Top Tips on Having a Mentor for your Small Business
This content on why you need a mentor and how to make the most of the relationship originally published on Venturize, a blog powered by our content partner Small Business Majority. They are a national organization that advocates for small business owners.
Why should I have a Small Business Mentor?
You’re passionate about your business and you love what you do, but the day-to-day running of a business is hard. It can also be a solitary job, with the stress of payroll, clients and decisions about next steps all on you.
One of the best ways to help yourself, and your business, is to get a business mentor, someone who has been there and done that to be your support.
HOW DOES A MENTOR HELP MY BUSINESS?
A mentor is someone who can help guide you during your entrepreneurship journey. Mentors can help you in a host of ways, including by:
- Providing perspective
- Offering practical solutions
- Encouraging you to keep going
- Providing key connections
Not enough? Small business owners report higher revenue and increased growth after working with a mentor.
WHERE CAN I FIND AN ADVISOR?
It’s important to take the time to learn about the many networks that can help you connect with a mentor. Here are a few resource to help you find the right match:
- Your personal network or friends, family and community
- SCORE, a national network of volunteer, expert business mentors
- Business Advising, a program that matches small business owners with expert advisors
- MicroMentor, is another program that matches small business owners with expert advisors
- Business accelerators and incubators often have a mentor network.
WHAT ELSE SHOULD I CONSIDER?
Here are a few more tips on mentorship and other ways to get the advice you are looking for:
4 Ways to Make the Most of A Mentorship
As a small business owner, your relationships with your community and your peers are essential to your success. Your fellow business owners can provide much needed support and advice as you grow your small business. This is why many new entrepreneurs turn to a mentor who has already paved their own path.
A successful mentorship takes effort. Here are some tips on how to have a successful mentor-mentee relationship:
1. Have open communication. A good mentor-mentee relationship has open and honest communication. As a mentee you should never be afraid to seek advice and honest feedback from your mentor. Mentors, part of healthy communication is the ability to listen. You are not there to lecture your mentee. Listen to their problems and give them thoughtful and relevant advice.
2. Learn to value expertise. When looking for a mentor find someone with expertise you don’t have so that they can help you fill any knowledge gaps you may have. And don’t feel like you can only have one mentor. You may want to have one mentor who advises your business plan, one who gives you financial advice, etc.
3. Know your goals. Before establishing a mentor-protégée relationship, you should have an idea of what you want from the relationship, otherwise your mentor may not know how best to help you. You should make sure you are picking a mentor who has the ability to fill the need. On the other side, mentors should make sure that you have the ability to fill your mentee’s needs before accepting a mentorship.
4. Understand this is a mutually beneficial relationship. Mentees are not the sole beneficiaries of mentorships. Mentors often get just as much out of the relationship, benefitting their own businesses. Engaging with mentees can help you develop critical communications and leadership skills and can expose you to fresh ideas and help you stay connected to new developments in your industry, ensuring your business stays relevant.
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