Mentors Offer Tangible Value to Small Businesses
There are many ways of adding value to a small business, from equipment to new personnel. One thing that small business owners may or may not realize can add a huge amount of value to their businesses is something that it is hard to put a material price on; the insight and valuable experience that can come from a mentor.
What should business owners look for in a mentor? A mentor should be someone with experience growing a successful business. While every business’s ride to success is unpredictable, the experience of growing a business gives both perspective and a sense of how to handle common problems that businesses encounter that an entrepreneur with less time behind the wheel might not know how to handle right off the bat. A mentor is not a guarantee that your business isn’t going to make mistakes, that is an unrealistic expectation and even seasoned entrepreneurs who have created and grown multiple businesses are constantly in a state of learning and improving. Instead, a mentor can allow your business to avoid some more common pitfalls, and in the event that an error does occur, you will often have some fast guidance on how to get around it.
Mentors can help troubleshoot key parts of business planning. For example, a common issue for business owners when they are in the process of growing is figuring out how to define their pricing. Without a basis of trial and error or historical data, defining an equation for pricing can be a difficult balancing act. This type of advice is something that can have major value for business owners since it allows them to proceed from a starting point to a much more advanced solution while cutting out much of the growing pains they would otherwise experience.
Where can you find a mentor for your business? Figuring out where to look for a mentor is often the biggest thing standing between business owners and actually going out and finding one. Mentors can often be found at industry events, so making the decision to pick a few and attend is a strong move. Alternately, many communities will have business incubators, SCORE programs, or resources available at their chambers of commerce that can help small business owners get plugged in with a qualified mentor.
Photo Credit to Mark Morgan on Flickr