When you think about the definition of a mentor – “someone who is an experienced and trusted advisor” – it just makes sense that every business owner needs someone like that in their business and their life.
One the most significant hurdles for most business owners is the feeling of isolation at times, and the feeling of great responsibility – it can be a real burden, leaving no time to actually enjoy the freedom you should have by owning and running your own business.
The step to taking back some of that freedom is to get a mentor, someone you trust because they have done it before you, with success. You will no longer feel alone and just having someone to bounce your ideas off will go a long way to lifting that burden from your shoulders.
A mentor is not someone who tells you what to do – they are someone who allows you to see “the hope within yourself”.
There are five easy steps that will give you the confidence in your business, your employees and yourself, the confidence that your business is on the path to success.
1. Sharing Skills, Knowledge and Experience
When you decide to work with a mentor the one thing that is guaranteed is their willingness to share their own story. By sharing their skills, knowledge and experience it can open your mind to the potential within yourself.
Every person starting out, or running a long term business will tell you it is not a flat line! An experienced mentor has experienced doubt, hard times and also had to find ways to turn things around. They have tips and knowledge in their toolbox that you may not have thought about and their role is to share it with you.
How you apply that information to your business is something you can discuss with your mentor and if you think it would be effective in achieving your goals they can guide you with the implementation.
2. Guidance & Constructive Feedback
A good mentor has your interests front of mind. Sometimes that means they might disagree with your plans or thinking. This is one of the most positive aspects of a mentoring relationship, as they are not afraid to give you constructive feedback.
We all know being surrounded by “Yes” people is a recipe for disaster – we can only find the right solution through meaningful discussion, previous experience, knowledge and being able to bounce those ideas off someone you trust. Someone who will tell you if they think you are on the wrong path.
Having someone to trust in these situations gives you a great sense of confidence when making decisions.
3. Enthusiasm and Positivity
We’ve already mentioned that every day is not a great day when running a business, there are many things that can turn our day upside down – like losing a valued employee, a deal falling through or not quite making targets for the quarter.
You need a mentor who can allow you to experience those feelings but work with you to develop strategies to overcome the impact of what is happening.
Sometimes even the most catastrophic event can feel manageable if you have a mentor who provides the enthusiasm and positivity for finding the right solution. Someone who trusts your judgement and works with you towards an outcome.
4. Active Listening
Before you even start working with a mentor, you need to establish a connection. One of the things most mentors excel in is active listening. They need to understand your business from your perspective. When they engage you in this type of active listening they will gain great insight into your business and gain understanding of your current strategies and goals. Immediately you will feel understood and that feeling of isolation will diminish, allowing you to achieve your potential.
5. Innovation and Creativity
There is a quote by American Poet and Author, Witter Bynner (1881 – 1968) “The biggest problem in the world could have been solved when it was small.” If we apply that to our thinking and think outside the square, who knows what is possible!
Working with a mentor whose only goal is to guide and assist you to make the best decisions for your business means they can be innovative and creative with their ideas and advice. A good mentor has the skills to bring out the best in you – not create greatness for themself.
They are simple steps and experienced advice if you are seeking solutions for your business. You may be changing direction, experiencing growth or concerned about what is happening. Whatever the reason you will receive great benefit from a Mentor.