Choosing a mentor to start your business and knowing what you should look for is a sound business decision.

Things are going to be tough. You know the deal. “When the going gets tough, the tough get going.”

In order to start your business, it is imperative to get the right advice and support. It’s not to say you don’t have a clear vision and process to get started, but a mentor can provide guidance by mentoring you in your startup endeavours. This will save you time and money.

Choosing a mentor with experience

A good mentor has experience in business. It matters not what the business is. It matters they have experience in starting a business and can offer valuable insights into how best to do it for you. They’ll also understand what kinds of challenges entrepreneurs face–both common and unique–so they can help guide you with confidence.

How I met my mentor

I virtually stumbled on to my mentor not realizing what I had until many years later.

I met John, who owned the business to which I joined as an independent agent to sell his product. It was an excellent product. He had a vested interest in me doing well so the WIIFM Radio was full volume. WIIFM is “What’s In It For Me”. There was plenty in it for John and for me to do well and sell his product. There was plenty in it for me as well. So I started my business career selling a product developed by John. My very first business.

John picked me up when I was down. Discussed the areas I was having an issue with. Help me overcome fear from call reluctance. Taught me how to deal with rejections. Celebrated my wins. Instilled a way of thinking and communicating with my prospects and customers I still use to this day.

At the time, I just saw John as a business owner surely going to be successful if I and other agents sold a significant amount of products to make him rich. I got it. Didn’t worry me at all in the early years. Then as you do as is human nature you think you can do the developing your own products better and you start your own agency and be the boss man. Be the manager the true owner operator.

What did John do?

True to the man he was, he helped me. He could have made life difficult and blow me out of the entire business before I got started. But he did not. He mentored me in the issues he knew I would come up against. Not in the producing the products or sales. No, he mentored me on things like processes, dealing with failure, building a sound business plan. How to stay positive and business life. It seemed like my whole time being exposed to John was leading to my future outcome. What a future I had. Now I am paying it forward whenever the opportunity arises.

There you have it friends. Your mentor may be closer than the think. The up-shot of this true story is John has been my greatest critic my greatest supporter, and still is. Even though now we are both retired, or at least retired from that industry. When you have run a successful business, you can never retire. It’s like “The Hotel California” ‘You can check out but you can never leave’. Love the Eagles.

Having a mentor on board with your vision will encourage you when things get tough, and things will get tough.

If they believe in what you’re doing, then there’s no one better to lean on for strength during these times!

Starting your business with a mentor requires time. Quality time, so you and your mentor can collaborate until you are both happy with a clear understanding of both your rolls. What the mentor’s responsibilities are and what yours are.

It can be a daunting task to start your own business. There are so many things to consider and so many fresh adventures to take on. Having the proper support can guide you through the maze.

Choosing a mentor the right mentor can give you that support.

A mentor can give you that support.

It is never a good idea to have a member of your family or a close friend be your mentor.

A good mentor will be someone whom you can trust. They will be someone who has been through similar successes and failures and can offer you advice and guidance. They will be supportive, but will also critique your progress objectively according to your plan.

The key to finding the right mentor is to be proactive. Make a list of what qualities you are looking for in a mentor and put it into action. The most important quality is someone with experience of starting a business and growing it through the various stages to maturity and possibly excited by sale or merger or possibly generational takeover.

Begin by networking with people you know and trust. 

Gather names and qualities. Once you have a list of potential mentors, it’s time to reach out. Take the time to connect. Explain why you are looking for a mentor, how you would benefit from their help, and how you would commit to following their advice. Be specific. The work done here has a massive impact on the result. If all goes well, your mentor may be just an email or a phone call away.

Finding the right mentor is essential to starting and running your own business. By being proactive and reaching out to people you know and trust, you can find the right person to help you reach your goals.

Think about large businesses

Think about large businesses for a moment. They have a structure that produces the best results for the business. It’s called a board of directors or better still an advisory board.

For many entrepreneurs, the decision to involve outsiders in their business may be a wrenching step. Some simply do not want to dilute their control by establishing a board of directors with formal responsibilities and authority. However, the introduction of an advisory board can help some come to terms with this decision, by enabling an entrepreneur to feel comfortable with the business of providing information to, and accepting advice from, an external group.

Think of this as a panel of mentors. All have experiences and backgrounds in specific areas. 

It should be no different with you starting your business. Your mentor is your board of directors.

If you take the time to research the business forums for business startups, you will find a general theme. Many contributors wished they had made use of a business mentor much earlier in their startup than they did.

Says something doesn’t it?

Remember, "Everybody who is anybody has somebody".

One last thing, it is not a good idea to have a member of your family or a close friend be your mentor. Go outside the family and friendship circle. Choose wisely.

Experience isn't the best teacher, it's the only teacher

Confidence comes with experience