The Value of Mentors in Business

Ryan O'BlenessRyan O'Bleness Birmingham, Mich. administrator Posts: 1,133 Site Admin
edited July 2016 in Grab Bag
As an entrepreneur starting a new business, I'm sure there were times when you felt completely alone on this long road, especially if you were doing everything on your own. The tough operational decisions you had to make, deciding on brand messages and securing funding from investors are things that would likely have been easier to overcome if you had somebody to talk to that has done it before.

Personally, I think having a mentor in your business ventures would be an extremely wise idea. The value a mentor can provide for startups and small businesses truly cannot be measured. As long as you have a mentor that is engaged, always willing to help and has the same or similar goals as you, there is no doubt that person will be an asset to you.

By consulting somebody who has done this before, you're going to have an advantage on the competition. There is nothing like real-life experience to teach you a lesson. A business mentor is the person who knows the difference between what not to do and what to do when it comes to running a business. Those kinds of insights can be the difference between success and failure. Whether you are at the launching stage, the growing stage or are just looking for a new way to manage your business, having an experienced mentor on your side.

Business mentors provide a wide range of expertise, and can help your small business in many ways, including financially and operationally.

Patrick Henry, CEO of QuestFusion, wrote an article on startupnation.com that explains the benefits of having a business mentor. After reading it, I surely thought it was worth sharing with my fellow community members:

https://startupnation.com/grow-your-business/business-mentors/?utm_source=Community&utm_medium=11910&utm_campaign=new-topic



What are your thoughts, community?
Ryan O'Bleness
Community Manager
StartupNation, LLC

Comments

  • kshifterskshifters subscriber Posts: 11 Bronze Level Member
    I agree with all of the points made about having a mentor. I found that a key problem with most people who are starting up a business is that they don't know the reality of it. They want to do everything on their own. This was true on my part when I first ventured out.

    Having a mentor can drastically increase your company growth by two-fold, and of course, your company growth may vary on who you get as a mentor. Choose mentors who are currently doing what you are doing or mentors who have been there and done that. There are those who call themselves mentors, but in reality they echo what other people tell them, and have no real-life experience on it. There is nothing wrong with listening to them, it is just best to be aware on the credibility of the people you are getting your advises from.
    Shift your focus on what really matters
    Nico Hipol | General Manager

    www.keyshifters.com
  • Ryan O'BlenessRyan O'Bleness Birmingham, Mich. administrator Posts: 1,133 Site Admin
    kshifters wrote:
    I agree with all of the points made about having a mentor. I found that a key problem with most people who are starting up a business is that they don't know the reality of it. They want to do everything on their own. This was true on my part when I first ventured out.

    Having a mentor can drastically increase your company growth by two-fold, and of course, your company growth may vary on who you get as a mentor. Choose mentors who are currently doing what you are doing or mentors who have been there and done that. There are those who call themselves mentors, but in reality they echo what other people tell them, and have no real-life experience on it. There is nothing wrong with listening to them, it is just best to be aware on the credibility of the people you are getting your advises from.


    Yes, I do believe it makes a difference. Did you start your business on your own and then work with a mentor later on, or did you do everything by yourself and now would advise others looking to launch their startup to find a mentor?

    I do agree that credibility of mentors is important. A mentor should be somebody who has been out there in the startup/business space before and knows the struggles and what it takes to be successful.
    Ryan O'Bleness
    Community Manager
    StartupNation, LLC
  • kshifterskshifters subscriber Posts: 11 Bronze Level Member


    Yes, I do believe it makes a difference. Did you start your business on your own and then work with a mentor later on, or did you do everything by yourself and now would advise others looking to launch their startup to find a mentor?

    I do agree that credibility of mentors is important. A mentor should be somebody who has been out there in the startup/business space before and knows the struggles and what it takes to be successful.

    I started a particular business with a partner who had no prior experience in that particular industry, and neither did I. We made a big mistake that costed us financially, and emotionally. From this experience, I learned to put my pride in a box and started to seek advice from other people on my other businesses that I'm currently starting up now.

    I read books and do online research, but sometimes the best insights can come from chatting with people with experience. What you learn in books coupled with first-hand experience and insights can boost your confidence when you make decisions on your business.

    Find a mentor, you need that additional perspective. :)
    Shift your focus on what really matters
    Nico Hipol | General Manager

    www.keyshifters.com
  • Ryan O'BlenessRyan O'Bleness Birmingham, Mich. administrator Posts: 1,133 Site Admin
    Yes, I agree. Research, reading and, most importantly I think, real-world experience are the ways we all learn. I think the link I provided in my original post regarding an article on the mentor topic is a great read; feel free to check it out if you have not yet.

