Many entrepreneurs are fiercely independent and self-driven—and therefore, they may be reluctant to seek guidance in starting and growing their businesses. However, statistics indicate that having a mentor may be instrumental in ensuring long-term success for business owners. According to the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), only 50 percent of all small businesses survive their first five years in operations. On the other hand, when owners receive mentoring, an estimated 70 percent of small businesses surpass the five-year mark. The SBA also reported that a staggering 88 percent of business owners who were mentored considered their mentoring to be “invaluable” to their business success.
No matter where you are on your journey as a business owner, connecting with a trusted and experienced mentor could be the key to your success. Here are four reasons why business owners should seek out mentors:
- Advice. By forming a close connection with an experienced mentor, you can gain first-hand insight into the obstacles they have faced and how they have overcome them to achieve success. Based on their own experiences, mentors can offer you personalized advice that you would not be able to find through your own research—advice that could ultimately impact the profitability of your business.
- Perspective. Mentors typically do not have a financial stake in your business, enabling them to view your struggles and triumphs objectively. Therefore, turning to your mentor when you need a fresh perspective could help you work through a dilemma or spot weaknesses in your strategy. Additionally, inexperienced business owners are more likely to react to obstacles in a hasty, emotionally charged manner. By aligning yourself with an experienced person who has navigated the ups and downs of business ownership, you will benefit from their more detached and rational perspective when it comes to dealing with problems.
- Support and encouragement. As a business owner, you will inevitably encounter setbacks, frustrations, and moments of self-doubt. A mentor is someone with whom you can honestly share your concerns, fears, and struggles. He or she should offer encouragement and give you the confidence boost you need to transform your challenges into opportunities.
- Networking. Since mentors are generally experienced in their fields, they tend to have vast networks of other accomplished professionals. As an ally who cares about your success, your mentor will probably be happy to connect you with other people who may be able to help you flourish as a business owner.
Considering the many benefits of having a mentor as a business owner, how can you connect with the right person to help you traverse the path to success? Here are a few tips:
- Begin by identifying the qualities that your ideal mentor would have. Your mentor should be familiar with your specific type of business and have achieved goals similar to what you strive to accomplish. He or she may be a fellow business owner in your industry, or someone who shares a similar background or business interests. Ensure that the person you choose is someone with whom you feel comfortable sharing your weaknesses and concerns.
- Examine your own networks. In trying to find a mentor, look at people with whom you are connected on social media, friends of friends, or contacts of your business colleagues. If you cannot identify any potential mentors within these circles, consider trade associations or SCORE, a nonprofit resource partnered with the SBA. With a mission to support small businesses through mentorship and education, SCORE matches business owners with volunteer mentors at no cost. To learn more or find a mentor, visit https://www.score.org. If you are a franchise owner or thinking about becoming one, franchise systems generally provide excellent support and the opportunity to connect with other entrepreneurs who own the same business as you do. Contact your franchise parent company to see if they offer a formal mentorship program.
- As you try to connect with a mentor, ensure that your online presence reflects your entrepreneurial spirit. On LinkedIn and whichever other platforms you use, have a professional profile picture, clearly state your skills and experience, and post updates that capture your passion and drive while avoiding anything negative or controversial. Mentors freely lend their time and advice—usually without receiving anything in return—and having an appealing online persona may make them more open to assisting you.
- When someone agrees to mentor you, remember to be open-minded, respectful, and receptive to their advice—even if it differs from what you may be inclined to do. This does not mean that you have to follow everything that your mentor suggests, but trying to approach their advice objectively may be instrumental in your growth as a business owner. Of course, always demonstrate gratitude for the time and energy your mentor devotes to helping you succeed.
Would you like to enjoy the freedom, satisfaction, and profitability of owning a business, while taking advantage of a supportive network of mentors and other business owners like yourself? Franchising offers an ideal solution! With thousands of different franchises available across a wide variety of industries, we can help you find an opportunity that matches your needs, goals, lifestyle, and budget. Call Franchise Logic today at 303.805.5078 or visit https://franchise-logic.com/buying-a-franchise-consultation/ to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation!
(Sources: https://www.sba.gov/blogs/why-mentor-key-small-business-growth-and-survival-0, https://www.lifehack.org/582080/revealed-the-secret-connecting-with-the-best-mentors-business, https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/280134).