We all want to achieve great things in life. If you’re in business, one of those things is growing a successful, scalable business. You want your business to get bigger, but more importantly, you want yourself to grow too, as a person, a business owner, and more importantly, as a leader. But we can’t do that in isolation.
We all need to learn from someone who's been there before us, guided and educated by someone we trust and respect. You need a mentor in business who can lift you up to the heights of success you deserve.
How do you find one? What is the role of a business mentor in your business? We’ll help you along the way with this article, but if you want some direct training and experience, check out our Business Coaching programs too to see exactly how a business coach like the ones at The Entourage can help take your business to the next level.
What's a business mentor?
This seems like a pretty straightforward question, right? This question can be looked at in two ways - what is a business mentor for you? How are you a business mentor for your staff?
What's a business mentor for you?
A business mentor for you is one who can elevate you as a business owner, and as a person. They challenge you, they help you achieve big picture goals for your business. They have a leadership role in your life and provide training and advice when you need it.
But remember - they are NOT internally a part of your business. They are there to mentor you and guide you through the steps along the way, but they won’t actually run your business for you. It is a very fine line to tread, so make sure you understand that you still need to put in the work.
Being a business mentor for your team
A study by Robert Half showed that one of the top attributes young people look for when joining a company is the chance for mentorship from those more experienced than them. Not just training, but mentorship.
Mentoring is a style of leadership. You want to show leadership to your team, to your employees. Don’t be afraid to lift your employees up and make them awesome. They won't just up and leave you for better jobs left right and center. If you value your employees and empower them, you’ll be surprised how many want to stay and grow the business with you.
Being a mentor to your employees builds your lines of communication and your skills at doing so.
You get to pass on your knowledge and help those that follow in your footsteps.
It can also be a way to expand your business. Open a new store, who can you trust to run it? Someone you’ve mentored into a new leader.
What are the signs you need a business mentor?
How do you know if you need a mentor or not? Are there signposts along the way which indicate you need one? Do you ignore them? Would you know them if you saw them?
Asking the question. If you’re asking yourself - do I need a mentor? Then the answer is probably yes. You’re running into roadblocks and challenges you no longer have the knowledge and tools to overcome and need someone to help you, so you’re already subconsciously looking.
You’ve tried everything. You’ve read books or watched videos on how to make changes or take a new direction in your business, and it just isn't working. You've reached the extent of your knowledge and feel like you've hit a glass ceiling to growth. You need to take advantage of the advice of someone who’s done it before you.
You have the desire to change. You want to grow your business, but you’re not sure how. You want to have more impact upon the world, and inspire your team more, but not quite sure how either. You know your business has a lot more to grow but again, you're lacking direction.
Lacking motivation. You know what you do is good, and you’re good at it, but you just don’t have that same passion you once had. You need a mentor to show you how great you are, challenge you to do better, and keep you accountable to your goals.
Why do you need a mentor in business?
You know you need a mentor, but what are some of the benefits to you of having a business mentor?
Asking difficult questions. Sometimes there are questions that need to be asked, but you won’t ask yourself. Do you need to let a staff member go? Was that a bad investment? Do you need to borrow more money to capitalise on an opportunity?
An ear to vent to. Being able to talk about your frustrations onto someone you trust and someone who can empathise with your situation, not just sympathise, is beneficial. Being business-related, they can actually understand the difficulties much more than your best mate at a backyard bbq and actually be able to help you find a solution because they have that experience and knowledge to help.
Expand your network. Professionally your mentor will know people, and businesses, who can help you grow and expand. And because the level of trust is already established, these can be reliable referrals.
A different point of view. A mentor will not have the same emotional attachment to your business that you do. They can suggest methods and strategies which could radically change your ‘baby’, but might just work for you.
Give you confidence. Having a mentor who knows how the game works can give you more confidence to make the big decisions for you and your business.
Push you in the right direction. Sometimes you can’t see the forest for the trees. A mentor can give you a gentle nudge in the right direction, whatever that may be for you.
What should you look for in a business mentor?
Not just anyone can be your mentor. You will meet people who are willing to give you advice and may well be willing to charge for it. But a mentor is someone different, a relationship on a whole different level.
You need someone who has experience in business. If it is in your area of business, even better.
You want someone who has expertise in your field or at least a network of people who can give you that help, and an understanding of how your world works.
You want a good reputation from a mentor. Check them out on social media, their website, and so on.
You want someone you connect with. This will be a long-term relationship. There needs to be a level of comfort and trust.
You need to feel safe with them. If you’re going to be sharing company knowledge, or plans for growth, you want to feel that you can trust them not to spread these plans around.
Having a mentor can be a positive, life-changing experience. They can help you through tough times, connect you with the people you need to know, give great advice and ask hard questions.
They can inspire you and set you on a path of discovery and growth.
And when the opportunity arises, you too can become a mentor to young people, either young in age or young in experience.
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