How Mentors Can Make You Better at Business

If you think you can do it all on your own, failure is likely imminent in your entrepreneurial future.

Mentors can guide you to success by limiting your mistakes, helping you learn from failures, and someone to lean on when times are tough or you’re backed into what seems like an impossible wall.


Here are just a few great ways that mentors can make you a better entrepreneur:

It never hurts to know someone…

Having a business mentor is no different from knowing a good local carpenter a good friend that’s a Class A auto mechanic. Knowing someone you can trust and call upon their expertise is key to success and survival. Even if your relationship is short-lived, you will always be able to call upon them when you need help, no matter where in the world you are. They can help to grease wheels that need greasing, cut through red tape – be a shoulder to cry on in your time of need.

They’re a source of unfettered advice…

When you develop a good relationship with a mentor you trust, you’ll always be able to go to them for advice, knowing they have no hidden agendas. Say you’re considering buying a weighty CRM to help improve your processes: If you ask the company rep trying to sell you the software, they’re almost always going to suggest you fork out the cash; a mentor on the other hand, may know from their own experience that a free, lighter-weight version will more than suffice for your needs.

Mentors offer enlightened perspectives you may not yet possess…

A good mentor has been there, done that. Or, alternatively, they have a mentor or several mentors, who collectively know much more than you do. If you’re business isn’t taking off and getting good word-of-mouth, they can step in and see that perhaps you’re not marketing aggressively enough; concentrating too much on one area while neglecting the other.

They help make you a more well-rounded business person…

Whether it’s helping you to train or communicate with your employees more efficiently, how to negotiate the best price point with customers and suppliers, or helping you to identify good investment opportunities to drop your profits into – a mentor will help you grow into a bigger, wealthier, more learned business person.

Mentors offer frustration relief…

Knowing someone who’s faced the frustrations of running a business can really relieve the day-to-day stressors of being an entrepreneur. Knowing you can turn to them when the chips are down or an unruly employee makes a massive mistake can mean the difference between blowing your top and making intelligent decisions in a cool, calm and professional manner.

They can help relieve the loneliness that comes with being an entrepreneur…

While few business owners are truly lonely, it can sometimes feel that way when everyone’s looking to you for approval on everything, and criticizing you when you make a decision that may not lead to a favorable result for the business. Whether you feel bogged down by employees that don’t understand just how much you have on your plate right now, a client that reneged on a contract, you’re being over-billed by a creditor – it doesn’t matter, the mentor knows what you’re going through and can relate to your situation.

Mentors are a networking goldmine!

At all levels of business, no one person has all the resources they need to build a successful business from the ground up. As you call upon them for help, mentors will help you build up your Rolodex by putting you in touch with their contacts, who in turn will put you in touch with other important people they know. Mentors can also get you into industry-related events and conferences where you can meet successful people who you wouldn’t meet otherwise.

They boost your morale…

Few people other than your friends and family are going to be on your side when starting a business. The competition is likely to be fierce and customers aren’t going to give you an inch of praise until you prove yourself worthy. Feeling like the whole world is against you can be a real confidence killer. A seasoned business mentor will be able to point out the things you’re doing right, or downright perfect, and not leave you wondering if everything you’re doing is leading you anyplace good.

Mentors benefit from you too!

Mentorship isn’t a single lane highway that only leads you to bigger and better places. Mentors gain experience teaching you the ropes, will develop relationships with your business contacts, they’ll earn your undying loyalty for when they need your help, and are more than likely to come up with great ideas for business opportunities of their own by observing you.

Understanding that you have something to offer them is an important realization if you feel awkward about inconveniencing an experienced business person who can help you dramatically improve your business.

Cover photo credit: Startupbootcamp Pitch Day Cairo / Flickr