Benefits of a Young Business Owner Having a Mentor

Two heads are better than one.  An old saying, but one that is of great value in the early growth stages of your business.

Seeking out the advice of a mentor who has the experience of being in business can help you share knowledge in terms of specific business information or personal skills.

The word mentor originates in Greek mythology where Odysseus, when setting out for Troy, entrusted the education of his son to his friend Mentor.  “Tell him all you know” Odysseus said.  Thus mentoring has its origins in the concept of an older more experienced individual passing down their knowledge of how the task was done and how to succeed in the world.

A great example of this is Richard Branson who has acknowledged the contribution of his mentor Sir Freddy Laker to his early success in establishing Virgin Airways

The mentor’s role varies from holding a mirror to reflect issues and give clarity, to giving advice or prompting issues that need addressing.  A mentor also tends to focus on the longer term acquisition of skills in developing a business career.  Sometimes it’s simply a case of listening to ideas or concerns, as the world of the business owner is often a lonely one.

For young business owners wanting a mentor, the first step is to consider who is going to be the right fit for you and your business.  All good mentors must be objective, so it is usually better to seek the assistance of someone other than a family member or friend.  This allows for a greater level of transparency and independence in the mentoring process.

Nothing’s as constant as change, so while there are benefits in having a long term relationship with a mentor, it may be that as the business and the individual grow and develop it is beneficial to establish new relationships.  It is not unusual to have three or four different mentors during a business career.

When two heads are better than one, the advice and guidance of a mentor can make all the difference to a young business owner both in developing the business and at a personal level.

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