Benefits of a Mentor

As a small business owner, or one who works from home, you should consider, if you have not done so already, acquiring a mentor. A mentor can provide you with years of experience. Whether it’s advice on getting some contracts drafted by a lawyer, or how to analyze the benefits of different advertising packages, a mentor has been through these same decisions in the past. In addition to the advice that you will get, you acquire an additional form of motivation, as your mentor will encourage you to succeed in your business.

Of course, you will need to find a mentor, and understand how to evaluate the benefits and risk you will gain as a result of pairing up with a mentor.

A mentor for a business is typically a leader, or former leader, of another business. They have succeeded in the past, and are willing to contribute their time and knowledge to help others succeed as well. This gives you the first item to check out – what has your potential mentor done in the past?

You want to find a mentor who understands your business to some degree. While any successful CEO might be able to provide good business advice, you should try to find someone who succeeded in an industry similar to your own. If you are in manufacturing, some of your issues will be unique to that industry. The owner of a service-providing company will not be able to provide you with sufficient advice regarding those issues.

In my case, I provide a service in the technology sector. If I were trying to find a mentor, I would want someone who:

  • Worked in technology
  • Worked with services
  • Worked with consultants
  • Worked with small businesses
  • Started a business from nothing

The ideal mentor may not be the most well-known person, but he or she would be able to provide advice in all the categories listed above. After all, the issues I will be facing will fit into one or more of those categories, so the best advice I can get will be from someone who has experience in those categories.

In looking for a mentor, look to government programs, or your local Chamber of Commerce. Many provide the service of linking small business owners and entrepreneurs with mentors. As well, if you use Linked In, you may be able to locate a mentor by asking for one (use their Questions and Answers feature).

If you have other ideas or recommendations regarding mentorship for small businesses, please comment! I look forward to reading your ideas!