Young entrepreneurs have a wonderful asset on their side: energy.
We see all around us amazing new inventions, applications, services, and products being developed by society’s youth because they have very little to lose when getting a start at such a young age. Their energy allows them to dedicate many hours, each day, toward a project of passion.
However, one hurdle these young entrepreneurs face is the fact that it’s easy to lose track of the bigger picture. These individuals will rush into an idea, hit the ground running, but fail to realize how to excel their work to the next level because they’ve yet to reach a mature understanding of the startup environment.
For this reason it’s important to have a business mentor.
A mentor is an individual that will provide level-headed advice in key areas of business that are unknown; they’ve already put in their time and have the wisdom to instill onto the younger generation (if they listen). The mentor acts like a role model but actually takes the time to guide the individual rather than being an individual to whom they may never interact.
Robert J. Finlay is one such business development professional with quite a few words of wisdom for those seeking advice (and perhaps even a mentor) to grow their business:
“If I had any advice for young entrepreneurs it would be to do something you’re absolutely passionate about. One distinguisher of success is someone who wakes up every day and just loves going to work because they’re making a difference.”
To make a business mentorship work it really comes down to showing respect, taking advice without becoming too emotional, and accountability.
The individual being mentored should be able to provide clear goals for their business, which will give the mentor a logical set of ideas and information to instill on the individual. Likewise, the mentored should be able to remain productive, provide reports on their progress, and continue to make the main business decisions rather than being completely dictated by the mentor.
Finding a mentor is easier said than done. Entrepreneurs may be hard pressed to find an individual willing to give up a good deal of their time because they too may have work which needs to be done. Additionally, there are many business veterans that may have never had the chance to be mentors so they aren’t accustomed to instilling their knowledge.
All that it really takes is identifying an individual that matches ones’ goals. The mentor should be an individual that had real, hands-on experience with the type of work and industry so that their information is applicable to the business.
A simple email, written letter, or phone call is enough to introduce oneself to a potential mentor. Cut to the chase and explain the situation, ask if they are willing to share their knowledge, and follow the process of productivity and accountability to develop a great mutually beneficial relationship.
Mentors matter more than ever, especially in an entrepreneurial landscape full of gung-ho starters.