Starting out in business is exciting, but the path to entrepreneurial success is also full of challenges that you might not expect. As anyone who has a career in the business world knows, no man is an island, and we all need help and advice as we navigate our way toward our business goals.
Mentorship is a key means of facilitating future success, and of sharing lessons learned in business, so that they can be built upon.
While we might assume that it’s only the mentee who benefits mentorship, the truth is a good mentor/mentee relationship is a symbiotic one, which benefits both parties in different ways. The power of mentorship is attested by the fact that 70% of Fortune 500 companies have a formal mentoring programme. So, somethings obviously working, but what, and how can mentorship give your business a boost?
The wisdom of experience
Experience is one of the most valuable commodities out there, in the entrepreneurial world and beyond. And, it is something that new entrepreneurs simply do not have. This lack of experience means mistakes will inevitably be made and, without being able to call upon experience, it can be hard and know how to work through new challenges as they come along. A mentor however can provide valuable insights based upon past experience and can show how these challenges can be overcome.
A fresh eye
A mentee can also be invaluable for a mentor.
It can be easy to get ‘stuck in a rut’ or a singular way of doing things, especially when it works. While experience counts for a lot, it may also, over time, make us wary of new approaches or new ideas. A mentor then, shouldn’t be afraid to understand the perspective of their mentee and to challenge some of their own assumptions. This can bring a fresh view to bear on a business and new ways to connect with younger audiences and consumers, who a mentee might have a better understanding of.
Entrepreneurs should always remember the value that fresh perspectives and a growing network can bring, and both of these are available via mentorship. Both sides can benefit from discovering more about the other way of doing things – further supporting the symbiotic relationship between a mentor and mentee, and giving both a better chance of continued success.
A reliable relationship
Starting out in any career can be difficult, but for entrepreneurs, it can be more difficult than most. This is because you are often working alone, or with a very small team, and it can be difficult to find reliable and close business relationships. A mentor or mentee can provide a stable relationship in the business world and this can be a valuable source of consistency and stability in an otherwise highly dynamic environment.
Connections and exposure
Exposure can be a challenge for new entrepreneurs – or for those who have been working in a vacuum for a long time. For new entrepreneurs, a mentor can connect them with other industry leaders and people to work with and increase their exposure. It is much easier to develop a truly valuable business relationship when someone who already has an established position in the industry is willing to back you up and introduce you to others.
Entrepreneurship can feel like a lonely road – but with a great mentor/mentee relationship, it can be easier to foresee and face the challenges it brings. The need for mentors is only going to grow with an increasing number of entrepreneurs starting their own SMEs and this presents an opportunity for new and established entrepreneurs alike.
With a mutually beneficial mentorship relationship, it may be possible to go further in business than you could ever imagine.