Do You Need A Business Mentor?
As a small business owner, you’ve likely encountered no shortage of folks willing to offer you advice. From teachers to friends to online communities, there is a lot of information out there to sift through (or completely ignore). With so many options, how do you know which pieces of advice to go with?
A business mentor is someone with more experience in the industry who offers you business advice, typically for free. They can help as you’re expanding your business or thinking about making a big financial decision, for instance. And places like Score.org even boast a huge network of free business mentors you can choose from yourself.
Since you’re the small business owner, it’s not like there is anyone above your ranks who you can lean on for advice. That’s where a mentor comes in handy: as someone you can pitch ideas to, ask for strategy tips, and more. Mentors are also a great source of “life lessons.” In having experience in the small business world, they likely have a lot of wisdom they can impart—what works, what doesn’t, and what to watch out for. Working with a business mentor through your challenges and opportunities ultimately fosters a foundation of trust between the two of you. It’s important to the success of your business if you have a reliable confidante in your corner (one that doesn’t have an agenda or a product to sell you).
A great mentor will work to turn you into a great leader—or improve upon your existing leadership skills, so you can reach your fullest potential. These are the people you turn to in times of hardship,
when you need personal support, etc. The main goal of a business mentor is help grow your career.
As a mentee, your role is to own and nurture the mentor/mentee relationship. You are in charge of your career—not your business mentor. So be sure you’re setting up a regular cadence of meetings, and be proactive about your career development. Another pointer is to determine some objectives for your mentor relationship–something you can reference on an ongoing basis and work toward. Share these objectives with your mentor and check in on their progress frequently. A great business mentor will keep you on track with your goals, hold you accountable, and serve as an ear to offer up advice on navigating challenges. Think of them as a coach.
There are also a lot of upshots to being a business mentor. Mentors are doing good for their community when engaging with local small business owners; when the small businesses thrive, so does the local economy. Additionally, mentoring is a great way to dip a toe into teaching or consulting. It’s truly a win-win all around.
Consider doing some research on whether or not you could benefit from a business mentor. Try talking to some folks in your network, and ask if anyone has pointers or recommendations. And remember that the loan experts at ARF Financial are like financial mentors for your company—if you’re ready for a loan, trust our team of pros to help you navigate the waters of securing the funding you need to thrive.