Mentorship can be priceless. Here are four good reasons why a mentor (or two) can make a big difference for your business.
One for the money
The money talk. It’s often overlooked, but it’s really important.
I am not just talking about working with a financial advisor, your accountant or banker or lender to review your books (which is very important). I am talking about getting the skinny on industry standards.
Each industry has certain standards, average profit margins and some industry secrets. You need to know all these so that you can plan for growth. So seek experts, mentors, coaches and advisors with some industry knowledge on how certain things work.
For example, when I work with a foodie client, I immediately team them up with an industry expert. Together, they can review their costing/pricing as the grocery industry has a system that is not like the regular retail markup.
Two for the show
Having more than one mentor, coach or advisor on your resource team is so important.
Right off the bat, I help my clients look for a mentor in their area of expertise. You can always find someone with an attitude of a peer rather than a competitor who is open to sharing experiences and collaborating. For instance, they might be doing a similar business in a non-competing market. Or perhaps it’s someone in a different country. Like you, they had to build the business and, like you, they may have some insights to share that are priceless.
In addition to an industry mentor (whether that person is paid or not) having someone with a history of running a business with a similar business model would be a welcome advisor or mentor. So, if you wholesale your goods or export services, look for someone who has experience doing business those ways.
These are just two examples of why having more than one mentor is important. But what you really need to do is think about all the areas of your business. Then, look for experts to help you see what you may not be seeing or are making assumptions about (marketing, financing, sales strategy, etc.).
You can also look at joining a peer mentoring group to receive support from other women entrepreneurs in your community. Learn more about upcoming Mentoring Opportunities at Women’s Enterprise Centre here >>
Three to get ready
Visioning and strategic thinking is the key to staying on top of things in a changing world.
Strategic thinking is the kind of thinking that creates insights that are crucial to pivoting quickly in rapid moving times. For example, Innovation, new strategy and winning concepts all come from thinking strategically. This is the process of creative thinking and critical thinking.
Every successful business has a next steps plan. Strategic thinking is the process of looking at all those moving parts, the process of exploring options, challenging perspective and gaining insight on how to move forward more strategically. It’s taking a good hard look at reality, history, possibilities and making the valuable connections between what is currently happening and what is possible. In addition, this type of thinking is a team sport – each thought compounds, expands or leads to the next. So try this out with your mentor or business coach!
Four to go
This is all about action and traction. We all know that taking action is the key to success and it’s the goal in coaching. A mentor can help guide you through the process so that the actions you are about to take are the ones that will make the most impact right now in the life cycle of your business.
Traction is also important. The key is choosing the right things to do at the right time so that you get quick wins and are on the path to the bigger vision. Because solopreneurs and entrepreneurs who work in small teams are often wearing too many hats, they can lose focus on doing the things that will get them the most traction. Working with your mentor, advisor or coach to identify those strategies that will bring you the most traction is key.