As an entrepreneur, you may have a great idea for a new product or a solution to a problem that no one else has. But that doesn't mean you're an expert at running a business. A dedicated business mentor with experience in your field can have the biggest impact on your company's growth. In a one-on-one mentoring relationship, it is important to take the initiative and ask your mentor questions to let him know your education and progress.
If conversations with your mentor become repetitive, don't dismiss the relationship too quickly. Often, it's not the relationship that's outdated, you just need new material to discuss. To revitalize mentoring discussions, prepare a thoughtful and diverse list of questions ahead of time. Mentors can play a variety of roles in your growth process, and not all of them will bring the same experience.
Some will be specific to your industry and others will be specific to a particular function. From online publications to colleagues, friends and family, advice on how to start and run a business abounds. However, mentors are easily available free of charge through several organizations, such as SCORE, a network of expert and volunteer business mentors that depends on the Small Business Administration. Business mentors are a must in any entrepreneur's toolbox, from the owner of a business from day one to the established CEO.
Far from the generic advice of online content or the well-meaning family member, mentors base their advice on real life experiences. In addition, they can use the opportunity to coach a younger business owner as a way to improve their teaching or consulting skills. Now is the time to take risks, since you don't have a payroll yet and you have a long way to go to recover from risks that didn't work. A small UPS customer survey revealed that 88% of business owners who reported having a mentor considered it invaluable.
Do you need to be prepared to take risks based on the advice of your business mentor? The answer is yes! With an experienced mentor by your side, you can make informed decisions about taking risks that will benefit your business in the long run.