Everybody in Small Business Needs Mentors

Interviewing

Where do you obtain the best advice to improve the running of your own business?  I believe it’s from other small business owners.  They understand the problems you are encountering because they have experienced similar problems themselves.  Why re-invent the wheel when you can obtain information that will solve your problems, for free?

One–on–one Mentorship

Before you choose an ideal mentor or coach, do an honest analysis of yourself and list your strengths and weaknesses.  Once you have highlighted your weaknesses, go out and look for someone that has the strengths that you need.  Where will you find these mentors?

  • Among your family and friends.
  • At local business service centres.
  • At business training schools, universities and colleges.

If you have no luck finding someone among these groups, contact your local Chamber of Commerce and ask them for some of the most successful small businesses in your area.  Approach these business owners directly- all they can say is no.
Group Mentorship

Nobody knows everything about business, so instead of only one mentor, why not make use of a group of small business owners with different skills that you can use as your board of advisors?  Arrange to meet monthly to discuss problems you are encountering in your business and offer advice to each other.  This really works well.

  • You meet other small business owners.
  • You share knowledge.
  • You do business with each other.
  • You come away motivated – there is nothing more motivating than being in a room with other small business owners.
  • You share ideas.
  • You encourage each other.

Why not start a group in your area?

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4 responses to “Everybody in Small Business Needs Mentors

  1. I do not believe that there is a time in anyone's life that they feel more alone than when beginning a new venture. Almost everyone ( at least in my circles) have told me why I can't do it. It doesn't matter what it is. I have been talked out of 100's of ideas over the years until one day I realized these people talking me out of my ideas have no ideas of their own. All they knew how to do was complain about their jobs, homes family, life, and anything else they could think of. So I stopped asking. Having crohn's disease and being a single father of 2 young girls, with an ex-wife from hell, holding a regular job was almost imposible, So naturally I was fired again. That was in 1988 and my daughters were 5 & 7 years old. I had no idea what to do so I started selling ad specs from home. Although it wasn't much of a living, it worked, and I sold $90,000. my first year. I did my books and other paperwork after the girls went to sleep, I cooked supper after they left for school, and was able to put in 4-5 hours of real selling during the day. About a year later I hired a part time book keeper for $10/hr. I got lucky he was a retired CA. With his help I increased the biz that year by over 50%. His health wasn't great and decided to quit. I hired 6 others in a row that were useless. Then I found Martha. She needed more than 5-10 hours a week though. So I took a chance and gave her 3 days a week even though I coudn't afford it. Well that was another great move because she did all the ordering, Bookkeeping, artwork for customers, A/R and A/P even collections. That helped sales grow again. She stayed with me 6 years and we are still friends today.Nobody I knew cared or even asked how I was surviving not even my parents or siblings. This company was started without a dime and has transformed a few times over the years. Today I employ 12 people hardly work and am the leader in my niche industry. Unfortunately it is a small niche and my sales are barely 2million. I am in process of starting a new biz and maybe because I am considered successful in my other one this time there is some interest at least watching me. I wish I had a mentor or at least someone who would listen without me always trying to prove myself. That was my most consistant wish over the last 20 years.

  2. Wonderful story. Congratulations on your success. You are an inspiration to aspiring entrepreneurs everywhere.

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