GIRAFFES-smA business mentor is someone who can provide an outside view and a fresh perspective to a business owner. They might be someone who’s succeeded at entrepreneurship (business), or they might be someone who’s an “expert” in their industry. You might meet them through networking or you might join a mentoring program. No matter who your mentor is, it’s important to understand the benefits of having one, the many ways they can help you succeed, and how to choose one.

A Listening Ear

It can be stressful being an entrepreneur and in business. There are many challenges and sometimes it can be hard to keep on top of things and stay motivated. A mentor will provide you with a listening ear, is someone to bounce ideas off and can always offer a second opinion. In other words, be a good “sounding board”.

Learn from their Mistakes

Why learn from your own mistakes, when you can learn from others? A mentor’s role is to share the lessons they have learned, so you can learn from them and avoid the mistakes they’ve made. If you’re unsure about a tough choice or a business deal, get your mentor to help you weigh the pros and cons. They will have invaluable insight based on their experiences. Remember, most good decisions come from experience, and most experience comes from making BAD decisions.

Expand your Network

As an experienced business person, your mentor, is likely to have a large network. If they believe in you and your business, they will be likely to open up their network to you. You mentor can help you make connections and build contacts to develop and build your business.

Become Focused and Productive

By regularly discussing your business, its challenges and initiatives, you will become more focused and productive. A mentor will help you review what you want to achieve, where you are, what the next steps are, and help you establish objectives and priorities. Not only that, your mentor will hold you accountable so you actually achieve those goals.

Challenge your Beliefs

With so many other things going on in your business, it’s sometimes hard to stop and think of what else is possible. It is a mentor’s role to ask you a lot of questions and challenge your ideas. This will help you look at your business from a different perspective and expand your beliefs of what’s possible.

Reduce your Stress

Managing the many facets of a business can be very challenging. Often the business owner is pulled in many directions, and finds that the business is “working them “rather than they are working the business. The business can literally be “killing them” instead of contributing to the business owner’s mental, physical, emotional and financial welfare. A good mentor can guide the business owner in principles and techniques to work ON their business, rather than IN their business. Not only can this be “lifesaving”, it can lead to greater economic reward and personal satisfaction for the business owner.

Increase your Business Knowledge

Your mentor’s accumulated knowledge is yours for the taking. They will have experience in many different aspects of business which you can then learn from them and gain as your own knowledge and experience.

Improve your Relationships

Having a mentor will increase your self-awareness. Your confidence and your self-esteem will also grow the more you learn about business principles. This will help improve your relationships with other business owners and non-business owners.

How to find the “right” mentor

Finding the right business mentor for you can be challenging. As in any relationship, chemistry” is important. In other words, trust your intuition. Know exactly what you want from the relationship. Take the time to contemplate this, make a written list, and when interviewing them, listen, listen and listen. The mentor should have the appropriate business experience, background and knowledge to truly help you, so it is important to determine what you are looking for in that person and exactly how you want them to help you. Armed with this knowledge, you can then be sure to find a person who fits your criteria. Once engaged, be sure to do a regular assessment if the relationship is meeting your criteria, needs, and objectives.