showered in huge piles of money. This is far from the truth. I have discovered from my experience that you cannot skip steps in business.
If you try to shortcut the process, you will feel pain down the road. I remember once having a conversation with my cousin about a strategy to get more people to our workshops and he said something to the effect of, “try to get fifty people a month, every month. After that, you will be sitting good”. After our conversation, I remember thinking to myself how easy and straightforward it would be for us to do what he said.
I quickly discovered that it was a lot easier said than done. A few weeks later I went back to him and said, “Sheriff, we only got eight people. This is really hard”. He replied, “What did you expect it to be easy. You have to work hard and be creative to make the numbers work”. That was my reality check. The take away here is that, sometimes all of us need a good dose of reality to reign in the fantasies we believe about business.
4. They save you a lot of time
The best thing about having a mentor is that they save you a lot time when you are in need of valuable and hard to reach information. Because of the wealth of experience they have, they generally tend to know the most vital pieces of business information that will help you excel.
For instance, we have been creating online courses that we plan on selling on our website. I decided to reach out to my uncle who ran an internet business for over twenty years that sold training products on his website. He was able to tell me important things about online marketing from his experience, things that have turned out to be greatly beneficial to our business. In my opinion, this is the greatest advantage of having a mentor; they save you a ton of time hunting down information.
If you don’t have a figure like this in your life, I strongly suggest to try to establish a relationship with a mentor and take your business to the next level.