The One Tip for the New Business Owner

If there was only one piece of advice I could give a business owner, this is it:

Find a mentor who has been in a similar business situation before (though not necessarily in the same industry), with whom you have good personal chemistry, and with whom you can communicate effectively.

The reason for this is simple – no matter how much advice you read, no matter how many textbooks you study, you will encounter countless situations in which the generic advice doesn’t hold true. Your training won’t help you, nor can you go out and search for an answer. The only resource that can help you is another person.

A mentor for a business owner understands the realities of the business. They understand the issues you’ve faced in the past, and how you handled them. They understand the local culture, and the personalities of the people involved.

And they understand your business.

Mentors can be free, if you have a friend or family member who is willing to step up to the job. If not, there are many small business consultants, who are essentially mentors. While their fees may seem extravagant to the point where they make lawyers look cheap, the value they bring to your business far exceeds their cost.

A good mentor will help you avoid costly mistakes, learn from your own history, and push you to succeed. A good mentor wants you to eventually part ways with them – because that means that you’ve succeeded, which means they’ve done their job well.