    I am glad you were able to get your business up off the ground. Startups, especially in the early phase, are a lot of heartache, unanswered questions and struggles. But when your business is launched and takes off, it is all worth it. A mentor can help you get there. I wholeheartedly believe that.
    Ryan O'Bleness
    Community Manager
    StartupNation, LLC
  • JonnyWJonnyW subscriber Posts: 4
    Mentors are so critical! Does anyone here use Founder Dating as a way to find mentors? helpful site
  • Charlie PCharlie P subscriber Posts: 84 Silver Level Member
    Nico made one of the strongest statements when he said "I learned to put my pride in a box". SO many of us struggle with not only accepting that we need a mentor, but actually listening to them. Being able to truly believe that this person knows this particular thing much better than you is sometimes a hard thing to do, but you didn't get a mentor just for them to agree with you and make you feel better about yourself, you got them to help keep you from making mistakes that were avoidable. We have to be willing to accept their honest feedback when they tell us that a direction that we fully believe in isn't the right path and be strong enough to look for other directions to go into. I'm not saying that mentors are always right in every piece of advice that they provide, but we do have to accept that they are coming from a position of knowledge and experience that we are not at yet.
  • Ryan O'BlenessRyan O'Bleness Birmingham, Mich. administrator Posts: 1,133 Site Admin
    Charlie P wrote:
    Nico made one of the strongest statements when he said "I learned to put my pride in a box". SO many of us struggle with not only accepting that we need a mentor, but actually listening to them. Being able to truly believe that this person knows this particular thing much better than you is sometimes a hard thing to do, but you didn't get a mentor just for them to agree with you and make you feel better about yourself, you got them to help keep you from making mistakes that were avoidable. We have to be willing to accept their honest feedback when they tell us that a direction that we fully believe in isn't the right path and be strong enough to look for other directions to go into. I'm not saying that mentors are always right in every piece of advice that they provide, but we do have to accept that they are coming from a position of knowledge and experience that we are not at yet.

    Absolutely. Pride is a funny thing, right? Sometimes we are so stubborn, and believe we are the only individual capable of completing a task or making the right decision, that we essentially have blinders on. We have this tunnel vision and "my way or the highway" approach. We often refuse to change. That famous Albert Einstein quote says "The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results." I think it holds true in a scenario where a struggling business owner refuses to look for help as well.

    Just admitting you need help can be difficult for some of us. I believe that a great mentor possesses the ability to influence; the ability to make somebody see things or think about things in a different way. I'm not saying that every small business owner or entrepreneur must seek a mentor, but I do think it can be beneficial for everybody, and certainly in the right situation.

    When you are able to consult with the right person, and that person is able to take your business to new heights, then you will likely be even more proud than before. Again, pride is a funny thing.

    Great points by both of you, Nico and CharlieP.
    Ryan O'Bleness
    Community Manager
    StartupNation, LLC
  • Ryan O'BlenessRyan O'Bleness Birmingham, Mich. administrator Posts: 1,133 Site Admin
    JonnyW wrote:
    Mentors are so critical! Does anyone here use Founder Dating as a way to find mentors? helpful site

    I have heard of the FounderDating website, and clicked around a bit, but I am not signed up and don't know too much about it. Have you used it, Johnny? From my understanding, it is a platform to meet mentors, advisors, cofounders and entrepreneurs. What are the best aspects of FounderDating?
    Ryan O'Bleness
    Community Manager
    StartupNation, LLC
  • Charlie PCharlie P subscriber Posts: 84 Silver Level Member
    JonnyW wrote:
    Mentors are so critical! Does anyone here use Founder Dating as a way to find mentors? helpful site

    I have heard of the FounderDating website, and clicked around a bit, but I am not signed up and don't know too much about it. Have you used it, Johnny? From my understanding, it is a platform to meet mentors, advisors, cofounders and entrepreneurs. What are the best aspects of FounderDating?


    I've heard of it, but was leary of the word "Dating" being in the title. I'm sure they just used a dating site script as their framework, but I'm married and didn't feel like explaining to my wife why I was on a dating site of any nature. Hopefully it is a good site, but I'm betting the name has kept a lot of well meaning people away from it. Just an example of how important a name is.
  • Ryan O'BlenessRyan O'Bleness Birmingham, Mich. administrator Posts: 1,133 Site Admin
    I agree with you, Charlie. When I first heard the name "FounderDating," I was a slightly put-off. After doing some clicking around, I then realized the purpose of the site can be very beneficial -- allowing those looking for mentors, advisors, partners, etc., to connect.

    To your point, having the name does make all of the difference. I don't think it is a website I would visit at first glance on a search engine. It takes (a minimal amount of) extra research to understand what its intent is. Not a lot of people are going to want to put in the time to discover it, either. Name and brand are vital to a company's positioning and success. Though, it looks like FounderDating has built up an impressive network of C-level employees, founders, engineers, managers, mentors, etc. I love the idea overall. More power to them.
    Ryan O'Bleness
    Community Manager
    StartupNation, LLC
  • Jessie HookieJessie Hookie subscriber Posts: 351 Silver Level Member

    Thank you for sharing this with us!

  • taylorscrybetaylorscrybe Melbourne, Australiasubscriber Posts: 3 Member
    edited August 23

    It’s so hard to know what to do, I can’t stress the importance of having a Mentor enough! My Lisnic Mentor saved me from making so many stupid mistakes, I don’t know how my company would’ve survived without one.

  • dandy2902dandy2902 subscriber Posts: 18 Bronze Level Member

    I totally agree with your point. I realize the importance role of a mentor or supervisor in career path currently. That's why I started to widen and maintain work relationship with my supervisor at work. However, I'm still struggling at this. Do they really help me when I seek help?

  • ChadinhChadinh subscriber Posts: 2 Member

    I can see your points, though it's also important to note that some people might do better without a mentor than with one

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