Running a business can sometimes be a very lonely affair. Decisions are always on the to-do list, having someone as a sounding board can be an invaluable asset to every small business owner.
Business mentors are one group of people who can be your sounding boards. But what is a business mentor and what can you expect from a business mentor?
Maybe we should start by talking about what a business mentor is not. A business mentor is not a business adviser or business coach, they do not charge for their service, in fact they are often volunteers. This is an important fact about mentoring, no money changes hands. With money the whole relationship changes and it is no more considered mentoring.
Business mentors can be other business people you know or even former bank managers, who can help you to understand how to deal with banks. It is important to understand that business mentors should be trained for the job, volunteers or not. You can have different business mentors for different purposes too, however that is more the exception than the norm.
A business mentor is not someone who shows you the way to become successful, no road-map, no advice – only discussions, questions and playing devils advocate. A business mentor helps you to make up your own mind which way you want to go, in other words helps you to make the final decision.
After a few year in business, you could return the favor and become a business mentor, this again is good for your business, because it exposes you to new ideas and will enrich your business life too.
Research shows that using a business mentor makes a business more successful and less vulnerable.