Why you should have a business mentor
It can be lonely when you start a new business – even if you are working with others. You have a lot of decisions to make and are likely to make mistakes (often costly!) along the way. You will build up a network of contacts, many of whom will share their experiences and offer advice, but, as a business owner you need to be accountable and to learn quickly. That’s where a business mentor is invaluable.
A business mentor is someone who has experienced successfully setting up a business or businesses. They will give you direction, advice and act as a sounding board. Most mentors offer their time for free as a way of giving back to their community, and businesses that are mentored have statistically a much greater chance of success.
As well as offering advice, a mentor should have an extensive network, and can get you in front of senior decision-makers.
What to look for in a mentor
They need to be able to make time for you – don’t expect all-hours access to your mentor, but you should be able to schedule regular meetings or emails. Agree this with your mentor upfront.
They need to have relevant experience – if not then they may not be the right person for you.
They should be respected by their peers – make sure they have a good reputation.
They should be a good listener - you don't want a mentor who will monopolise the conversation. Don’t forget you will need to be a good listener as well!
They should inspire you - a mentor should give you hope and help you believe that even the biggest of goals is achievable.
Ideally, they should have made mistakes and failed before – so you can learn what not to do as well as what to do!
How to find a mentor
First, consider experienced business owners you already know. If you can’t find anyone, try: