As an entrepreneur, it's important that you establish a "database" of information sources that can help you run your business effectively. This could be other small business owners with some "years in the game", conferences, workshops, credible websites relevant to your industry, and a range of other sources.
All of the above are important points of reference, but when you have identified specific problem areas or challenges you can't seem to resolve on your own, it may just be time to seek the advice of a business mentor.
What exactly is a mentor?
In general terms, a mentor is an experienced (often older) person who guides another person's development in his or her education or career. In the context of a small business, a mentor would be someone who helps you gain more insight into the various areas of running a successful business.
A mentor should give you ideas, offer potential solutions to problems and help you set goals for your business, without actually doing it for you. Essentially, a mentor is a teacher rather than a consultant. This means you should be open to listening and learning.
Advantages of having a mentor
- Low cost. If you can't afford expensive and often time-consuming training courses, a mentor may often provide their service at no cost to you. They are also able to provide that all-important on-the-job training.
- Years of experience. With a wealth of experience behind them, a mentor is someone you can turn to for professional, objective advice and guidance.
- Proactive problem-solving. With the help of an experienced mentor, you can avoid making common mistakes by being pro-active in identifying potential problems, and implement solutions that have proven successful in their experience.
- Continuous training. A mentor can give you hands-on training in their area of expertise and be available for questions as and when issues come up.
Being an entrepreneur is challenging enough without having to go it alone. Don't wait until your business is in trouble before asking for help. Find a suitable mentor and allow them to help you bring out your best.
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