Many aspiring entrepreneurs probably start their own business for the same reason: They want to be their own boss. In their mind, they envision how successful they will be, how much money they will make, how they will be a CEO of their very own venture. But not many stop to think about the difficulties and struggles that characterize the road to entrepreneurial success. Starting a business takes commitment, perseverance, and a desire to succeed. Whatever ambitions fuel a budding entrepreneur at the onset of their journey needs to sustain them for years to come.
So, how exactly do successful business owners do it? For many, they took advice from someone with more experience and know-how. In other words, they learned how to find a mentor to guide them. This allows business owners to share the burden with someone else so that juggling all the responsibilities that come with being an entrepreneur isn’t overwhelming; it also yields benefits for the business itself.
The Benefits of Mentorship
According to a recent study, businesses led by an owner with a mentor were able to increase revenue by as much as 83%! Another revealing study discovered that 70% of companies led by an owner under a mentorship were twice as likely to succeed beyond five years. Mentors themselves also see natural benefits from such a relationship: Employees who mentor someone else, say another colleague, are promoted six times more often than their colleagues who do not take part in a mentorship.
Famous CEOs also figured out that mentorship was crucial to success: Famed CEO and late innovator Steve Jobs credited Mark Markkula, an early angel investor in the company, as being Apple’s “adult supervisor.” Markkula not only had the funds Apple needed to move forward; he also helped shape the vision behind the company we know today. Jobs attributes part of Apple’s success to Markkula, who kept branding consistent and on track through the years.
When it comes to running your own business, finding a seasoned professional mentor can be an immense help. As an established business owner, a professional mentor can help you with various aspects of running your business, like how to secure funding, what traits to look for in future applicants, how to develop an appealing company culture, or even how to handle workplace tension between employees.
How to Find a Mentor
So, how exactly can you find a suitable mentor? You can break it down into eight steps which can also be found in the infographic below by Fundera:
- Define what your goals are going forward.
- Identify someone you admire and want to emulate.
- Ask this person for advice related to your business, or have questions ready about how to get started as an entrepreneur.
- Schedule a meeting in a casual setting so you can adequately assess their style of communication. Is it a good fit for you?
- If you interact well, schedule weekly meetings with this person.
- Show that you’re listening by acting on their advice and inquiring on their projects as well.
- Ask them to be your mentor, in person, so that you can lay out your goals and expectations together.
- Thank them for their time, and always be available to talk about their ideas as well.
While this process seems rather easy, it is meant to take time. Each step is a phase, and it could take six months to a year before you find someone who is indeed cut out for you. Of course, securing a mentorship as fast as possible is never the goal. Instead, you want to take the time to find someone who will invest themselves in you. Over time, the relationship will benefit both you and your mentor, and you can one day impart the experiences and advice you gleaned from the field into an aspiring mentee.
About the author: Meredith Wood is Editor-in-Chief at Fundera. Specializing in financial advice for small business owners, Meredith is a current and past contributor to Yahoo!, Amex OPEN Forum, Fox Business, SCORE, AllBusiness and more.