How a Mentor can help your Business

In business terms the description 'wise' translates into someone who is experienced in running a successful business operation, and who is adept at passing on that knowledge. With over 65% of businesses failing in their first year of trading, the suggestion would be that new business entrepreneurs should seek all the assistance the can get!


Selecting a Mentor.


So how does an aspiring business person find and select a mentor to help them with the operation of their enterprise? A common starting place is within the family. Is there a relative who has proven business skills, and who has the time and desire to help you? If so, all well and good - just be careful to choose a family member who has the integrity necessary to disagree with you and counsel you, when they perceive it to be necessary.


Secondly, look around your friends and their parents. Perhaps there's someone in that group who can offer genuine assistance and advice from time to time.


Is your operation a franchise? If so, there may well be a mentoring program already set up internally to provide the exact type of assistance you're looking for.


Lastly try contacting you local chamber of commerce - a locally based group of business people who come together to discuss common issues or to lobby the government. Within this group there will likely be successful business operators who may be willing to give of their time and knowledge. You wonít know till you ask.


What to Expect of a Mentor. A mentor is not a guardian angel sitting at your shoulder each and every day. Usually they will be a person who is active in their own enterprise and therefore simply not available all the time. The best expectation of a business mentor is someone who can be consulted from time to time, when issues arise that are new or unknown to their protÈgÈe.


For example:

Selecting the correct insurance policies

Hiring quality staff

Handling the first big customer

The first big debt

The first tax return


A lot of mentor/protÈgÈe relationships fail through over dependence on the mentor, and poor communication between the two. Put yourself in your mentors shoes, (it's likely that if you grow to run a successful operation that you'll be a mentor yourself before long), and visualize how you'd appreciate being 'used'.


In conclusion; it's a tough world out there in business, and you have a responsibility to yourself to maximize your chances of success. A final thought: Even the world's most experienced ship captains still gratefully use the services of a pilot to guide them into port.



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