Importance of Mentoring for Entrepreneurs

How important is mentoring for people starting off on their own? Did successful people who became celebrated businessmen have mentors? It has been seen that mentoring generally has a positive influence on the person’s – both in terms of performance and success of the business. Tracking history, most successful founders have had mentors. Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg was mentored by Steve Jobs. Jobs was mentored by Mike Markkula, who was an early investor and executive at Apple. And Eric Schmidt mentored Larry Page and Sergey Brin of Google.

What is today’s definition of mentorship?  Is a mentor a coach, a supporter or a confidant or perhaps someone that quietly helps behind the scenes? Seriously, it is a mix of all of these. If any of us did have the opportunity of having a reliable, strong mentor backing us, we will know that more than the structure, it’s more about the impact. 

What are the advantages that come along the way? Here are some:

Gain from their experience

Since a business mentor is someone with more entrepreneurial business experience and are people who have gone ahead of you in their journey, there are many learnings that you can imbibe. For instance, they have seen the ups and downs of entrepreneurship, and they can help you navigate through the uncertainty of starting off on your own. You will gain from their learnings and it will help you keep a positive influence, which will boost your business in the right direction.

Get a truthful balanced picture

Sometimes it is important to have a correct picture of things. Having a mentor will mean that he or she will be someone who will always give you the truth, even though the going may be tough.  You know you have found a true mentor, when you can see that he or she does not pool wool over your eyes. Realistically and encouragingly, they will be your cheerleaders, who will follow you closely and cheer you as you get it right!!! It will make a huge impact of your performance too. A mentor will keep guiding you, pushing you ahead and edging you towards success.         

Leverage the network of your mentor

Since your mentor has built his or her network, over the years there will be a strong, extensive network in place. When they decide to mentor you, most positively, they may also open up their network to you. They can offer you access to far more senior decision-makers than you currently have. Not only their network opens up for you, but also their social currency. You can expand your social network too. They bring along with them a lot of promising business contacts as well as years of experience. This can help you move in the right direction – even to procure funding etc.

Build a trusted, long-term relationship; it will be true, beneficial relationship. Quite obviously, your mentor will have no ulterior motive; there will be no service or product that he wants to offer you. So, this combined with their experience, creates a strong foundation for trust. And, as the relationship develops over time, that trust can grow even stronger. Also, your time with them becomes more and more efficient as they become more and more familiar with you and your business.

Finally, you can see how the rewards are potentially great to bring on a business mentor. Entrepreneurs in general, and women entrepreneurs can really benefit from such a relationship. The risk is non-existent, and you have nothing to lose. In fact, you have everything to gain by finding a good mentor. So, rule of the game is ….. every entrepreneur should have a mentor.

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