Having a mentor can spare you from learning the intricacies of business the hard way. A mentor is an individual who guides a less experienced person along. They do this through trust-building and modeling positive behaviors. A mentor should be dependable, authentic, engaged, and aware of the needs of the person he or she is mentoring — the mentee.
Many successful entrepreneurs today start their career with the guidance of a mentor. With the help of a mentor, you may be able to experience success without needless stumbles or falls. In fact, a number of technology giants were founded by people who learned from their mentors, including Steve Jobs who was guided by Mike Markula. Jobs went on to mentor Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook.
If you’re considering getting a mentor or being one yourself, here are few items effective mentors should do:
- Teach beyond books — Books are helpful, but few things can beat real-life experience. If you are starting a business, you may have spent time in college and worked for another company. Using the knowledge acquired from school and the experiences you got from your previous jobs, you may feel fully equipped to start your own business. However, more learning never hurts. Mentors can impart the specific skills that you will need for your endeavor, particularly if they are experienced in entrepreneurship themselves.
- Provide reassurance — When you are new in business, you may find yourself doubting your skills and decision-making powers. This is natural. Your mentor can weigh in on decisions and affirm your choices and abilities. This can build your confidence, which is essential for company leaders.
- Facilitate networking — Mentors are established in their fields. If you need connections to make your business grow, your mentor can refer you to friends or business associates who can provide the expertise that you need.
- Impart longevity — Nine out of ten startups end in failure. Mentors can help you avoid the mistakes that could cause you to shutter your business prematurely. If your business is struggling to get its footing, mentors could offer a lifeline or advice on how to stay afloat until the business stabilizes.
Having a mentor is important in business, especially for startups or if you’re new to being a solopreneur. The business world can be ruthless, but a mentor can offer the guidance you need to navigate it well.