All of us need help sometimes – both in life and business. That’s why it’s no surprise that 86% of CEOs credit mentors with playing a pivotal role in their career accomplishments.
If you run a small business and don’t have a mentor, there’s no time like the present to seek one out. Here are seven ways that you will benefit from doing so.
Benefit From Years of Experience Without Needing It Yourself
Many of us learn best by doing. The more we practice something, the better we become at it, and the easier it is to avoid issues and derailments.
But in business, that’s not always an option.
You may only have the financial ability to try out a strategy, product, or culture one or two times. Small businesses often lack the runway to keep iterating ideas until one works.
That often leads to extreme caution and decision-making paralysis, which can damage your company.
Working with a mentor will help you solve this problem. They’ve gone through years of trial and error in your industry already, so you can learn what can work for your company and what won’t without putting your finances at risk by trying the strategies yourself.
This enables you to continue growing and improving your company without having to worry as much about failure and the financial ramifications of trying something new.
Expand Your Network
Connecting with a mentor can also help you expand your network.
A solid network is precious for your business. Your mentor can put you in touch with people and companies that can help you take the next step in your evolution.
In other words, when you have a mentor, you don’t just benefit from what they know; you may also benefit from all of the things that members of their network know.
If you ever have a question about your business that you’re unsure how to answer and you take it to your mentor, they’ll often be more than happy to contact someone who can help.
Having access to this kind of informal support network can be extremely valuable as you work to create a small business that can thrive independently for years to come.
See The Bigger Picture
As a small business owner, you likely have myriad responsibilities that you have to think about every day. Depending on the stage of growth that your company completing these daily tasks could take up the majority of your day and brain power.
This widespread scenario creates a situation where business owners can become too zoomed in on the present to consider the bigger picture fully. Mentors can help with this.
Your mentor can guide you back to your bigger picture whenever you inadvertently start moving away from it. That way, you can continue doing what your business needs to survive daily without having to worry as much about getting blown off course while you do it.
Get a Second Opinion
In business, it’s hard to overstate the value of having access to a second opinion from someone you trust and respect. You’ll feel more confident making bold moves if you can run them by a mentor first.
It can also be easy to doubt yourself as a business owner. You may wonder if you’re dealing with an employee issue correctly or approaching a supplier relationship in the most advantageous way for your company.
These kinds of issues don’t have clear answers. You won’t be able to Google them and find out what you should do.
But if you have a mentor whom you can ask about them, it can bring you the confidence you need to continue pushing your business where you want it to go.
Avoid Common Pitfalls
First-time small business owners make common mistakes much more often than they should. From trying to get rich too quickly to cutting prices too far, many common issues can derail your business before you can build it.
Having a mentor will help with this as well.
Your mentor can watch over you as you work to grow your company and let you know when you’re falling into a common trap that could be hazardous in the long or short run.
You won’t have to worry about catching all of these things yourself.
Grow as a Professional
It’s also worth forming a relationship with a mentor to grow professionally. Mentors typically have years of experience and may have already reached the goals that you’d like to achieve in their career.
They can help you outline a step-by-step path of improvement to get you from wherever you’re now to where you’d like to go. They can support you as you study marketing, product design, relationship building, and everything else you want to learn about.
Mentors can also help you accurately assess yourself so that you clearly understand your strengths and weaknesses as a business owner and leader before you commit to a path of progress.
Improve Your Company’s Culture
Finally, working with a mentor can help you create the company culture you’ve always dreamed about. Mentors often have already had an entire career. They’ve seen many different company cultures and what it takes to build them.
This is all knowledge that you can benefit from.
You can find a mentor who has built the style of company that you want to develop. If you’re working closely with someone like that, it will be difficult not to achieve your company culture goals in the long run.
The Dangers of Not Having a Mentor
Considering whether having a mentor is correct or not for you, it’s essential to think about what you could be losing by not having one.
You’ll Make Slower Progress
Without a mentor, you won’t be able to benefit from their network or knowledge. This means creating all your opportunities and needing to move slower to avoid severe mistakes.
You Could Fall Behind the Competition
You may also lag behind your competition if you don’t work with a mentor. Not only will you need to move slower in this scenario, but you’ll also have to discover optimal strategies for yourself.
On the other hand, your competitors will be able to move as fast as they want since they’ll have access to an expert’s advice whenever they need it.
You May Quit Too Early
It’s also much likelier that you’ll quit too early when you don’t have a mentor. As a business owner, one of the most challenging questions is whether to continue using a strategy or ditch it in favor of another.
Mentors help you answer questions like these decisively. Without one, you may give up too soon and miss out on getting the full benefits from a strategy that could’ve propelled your business to the next level.
More Avoidable Mistakes
Finally, you’re likely to make more avoidable mistakes without a mentor. As we discussed above, mentors know the common pitfalls in your industry and can guide you.
Without this type of relationship, you’re almost guaranteed to make more mistakes that could disrupt your business and diminish your income.