If you, as a business owner, credit a significant portion of your success to a mentor, you are not alone. In fact, 92% of SME owners say a mentor has been vital to their success, both in the startup phase and as their business has continued to grow.
A good mentor is someone who’s been there before and can offer sound, unbiased advice that often extends beyond business and into personal matters, such work-life balance and better wellbeing. They can also accelerate your learning and expand your network—crucial when you’re spending almost all your waking hours trying to get a new venture off the ground.
Here are four reasons a mentor forms a vital link in your success:
1. You’ll avoid unnecessary mistakes
Note the word ‘unnecessary’—some mistakes are good. Mistakes are part of the growth and learning process; mistakes make you wiser and more resilient. However, there are some mistakes—beginner’s mistakes—that can not only hinder your success, but prevent it altogether.
A good mentor has been there before and already made those mistakes for you. They’ll be able to advise you on traps to avoid, and also foresee the snags before they happen, which will only make your journey a smoother and more efficient one. Instead of wasting time fixing things, you’ll be able to get on with the important business of moving forward.
2. Accelerate your networking
Nobody does anything great all on their own. This is especially true in business, where networking provides infinite opportunities to grow your business and be inspired by others’ success.
A sound mentor will already have an expanded web of connections for you to tap into. Again, this is a great time-saver—a simple introductory email or invitation to an exclusive event can bring the kind of opportunities and acceleration that would ordinarily require years of hard work.
A mentor is not there to give you a step-by-step recipe for success; what worked for them isn’t necessarily going to work for you. What a good mentor does is guide you towards your vision of success, then know when it’s time to sit back and let you take full control of the reins.
Self-doubt and impostor syndrome are common among both beginner and established business owners, but learning how to be self-sufficient and having confidence in your decisions and ability to adapt as the inevitable changes come, will massively increase your chances of sustained success. The comfort, though, is that no matter how self-sufficient you become, your mentor will always be there to prop you up when things falter.
4. Jump the learning and personal development queue
While a mentor doesn’t know everything, they will certainly know more than you. And whether it’s business knowledge or life experience, you’ll be able to absorb their lessons and put them into practice quicker and more efficiently than if you were on your own.
There are myriad business coaching and personal development courses you can go on, but they cost time and, in most cases, a lot of money. During the startup phase especially, it’s these two thing you’re specifically trying to save on, so having a mentor to offer free and sound advice if and when you need it is invaluable.