In a field as risk-packed, ever-changing and as transformative as entrepreneurship, everyone needs a mentor.
The need for a mentor is a mantra well known to established entrepreneurs — Mark Zuckerberg was mentored by Steve Jobs, Google founders, Larry Page/Sergey Brin have Eric Schmidt to thank for their critical business success, the list goes on.
As an entrepreneur, I have walked on a path similar to the one a younger entrepreneur is setting out on, so what is the point of them stepping into every ditch I waded through to get to where I am today?
Here are some reasons you need to get a mentor if you an entrepreneur:
- Help streamline your ideas
A mentor is a bouncing board for your ideas. Since they have the benefit of knowledge and acumen, gained from years of experience, a mentor will give you the critical feedback you need on ideas that you have. Therefore, beyond relying on book knowledge or business intuition, a mentor will provide you with the much needed tried and tested techniques. A mentor will also show you ropes about alternative ways of financing your business and different ways to navigate the day to day operations of your business.
- Build your confidence
Having a mentor who you trust is like having a pillar. And what does a pillar do? Strengthens a building, in this case, a business. A good mentor will encourage you when the business is not going well, when personal challenges begin to compromise your focus on the business or any kind of speedbump on your entrepreneurship journey. This reassurance from someone who has been on a path similar to yours is all you might need to dust yourself up and keep going.
- Build your networks
As an entrepreneur, you will find that networks are crucial for the growth of your business. This includes getting buy-in, expanding scope and reaching new heights. Having a mentor gives you the opportunity to broaden your network pool. This does not mean that your relationship is all about taking away from your mentor, but rather building a relationship that your mentor can trust enough to introduce you to some of their associates, their networks and professional bodies in your area.
- They are your voice in your absence
Your mentor has access to boardrooms, panels and people you have no access to. This is by virtue of their portfolio, experiences and expertise. If you have a mentor, they will be your voice in these places, they will recommend you for opportunities and open crucial doors along your entrepreneurship journey.
- The benefit of foresight
A mentor can foretell potential disasters long before they happen and help you to forestall them. Once again, because of their own experiences, being on the entrepreneurship grail for longer than you have, recognizing certain perils comes more easily to them than to you. So you can also think of mentors as shields.