The Importance of Having a Mentor as an Entrepreneur
Mentors are highly valued in the startup world. Simply put, a good mentor who is willing to devote time and effort regularly can hugely improve your confidence, ambition and chances of success.
Here’s three key reasons why having a mentor is so important for entrepreneurs:
1. A mentor can shine the light in the right places
Every entrepreneur will know how easy it is to get wrapped up in your own ideas. You effectively do a job that normally requires three people, and so focus will inevitably suffer. Focus in the right areas is vital, as you may be missing the key question that will give you that game-changing idea.
Having someone who is involved enough to understand the business but not entirely absorbed is an absolutely fundamental asset. It’s these people who will ask the questions you have just glazed over and shine the light in areas you haven’t thought to look. Mentors fit into this category perfectly!
2. A mentor is that advisor in times of struggle
A good entrepreneur learns by doing. This is why ‘failure’ is celebrated in startup communities, because failure means you have learned something!
However, sometimes too many failures can be a confidence hit. It’s very common for entrepreneurs to feel like they are banging their head against a brick wall when things go wrong. At times, you may even crave the structure of a junior job in a corporate just so you can have someone to ask for guidance, which really is when things get worrying!
A mentor provides the guidance you need to avoid these impacts on morale. From a purely operational perspective, they can also save you hours of trying something that won’t work. Having someone to talk to when you have a problem you know nothing about is absolutely vital to success.
3. A mentor provides a great network
Effective networking can give so many benefits to entrepreneurs, from tracking down investors to finding decision makers in businesses you want to work with. A good mentor will give you warm introductions to people who matter in your industry.
Even if these people aren’t game changers for your company, the chances are they will know someone who is. This will give you access into an entirely new network of people who can help your business. This new network: All possible when you have a mentor.
It’s important to note that not everyone who is willing to be your mentor is the right mentor. Mentors need to be enthusiastic about the business, otherwise they simply won’t spend the time required to help you. In order to provide you with the benefits, they need to understand your company enough to be the guiding light, they need to be motivated enough to give you a swift response to requests for advice, and they need to put real effort into helping you with that network you need to grow.
These great mentors do exist, and there’s plenty of great successful people willing to hand their wisdom down to young, vibrant entrepreneurs… just make sure you get the right one!