To be frank, yes you do!
By definition mentoring is a mutually beneficial relationship which involves a more experienced person helping a less experienced person to achieve their goals.
Most successful people including Oprah, Michael Jordan and Warren Buffet will tell you that they attribute an important part of their success to having a mentor.
It is no different for us in small business.
Business Review Australia reported that small businesses that have an experienced mentor will survive at twice the rate of those who don’t. Unfortunately they also report that 42% of small business owners never engage mentoring.
There is no question that mentoring makes a huge difference to your business, not only on to the bottom line, but also the support and encouragement you receive. Sometimes the mentor can be a family member, like Donald Trump and his father Fred. Or it can be a paid service. I have used both.
My older brother has been in business for almost four decades. He has been an invaluable source of advice and guidance on my own business journey over the last twenty years. He has first-hand experience in running a small business, successfully.
There are a couple of vital points that solidify his value as a mentor:
- Success – in my opinion there is little value in having a mentor who has not successfully run a business. There are many people who are happy to give advice and even charge you for the privilege, yet they know nothing about growing a business that survives a launch and grows to turn over a good profit and manage a successful team. I have watched my brother go from a solo operator barely making ends meet to building a very successful business that has expanded interstate and even internationally. His business has survived a number of crises over the years which makes his opinion worth listening to.
- Experience – Find a mentor who has the right experience for what you need. I have had a number of paid mentors over the years too. When I was building my business and trying to establish a strong administrative foundation I had a mentor who knew how to run a business and could talk to me about strategic planning and operational details and issues I faced.
This year my focus has been on marketing. We acknowledged that it is our weakest area so I’m right out of my comfort zone and learning as much as I can about all forms of marketing. I have taken numerous courses and I am also paying for a marketing mentor with twenty plus years’ experience in running a very successful marketing business.
Thinking about it, what I value most about having a business mentor is the access to a different way of thinking. There is always the contacts and referrals, but the different thought processes I walk away with is worth my time and money.
So how about you and your small business: have you considered seeking a mentor?