Regardless of how much experience you think you have in business, someone is out there that knows more than you do. These seasoned professionals either been at it longer, they have achieved greater levels of success and prosperity, or they have your niche locked down to an extent that it would be tough to permeate their fortress of e-commerce.
Mentors have been there, done that. They have seen it, heard it, and experienced it all. Regrettably, some entrepreneurs attempt to start a business with little to no guidance at all, and they find themselves making costly mistakes that wouldn’t have occurred if they had taken the time to surround themselves with some experienced leaders to help steer them in the right direction.
While there are those exceptional leaders who have ascended the success ladder by following those gut feelings and being in the right place at the right time, the majority of us who attempt to break free from the 9 to 5 service to another master need some guidance and a little mentorship along the way. Here are some indisputable reasons why it is wise to consider collaborating with a mentor on your rise to the top:
Reason #1: A mentor will allow you to learn from his/her real-life experience.
Some experiences just cannot be justified in books or in courses. Experience is an asset in business, but it comes with a cost at times. Having the opportunity to learn from another’s mistakes and thus avoid them will save you valuable time and money as you strive to make wiser choices.
Reason #2: You’ll be more likely to succeed with a mentor.
A 2013 survey on CEO’s of fortune 500 companies revealed that over 80 percent of them had partnered with a mentor for some time on their way to the top. Almost 93 percent of people surveyed who had a successful startup admitted that business mentorship was the key to success and prosperity.
Reason #3: Partnering with a mentor will give you networking opportunities.
Your friends and family members may help you achieve success with their efforts, but there is no substitute for a mentor with other business connections. Your mentor is interested in your success, and in building relationships with other key players in your newly found business circle, you’ll create friendships that can be personally and professionally rewarding.
Reason #4: A mentor will keep you level-headed through the ups and downs.
Having someone that whispers words of encouragement in your ear during tough times and is not afraid to kick you in the butt when you need a little push is invaluable as you navigate the at-times turbulent climb to the top. A mentor will calm your fears and help you work through thoughts of self-doubt too, sharing their stories that are similar to yours as you realize that you, too, can handle the path that you are on.
Reason #5: Mentors can help you to stay in business
When you consider the statistics that 30 percent of startups don’t survive the first 24 months of business, with another 50 percent not making it past five years, mentorship is essential to your longevity and success. Over 70 percent of business owners that procure a mentor and other influential supports make it past the first five years and continue thriving long afterward.
Reason #6: Mentors can help you develop your emotional intelligence
Emotional intelligence is greatly underestimated, yet it is one of the critical factors that will make or break your business as you develop relationships with clients, vendors, and like-minded business professionals. Striking that delicate balance between decision making with your logical mind and your emotions is essential when determining which direction your business must go. Quite often, a mentor can help you to regain balance when you are in the middle of a stressful or overwhelming situation where you are letting your feelings get the best of you. A mentor can also model what successful relationship creation is when building a business; using a combination of personal and professional connection strategies takes a high level of emotional intelligence; take advantage of the real-life experience your mentor has to offer you.
Reason #7: Mentors encourage you to keep going...even when the going gets tough.
Dealing with failure is something we all must learn to do--when you have a mentor at your side, it is easier to bounce back with a little encouragement from someone who has been there too. Mentors can also help you to set realistic goals and expectations for you and your business, so that you don’t fall into the trap of setting the bar too high and then experiencing bouts of depression and unproductive behaviors that come with repeated failure. Your mentor has likely been in the throes of the highs and lows of business ownership and can offer words of comfort and advice when they are most needed. Take comfort in the fact that if they can pull through, you can too.
Finding the right mentor is a smart decision for both your personal and professional growth. You will be able to avoid common startup mistakes, pull ahead of your competition, and create and maintain profitable relationships. Hopefully, all of the skills and experience that you require in this period of mentorship will allow you, too, to someday pay it forward when it is needed. Here’s to your continued success!