Considering only about 17% of small businesses in Canada are owned by women, it’s not a surprise that many female entrepreneurs feel isolated. If you are a female entrepreneur, you are likely taking more risks, working more than 40 hours a week, and failing more than your female employee counterparts.
So where can women go to meet others braving the journey of entrepreneurship? Peer mentoring groups. These effective, regular meetings bring together a small group of entrepreneurs and a mentor so that they can discuss their challenges, find solutions, achieve goals and make new connections.
If you’ve been looking for a way to boost your small business success this year, here are 4 reasons women should try peer group mentoring.
1. Connect With A Support System
Female entrepreneurs are more likely to possess certain characteristics compared to their male counterparts. For example, studies show that female entrepreneurs are less likely to ask for funding until they believe they are ready for it. This leads to only 19% of women achieving angel funding. If you are a part of a women-only peer mentorship group, it is likely that many of the other women in the group are going through similar challenges as you. This will help you realize you are not alone and guide you to avoid common mistakes women make in business.
2. Increase Your Network
A peer mentorship group is a great way to meet new business contacts, friends and even future business partners. Professional organizations handpick group members so you will be surrounded with entrepreneurs who are at a similar business stage and have skills that complement yours. There is no better way to learn about people than by seeing them often and observing how they interact with other people in a group setting.
3. Problem-solve From Different Perspectives
Albert Einstein said: “We can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.” He made a great point. Peer mentoring uses a unique style of problem solving that helps you see things differently. In a typical peer group mentorship session, one member will announce a challenge and each of the other group members will determine 3 potential solutions. So if there are 6 people in your group, you will have 18 potential solutions from 6 different perspectives. It is very likely that at least one of these suggestions can solve your problem.
4. Hold Yourself Accountable
The best way to complete a goal is to tell everyone about it. The more people the better. That’s where group mentoring comes in handy. In a typical meeting each member will give a progress report about accomplishments, successes, failures, and what didn’t get done. It’s likely you will be more motivated to complete your goals if you have a group of 5 or so women depending on you to keep the group’s momentum running smoothly. It is also a great way to see how much you are accomplishing from one session to the next so you have the motivation to keep striving for more.
From childhood to young adulthood we’ve had guides, family and teachers to mentor us along the way. It’s natural to get guidance when running a small business. Take your business to the next level, and join a peer mentorship group today.