If only there was someone who could have held our hands through the initial processes of starting a business, we wouldn’t have made so many mistakes! The reality of the situation is that starting a business is in part about learning those major mistakes first-hand, but it’s also a good idea for us to learn from the masters. Whether we are struggling to maintain our business right now or we are having issues with our own leadership skills, a business mentor is worth their weight in gold. What can we do to work with a business mentor more effectively?
Choose the Right Type of Mentor
The first thing we need to do is to ascertain what type of mentor is the most effective one for us. Mentors come in different forms, whether it’s Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) and the numerous roles ERP consulting firms play in relation to this, a business mentor through an official business mentoring service, or just a friend or family member that gives you honest and heartfelt truths that you need to hear.
When you pick the right type of mentor, you will not just have a sounding board, but you will encounter someone who gives you major insights from a whole new perspective.
Being Ready for Harsh Truths
To work with a mentor effectively you’ve got to build a relationship that corresponds with your business goals, but it’s also important to recognize that the business itself will come under major scrutiny, and as a result, you should be prepared to hear a lot of uncomfortable truths, and the best thing you can do is to not take it personally.
You may feel like you need to get insights into your business dealings, but it’s so important to remember that if you hold up any barriers to change and progression, it’s not going to render the relationship worthwhile. Being ready for those harsh truths is about making sure that you learn to take criticism constructively.
As a new business leader, and even as an old hand, you should recognize that a company is more than the sum of its parts. Therefore, ensuring that you are open and receptive to any form of feedback or criticism is critical. It’s important to know the value of criticism, but if it’s criticism for the sake of criticism, rather than it being constructive, you have got to decide whether it is going to be a fruitful relationship.
Having Regular Contact
Frequent communication is essential to creating a strong connection with anyone, especially your mentor. You may decide what type of relationship you would like to have with your mentor. This is something that can be pre-agreed by yourselves or by how you engage with the business mentoring services in general.
Regular contact is important, and this is not exclusively a one-sided relationship; it is something that they should also be willing to engage in as much as possible. You should bear in mind that if you want a fruitful relationship with a mentor, there must be a schedule. Setting aside regular times to meet will ensure that you both get the most out of your meeting, while also placing your priorities where they should be.
If you are lucky enough to get a mentor, you must recognize that they have very little time, and as a mentee, you should have respect for this time by going in and having done your homework. The best place to begin is by setting SMART goals. SMART goals are invaluable for a variety of reasons. It provides a solid structure to your vision.
It can be tough with your first mentor meeting, especially if they decide to pick apart your goals. This is why it is so important at the outset to have respect for their time, but also ensure that you have looked at every possible permutation, and while you may view them picking apart your goals as criticism, rather than jumping to your defense instantly, make sure that you have enough respect for their time they are willing to give you because it is rare. It can do a lot to ensure that your business thrives while your contemporaries struggle to become unstuck.
You Are on Borrowed Time
A relationship with a mentor does not last forever. One of the common mistakes entrepreneurs make when they are working with a mentor is thinking that they are always going to be there, no matter what. You need to make the most of this connection. This means that you should engage with them often, but also be mindful of what they need to do for themselves.
This is why many businesses take advantage of fine-tuning processes, but also getting to the core of what you and your business is all about gets you into the mindset that your mentor will fully appreciate. Even if they can only meet you for one hour a month, that one hour should be so inspiring that you come away with hundreds of different ideas and plans that you can put into action to show them the next time you meet.
Have Mutually Agreeable Expectations
Learning the rigors of a business is as tough as it is. Coming to an agreement on what you should both get out of the relationship is so important. Ultimately, it’s not just about you. The difficulties in starting a business can mean that you definitely come away with a lot more than what you offer, however, it is important for you to give back. You could find out what you can offer them in many different ways.
No matter how little it is, learning the skill of paying it forward is always about helping somebody learn something new. You may be the padawan, but they can still learn from you in less obvious ways. They may not be technically adept, and something as simple as a few tools could open them up to a greater degree of productivity.
Working with a business mentor has many benefits. If you are lucky enough to get one, make the most of this relationship.